Place-names - another of the methods explored for dividing the study areaPlace-names - another of the methods explored for dividing the study area


Developing England’s Historic Seascapes

England’s Historic Seascapes Project has progressed through a series of phases:


Phase 1: Familiarisation, Data Sourcing and Draft Methodology

To begin with the project team undertook a review of terrestrial HLC projects to identify aspects of good practice. They also undertook interviews with potential end users to explore their aspirations for the Seascapes. Contact was made with holders of potential useful marine data to request access. Three conceptual models for characterisation were also produced for discussion.


Phase 2: Characterisation

Three different methods for dividing the study area were explored. The method finally taken forward for development included the creation of themed mapping collating information by period and by themes often featured in Regional Research Frameworks, such as military and industry. The mapping was grouped under broad headings reflecting modern use of the sea and coast, past use of the sea and coast, and environmental characteristics such as natural habitats and palaeoenvironmental contexts. A model of coastal change was also compiled to help assess the potential for submerged landscapes. Features from the various themed maps were then combined into a single layer of polygons.
Gridding - one of the methods explored for dividing the study areaGridding - one of the methods explored for dividing the study area


Phase 3: Analysis and Interpretation

The patterns of human activity revealed by the characterisation process were analysised to find areas where polygons of similar characteristics were found in close proximity. These areas were then defined as ‘Character Areas’ and text generated summarising Present Day Form, Present Sea Use, Past Sea Use, Archaeological Potential, Perception and Sensitivity to Development. Each text was accompanied by a listing of bibliographic references. These text were converted into html pages which can be accessed via the GIS or as a standalone WWW application.
A variety of multi-media including historic images, digital stills and panoramas, and video footage has also been linked to the character areas via the html pages.


Phase 4: Review

The review of Seascapes characterisation included developing management case studies and assessing the ways in which Seascapes might be useful. The case studies included Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys, the revision of Shoreline Management Plans, development proposals for an offshore windfarm and marine aggregates extraction area.


Phase 5: Dissemination

England’s Historic Seascapes project team have undertaken a variety talks including presentation of the results at the IFA’s Annual Conference in Edinburgh, April 2006. The project will also be appearing in short features in forthcoming journals.
Blackpool seafront showing the famous sands, tower and pleasure piers.Blackpool seafront showing the famous sands, tower and pleasure piers.