The latest “Nae Fare Newsletter” brings to our attention the existence of the Dee Valley Special Landscape Area (SLA).
This designation identifies the strong identity of the Dee Valley, and its scenic qualities which are a combination of the river, with wooded valley sides rising to moorland hills, and occasional limestone outcrops. The importance of the Dee Valley for tourism, with its numerous visitor attractions and facilities including castles and estates that contribute to built heritage. The naturalness of the Dee Valley, with its river and broadleaf woodland is also recognised.
Here’s a short video relating to the Dee Valley SLA.
I’ve attached the text of the newsletter below:
Newsletter 11 – How does the landscape feel?
This question is really about how we feel.
Flipping it for a moment to a geomorphic perspective, the land responds to the forces that are placed on it. Tectonics, climate, biodiversity. It slowly becomes something we are familiar with.
However in the event of a Windfarm being built by us, next to an area designated as a special landscape, I’m not so sure the landscape would be happy. It has no means to protest. It can simply respond.
In this case I can imagine its objections could show up as reduced populations of insects, birds and animals, a change in water flow, a general reaction to the new materials flowing through it. Migrating birds, for example the pink foot geese which use this area as their motorway north and south, have no traffic lights and would need to learn to take avoiding action, somehow.
A human response could be that further turbines are installed on other high points, joining their mates on the Hill of Fare. The result of that could be a reduction in the visitor population of Deeside. Who would want to visit Cairngorm’s eastern outliers and valleys if they are covered in large structures visible from Morven to Bennachie, Tap O’Noth to Mount Keen?
Here are two images of the Deeside landscape from Hill of Fare towards Tom’s Cairn and vice versa, the horizons we are familiar with.
Let’s look at some facts and figures and move away from my imagination. Aberdeenshire Council values the Dee Valley. Here is what they say about it:-
This special landscape area (SLA) includes the valley of the River Dee from Dinnet in the west to Peterculter in the east.
It includes the river and associated landscapes, taking in the adjoining hills, and covers the settings of riverside towns such as Aboyne and Banchory. The boundary has been drawn to include landscapes which help to frame the river and its setting. The River Dee continues east through the administrative area of Aberdeen City to reach the North Sea. Designation identifies the strong identity of the Dee Valley, and its scenic qualities which are a combination of the river, with wooded valley sides rising to moorland hills, and occasional limestone outcrops. The importance of the Dee Valley for tourism, with its numerous visitor attractions and facilities including castles and estates that contribute to built heritage. Then naturalness of the Dee Valley, with its river and broadleaf woodland is also recognised.
Here are how the Aberdeenshire SLA’s fit together.
I find it most interesting that the surrounding hillsides are what define the valley, but they are outside its boundaries. Look a bit further towards Tarland, and the boundaries expand to include the Howe of Cromar in the north and Clachnaben in the south.
Here are the words that Aberdeenshire council use for development guidance in the area:-
Proposals should not impact on the setting, integrity or character of the valued natural and historic features within the valley including Scolty Hill and General Burnett’s monument, and the Falls of Feugh, comprising waterfalls with a B-listed stone footbridge and tollhouse.
A big thank you to Jonathon Rose for the Newsletter and information enclosed 🙂