The Lincolnshire Wolds National Character Area (NCA) is a long, narrow band of rolling agricultural land dominated by a west-facing chalk escarpment approximately 50 m high. The area is characterised by a range of varied yet unified features including open, arable plateau hill tops, chalk escarpments, deep dry valleys with sinuous beech woods and isolated ash trees punctuating the skyline. The area is sparsely settled with many villages hidden within the folds of the landscape and modest country houses and farmsteads.
The landscape of the Wolds is strongly influenced by the underlying geology and the later glacial action that reshaped it. The solid geology is largely made up of a sequence of sandstones, clays, sandy limestones, ironstones and chalk deposited between 155 and 95 million years ago during the late Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The chalk is capped in places by glacial deposits, while glacial meltwater channels have carved away parts of the Wolds to leave steep valleys. To the south-east, the overlying glacial till creates a rounded edge to the Wolds, and towards the southern end the chalk cap has been removed to reveal the Lower Cretaceous sands, clays and ironstones which form a series of low hills with gravel terraces. A variety of local materials, some of which are used as building material, are found across the area including sandy limestone, sandstone, ironstone and chalk, with striking red chalk being notable.
The soils closely reflect the underlying geology. Shallow, lime-rich soils predominate across the chalk plateau but many valley bottoms have lime-rich loamy soils. Sandy loams and heavier clay soils and localised wet areas in valleys reflect local sandstone geology and Jurassic Kimmeridge Clays.
Woodland cover is generally sparse but the trees and woods remain an important component of the landscape. The open skies and long views add to the character, creating an area recognised as a place of tranquillity and inspiration.
Sixty-two per cent of the area lies within the nationally protected landscape of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which was designated in 1973 in order to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, outstanding views and tranquillity.
The NCA is an important food producing area and consists of a commercially farmed, predominantly arable landscape. Semi-natural habitats cover only a small area and are often under pressure. There is a nationally important assemblage of farmland birds which include skylark, lapwing, turtle dove and tree sparrow.
43 Lincolnshire Wolds (NE440)