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The Oswestry Uplands

There are 159 National Character Areas (NCAs) in England, and Oswestry Uplands is N0. 63.

National Character Areas are ‘areas that share similar landscape characteristics, and which follow natural lines in the landscape rather than administrative boundaries, making them a good decisionmaking framework for the natural environment.’

And in Oswestry Uplands case, these characteristics involve ‘a small yet distinct landscape of steep-sided, flat-topped hills mainly of limestone and narrow, wooded valleys and streams. It forms the eastern edge of the Clwydian Hills which extend from Mid Wales…The hills rise quite steeply from gentle foothills crossing into the Shropshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire Plain NCA and overlook Oswestry, a typical market town of the Welsh Marches.’

‘Much of the area is deeply rural with small, irregular fields, copses, shelterbelts and woodlands. Scattered farms and hamlets are reached by narrow, winding and usually deeply sunken lanes. As the land rises, the irregular field pattern changes to a more rectilinear one with lower, frequently trimmed hazel hedges. Woodland covers 9 per cent of this NCA which also includes a short section of the River Ceiriog, a tributary of the River Dee, part of the internationally important River Dee and Bala Lake Special Area of Conservation designated for its rare watercourse vegetation. The land is predominantly used for pasture and supports an important local sheep and beef cattle industry, with arable land limited to the lower parts in the east’

‘The area has a wooded character due to the many woodlands on hill tops and sides. Towards the south, extensive limestone quarries are present, both active and disused, the latter now mostly overgrown. The historic Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail winds across the western ridges, and associated hill forts on major summits, notably Old Oswestry, emphasise the turbulent history of this border area. There is great potential to significantly expand key woodland and calcareous grassland habitats, securing environmental benefits which will help to ensure ecological connections across administrative boundaries and to improve soil quality and climate regulation, as well as enhancing biodiversity, tranquillity and sense of place.’

For full information, checkout the NCA profile: Oswestry Uplands.