The Broads Landscape Character Assessment: Animated Explainers

  • Landscape Architects
  • Location: The Broads, East Anglia
  • Client: The Broads Authority
  • Year: 2018-2019
  • Sector: Planning

It is rare to find parts of the UK as unique in character as the Norfolk Broads. The low-lying landscape is criss-crossed with rivers, lakes and canals, and dotted with cottages, pubs and even the occasional windmill. It is simultaneously a completely individual area and a place that captures the heart of the British countryside.

Analysing why this is the case is crucial for understanding how to care for the area and what its future looks like. That is why Landscape Character Assessments, or LCAs are so important. An LCA looks to understand, in detail, what it is about a landscape that gives it its unique character.

This is typically broken down into three categories: landform, land cover, and settlements. The landform describes the shape of the land itself. For the Broads, this means low lying land with deep grooves etched across it from the clay deposits that were dug out of it by people. This directly affects the land cover, which quite simply describes the elements that cover the land. Because the Broads have these clay deposits that have been dug up, water has flowed into the landscape creating the iconic criss-cross of rivers, canals and lakes. It is these bodies of water that have impacted the last category: settlements. The Broads are primarily a conservation area with strict restrictions on building so as to maintain the natural habitat for tourism and biodiversity.

At rbmp, we have found that often the best way to tell the story of a landscape is to show it visually. That is why we worked with the Broads Authority to develop a series of five videos to give people an easily digestible overview of the landscape. We visited vast areas of the Broads to capture footage of the landscape with cameras, drones and other devices, as well as digging up historical photographs for comparison, creating custom graphics for illustrations, and commissioned a voice over to tell the story smoothly.

Working like this helped us to bring the Broads to life and give viewers a strong understanding of the rich history and importance of the area as well as a digestible introduction to the importance of the Landscape Character Assessment.

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