Between 2015 and 2021, the LEI provided almost £4m for localised visual improvement projects. It has already made a positive contribution to natural beauty, wildlife and biodiversity, cultural heritage and public enjoyment. Find out about our successes so far.

Beautiful Boundaries – High Weald National Landscape


Yellow fields in front of wooded area with tips of pylons poking up

The High Weald High Weald National Landscape is an internationally important landscape, characterised by a mosaic of interconnected small woods, fields, shaws and hedges – a significant portion of which are ancient and rich in different species. The Beautiful Boundaries scheme aims to restore the historic medieval landscape by regenerating ancient hedgerows to divert attention from the overhead lines.

Particular focus was placed on locations where the lines could be seen from the area’s extensive network of public rights of way, including promoted paths such as the 1066 Walk and the Sussex Border Path. Other activities included fencing woodland to prevent damage to rare plants by grazing animals and planting hedges and trees.

£200,000 was granted to the scheme in the first round of LEI funding. Over the three years of successfully delivering the project, the High Weald National Landscape worked with a number of landowners in the Wealden and Rother districts of East Sussex to implement the landscape improvements.

Public Bridleway Improvement – North York Moors National Park

Beloved by walkers and cyclists alike, the North York Moors National Park is renowned for its heather moorland, undulating dales and stunning views. Supported by a grant of £29,843 from the Landscape Enhancement Initiative, and partnered by the North York Moors National Park Authority, Forestry England has provided a new all-weather surface for the public bridleway between the villages of Over Silton and Thimbleby near Northallerton.

A new public bridleway constructed in the North York Moors National Park funded through the LEI initiative

The three-and-a-half-year project has delivered a safe and attractive bridleway between existing good networks of quiet minor roads on the western and northern sides of the park. By providing an alternative cycling-friendly route to the A19 trunk road, the project promotes the tranquil atmosphere of the park. Enhancing the experience of those who visit the park, cyclists no longer need cross underneath the transmission line. Instead, the upgraded route is 1km away, attractively shrouded by trees and the natural geography of the park.

Replacing the clay surface with a firmer, well-drained route means that both walkers and cyclists are able to use the bridleway all year round. The improved route has also created the opportunity for the re-vegetation of adjacent bare ground. This is turn will lead to enhanced biodiversity and a significantly improved aesthetic within the landscape for all to enjoy.

Lost Landscapes – Clwydian Range and Dee Valley National Landscape

The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley form a dramatic upland frontier in North Wales, comprising scenic landscapes, dramatic summits and historic towns and villages. The ‘Lost Landscapes’ project has been supported by the Landscape Enhancement Initiative to restore some key features of the National Landscape within 3km of two sets of overhead transmission lines that cross the area.

Sunrise on the landscape across the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB

Beginning in March 2018, the four-year project has already started to improve the character of the landscape through hedge and tree planting, the establishment of new ponds, and drystone wall restoration. Improvements to roadside nature reserves together with work to restore fire damaged moorland are helping to sustain important habitats, including those for black grouse and other local wildlife.

The removal of gorse and scrub from five acres of hillside has additionally improved the hallmark
views for trail users along the Offa’s Dyke Path above Tremeirchion. The project will also carry out works at Plas yn Ial Historic Park and Garden, a key landmark in the Morwynion Valley. Partners Denbighshire County Council, Flintshire County Council, Wrexham County Borough Council, Natural Resources Wales, the RSPB, North Wales Wildlife Trust and Farming & Forestry Wildlife Advisory Group (FFWAG) together with local landowners are all playing a crucial role in the project.

Enhancing the Hills – Blackdown Hills National Landscape

The Blackdown Hills is a National Landscape on the border between Devon and Somerset, consisting of forest, farmland and steep valleys. Epitomising the English countryside, with hedgerows and copses, small farms with intricate field patterns, deep valleys and narrow, winding lanes, the AONB is popular for cycling, riding and walking.

With a grant from the Landscape Enhancement Initiative of almost £50,000, the Enhancing the Hills project focuses on a 6km corridor where National Grid’s electricity infrastructure cuts across a valley, ridge and plateau landscape. The project has aimed to reduce the visual impact of the overhead line through targeted conservation initiatives to restore and enhance hedgerows and hedgerow trees, small woodlands and orchards, and meadows close to the power lines.

View across the Blackdown Hills AONB

To filter views between irregular medieval fields and the more regular field patterns on higher land, through an investment of over £25,000 the National Landscape team has so far installed 225m of brand new hedgerow, and restored 410 metres of old hedgerows. The new hedgerow strengthens the natural character of the landscape and crucially means there is now a clear physical boundary for the National Landscape in this location.

Additionally, over one hectare of derelict and previously neglected historic orchard is being restored with new trees of native varieties. Scrub control, tree and ride maintenance are being carried out across 1.6 hectares of seminatural woodland on the landscape close to Honiton. To build on the work to date, five hectares of grassland is being enhanced and resown using a combination of seeds and green hay, which will benefit natural regeneration for the long term. An ongoing annual monitoring programme will ensure the success of the programme and measure progress.

Examples of other general projects likely to be funded in the future

Localised tree planting and/or woodland creation
New tree saplings by wire fence in front of misty fields against orange sky

Projects with the aim to:

  • screen or filter specific views of pylons or sections of 400 kV overhead lines
  • re-focus or channel views affected by 400 kV overhead lines or pylons
  • where appropriate, increase tree cover to filter views and/or enhance general visual amenity of areas affected by 400 kV overhead lines
  • enhance the quality, condition and/or special qualities of the landscape.
Management, re-planting and/or planting of new hedgerows
Group of people laying hedges in a field with beautiful views

Projects with the aim to:

  • enhance the quality/condition of the landscape
  • screen or filter specific views of pylons or sections of 400 kV overhead lines
  • restore characteristic landscape features where appropriate, e.g. reinstatement of historic field boundaries.
Changes to trails, footpaths, cycleways and riding routes
Man and boy coming towards wooden gate in a dry-stone wall

Projects that might include:

  • localised diversions that may move people away from 400 kV overhead line infrastructure and/or re-focus people’s views away from the overhead lines
  • new trails that may offer alternative routes for walkers, cyclists or horse riders, with the aim to re-focus views away from 400 kV overhead line infrastructure and/or allow people to appreciate the landscape with fewer views of the overhead lines.
Projects that enhance the special qualities of landscape and may also benefit biodiversity
Sheep grazing along road in heather fields with green hills in the background

Landscape works that enhance the landscape and also biodiversity. Such enhancements may include habitat creation; in particular where such habitats are considered to contribute towards the special qualities of the National Landscape or National Park.

Projects that enhance the special qualities of landscape and may also benefit cultural heritage
Beautiful old stone manor building in front of yellow field with woods behind

Landscape works that enhance the landscape and also the setting of cultural heritage assets, such as Scheduled Monuments that may be affected by 400 kV overhead lines infrastructure.

Help and support

If you need any help or support, please get in touch with us.

Phone: 07971 000158
Available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank and Public Holidays)

Email: [email protected]

LEI projects that have been funded to date