Considering the visible setting when choosing your development site

Developers need to consider how the structures they're planning to build will impact on the views and visibility of the surrounding landscape. 

It's better to choose the right site at the beginning of the planning process than to mitigate for visual impacts once you've chosen a site.

Use our maps below to check the views and visibility in different landscapes.

Our visibility mapping work helps in early planning stages. It does not replace the need for landscape and visual impact assessments. But it does provide a strategic evidence base to use when working out what sites may be best.

Visible settings of Designated Landscapes

We selected National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We mapped the visible setting from each, out to 35km:

  • We mapped areas visible in a direct line of sight from each designated landscape, up to 35km distance. These are the Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV)
  • We also mapped areas not in a direct line of sight. For these areas, we worked out the Height of a tall object before it becomes visible (HOBV). We used a range of tall object heights in our mapping, to make it more useful to you

We also identified 200 key view points looking into or out from our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We mapped these in the same way:

  • We selected view points from popular places. For example, hilltops, visitor car parks or vantage points on walks. These views are just a selection. They don't show all views within designated landscapes

Visible settings for LANDMAP’s Visual and Sensory areas

We mapped the ZTV for each of our 1,991 LANDMAP Visual and Sensory areas, out to 35km. These cover all Wales.

You can also: 

There is also user guidance and a technical report showing how the data was calculated.

The visible seascape setting of Wales

The sea forms an important backdrop and marine setting to many coastal landscapes in Wales.

Download Descriptive profiles for each of our 29 National Marine Character Areas

These include land-sea inter-visibility maps at the end of each character area profile. 

View an interactive map. This shows a joint land–sea inter-visibility dataset covering all of England and Wales: 

  • click the drawing pin on the map to open a dialogue box
  • select ‘Add to map’
  • zoom in and wait for the map to load

View map images showing the entire land-sea inter-visibility for Wales. This map is found in the method report for our National Marine Character Areas.

  • Figure 5.2 in the report shows an all-Wales map image of land with sea views
  • Figure 5.3 shows the relative visibility of the sea surface from land.

Download GIS files showing the total land – sea inter-visibility for England and Wales from England's Marine Management Organisation

Related guidance

The Landscape Institute has Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment


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