SNPA Strapline

State of the Park

Talyllyn, Snowdonia

alt=View from Snowdon Summit

Landscape and Land Management

Snowdonia National Park covers an area of 213,400 hectares, has a boundary of 362.29km and a coastline that extends for 60km. It incorporates large areas of woodland (both deciduous and non-deciduous), and over 96,000 ha of moorland.

The unique and varied landscape of Snowdonia is of exceptional quality and as such is one of its greatest assets forming a primary reason for its designation as a national park. Snowdonia National Park is recognised by the character and quality of the landscape, which is valued for its natural beauty, distinctive biodiversity, diverse geological resources, cultural heritage, rural character and unspoilt tranquillity.

The landscape within the National Park has been shaped by millions of years of natural evolution through mountain building and the erosive effects of glaciation, wind and rain. But human activity is also a significant influence through thousands of years of land management practices which have resulted in close socio-cultural associations being created between man and the landscape. The traditional rural character of settlements is distinct to the National Park and forms part of its historic landscape character. Both the landscape and townscape therefore play a fundamental role in the tourism industry, and therefore the local economy.

The Eryri Landscape Character Assessment

Since the last State of the Park Review the SNPA commissioned consultants to undertake an assessment of Snowdonia’s landscape and to identify coherent Character Areas. The resulting Landscape Character Assessment drew on LANDMAP11 as part of its evidence base, along with a wide range of other information that described the natural, cultural and aesthetic/perceptual qualities of the National Park.

Following a desk-based assessment – which included a review of the LANDMAP information and other spatial data –a field verification exercise was undertaken to confirm the boundaries and information provided for the 25 Landscape Character Areas (LCAs) identified. The LCAs are designed to represent geographically discrete areas of the National Park’s landscape that are recognised for their local distinctiveness and sense of place. They will form a useful spatial framework to describe the landscape and to ultimately assist in making decisions on how it should be planned and managed to maintain or enhance its special qualities.

The layout of the Assessment is structured with each LCA described separately, as follows:-

  • Summary of LCA location and boundaries, including a map and representative photographs;
  • Key characteristics;
  • Forces for change affecting landscape character;
  • A landscape strategy for the future;
  • Guidelines for managing future landscape change.

The Landscape Character Assessment document can be found in the following link, which takes you to the SNPA's Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) notes page. It is listed as SPG 7.

Map of the National Park’s LCAs

Map of the National Park’s LCAs

In the future the framework provided by the LCAs could serve as the basis for monitoring landscape change in more detail. A further refinement of this work is the Landscape Sensitivity and Capacity Assessment.

11 LANDMAP is an all Wales geographic information system based landscape resource where landscape characteristics, qualities and influences on the landscape are recorded and evaluated into a nationally consistent dataset. It is comprised of five ‘Evaluated Aspects’; Geological Landscape, Landscape Habitats, Visual and Sensory, Historic Landscape and the Cultural Landscape.