A landscape distinguished by its landform of high, whale-backed hills, and the presence of large estates of woodland and parkland. There is a strong sense of peace and tranquillity in the woodlands and along the winding, hedge-banked lanes, with a feeling of being at the ‘heart of Devon’. This is a managed, working landscape with a strong sense of history and culture, with many historic parkland features still visible in today’s landscape. Estate villages cluster around stone bridges or crossroads, and farms nestle into folds in the hills.
This area, centred on the small market town of South Molton south-east of Barnstaple, comprises a well-wooded landscape with strong parkland influences. To the north and east are gradual transitions to the North Devon Downs and the South Molton Farmlands respectively. The lower land of the Taw Valley wraps around the southern and western parts of the area.
To protect the landscape’s scenic quality and distinctive estate character. Parkland, woodland and agricultural land is well-managed to enable its continuation into the future, and to increase its resilience to climate change. The biodiversity of the area is enhanced, with heathland areas extended and appropriately grazed. Long views from high ground are protected and enhanced, and the distinctive built form (including estate villages) retains its integrity.