Trees, plants and landscape
Last updated: 15/07/2013
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Cornwall's landscape is of national and international importance as
well as being vitally important to the local economy. Twenty-seven
per cent of the County is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty (AONB) and a further 24% as Area of Great Landscape Value
(AGLV). The landscape is formed from a combination of climate,
geology, natural features and human activity. The landscape has
been described through the Cornwall Landscape Characterisation
Project and under Historic Landscape Characterisation on the
Landscape Survey and Assessment page. These
are useful resources for understanding our landscape.
Although a relatively poorly wooded county (7.5% compared with
the national average of 8.4%) trees and woodlands are an important
component of the landscape. Whether they be ancient estuarine oak
woodlands, the windswept hedgerow trees lining our winding country
lanes or the specimen trees in our parks and gardens, all trees and
woodlands help define our sense of place as well as supporting a
wide range of species.
Other important features of the Cornish landscape are the
Cornish hedges that divide the fields, and line our lanes and
roads, and the traditional orchards. Many hedges are of great
antiquity and wildlife value with their great variety often
defining a location. In recent years, there has been renewed
interest in the management of traditional orchards as well as the
conservation of our old local fruit varieties.
Cornwall's landscape is highly managed and some practices or
changes in management regimes have had unfortunate side effects.
Our increased interest in gardening and exotic plants over the last
200 years has led to a great number of introduced species and
cultivars. Many have made Cornish gardens the envy of the world,
however, some have made themselves at home and have become highly
invasive, spreading over the garden hedge and into the countryside,
displacing our natural flora. Cornwall is currently pioneering work
in the control of invasive alien weeds such as Japanese knotweed.
There are also a few problem native invasive weeds such as common
Ragwort which require careful and co-ordinated management to limit
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