3.2 Landscape
1 Lincoln is situated at the confluence of four of the character areas identified by the Countryside Commission in their Character Map of the English Countryside (1996). This unusual fact means that no one generic national landscape type dominates Lincoln. For a relatively small city, Lincoln has a very rich combination of landscape characteristics. The following paragraphs aim to identify the principle landscape features which are therefore viewed as in need of protection and enhancement.

2 Lincoln stands at the only major gap in an otherwise continuous limestone ridge which runs from the Humber Estuary through Lincolnshire to Stamford. The Lincoln Gap defines two sections of the limestone ridge - the Northern Lincolnshire Edge and the Southern Lincolnshire Edge. The River Witham exits the City eastwards through this gap, having entered from the south.

3 "The Cliffs" or scarps mark the western side of the Northern and Southern Lincolnshire Edge plateaux. It is atop the cliff scarp of the North Lincolnshire edge that the Roman Colonia, the Castle and the Cathedral were built. This area is now generally referred to as the City's 'Historic Core'. The historic factors which have influenced the development of Lincoln and thus its present character have also been given consideration in the CLLP designations. In addition to the views from outside the City the topography and urban development pattern facilitates many of the dramatic and characteristic views of the Cathedral and historic hillside City as identified in Policy 55. Many of the open spaces within the City contribute greatly to these views.

4 Generally, Lincoln has a very distinctive and tight urban/rural boundary. The open rural character of the surrounding countryside facilitates long views of the uphill area of the City for many miles around. The West and South Common Areas through their expanse and topography strengthen and protect this feature. In effect, they bring countryside deep into the City's heart. Given the relatively short distances from city centre to open countryside, the extensive public footpath network is particularly important in respect of this characteristic and an important facility for appreciating it.

5 The southern parts of the City are low-lying and a complex drainage system has developed. The presence of sand and gravel deposits within this southern area has affected the landscape and there are several worked-out gravel pits which area now significant landscape features. The flood risk has resulted in substantial areas of land being left undeveloped and, with particular regard to the Witham Valley, has led to significant ecologically rich corridors running well into the heart of the City. The Brayford Pool, into which the River Witham and Fossdyke Canal flow is a significant feature which contributes greatly to the Character of the south-west quarter of the City Centre. The landscape, ecological and amenity value of these areas are acknowledged by the CLLP designations.

6 In assessing areas for Critical Natural Asset designation account has been taken of the landscape potential of the site to the extent that any features which mar its appearance, but do not significantly reduce its overall landscape contribution and could quite readily be removed or enhanced, have not disqualified a site from inclusion as an area of Critical Natural Asset.