The London Historic Character Thesaurus – Full Listing of Character Type Terms

The London Historic Character Thesaurus (LHCT) has been created to facilitate mapping and analysis of historic character at a range of scales, from small studies at neighbourhood level to large-scale work across the whole Greater London area.

It is one of several thesauri, or controlled terminologies, promoted by Historic England to provide clarity when recording and discussing the historic environment.

The LHCT is also one of several initiatives to help ensure that, as London accommodates growing pressures for change, its emerging places retain their historic identity.

London's Historic Character Thesaurus and User Guide

Thesaurus structure

The thesaurus covers character type terms and, as with many historic characterisations, it uses a hierarchical structure in which to record character.

  • Broad Types These provide a high level category to assign observed character to.
  • Intermediate Types allow more specific characterisation.
  • Narrow Types which allow the most detailed level of characterisation.

Civic Amenities

This Broad Type covers public provision of services intended to benefit all of society. Other services appear in other Broad Types, principally because their provision is usually not wholly the responsibility of national or local government and their agencies. Amenities in this Broad Type have been grouped into three Intermediate Types relating to: the management of our water supply, the various means by which we dispose of waste, and the attempts we make to control the effects of floods and the sea.

Provision of structures to remove, reduce or mitigate the risk of coastal, riverine and/or estuarine flooding from the sea, rivers or unchannelled rainfall run-off or to counter losses to coastal land from maritime erosive forces.

  • Flood Defence - Artificial constructions used to prevent water flooding the surrounding area. Often taking the form of a bank or wall but may be more elaborate (e.g. the Thames Barrier) and include run-off drains and reservoirs.
  • Groynes - A series of structures extending into the sea for the purpose of preventing further lateral movement of washed up sand and shingle.
  • Sea Wall - A form of sea defence, may be of hard and strong material (e.g. concrete) or an earthen bank constructed on the landward part of a coast to reduce the effects of strong waves.

Buildings, sites and structures associated with the disposal of domestic and industrial waste.

  • Incineration Plant - A site for burning refuse to ashes using an incinerator.
  • Landfill - A site for the disposal of waste materials by burial.
  • Recycling Depot - A facility for the deposition, collection and recycling of waste materials. These are usually publicly-owned facilities consisting of areas for dumping, sorting and transfer. The type also includes sites for waste metal recovery and recycling, colloquially known as “scrapyards”. These are typically less organised sites than the public recycling centres with scrap vehicles and parts piled up in what can seem, to the untrained eye, a disorganised manner.
  • Sewage Works - An area in which local sewage is filtered and purified in large rectangular or circular tanks.

Sites and structures associated with the storage and distribution of water.

  • Dam - A structure built to form a barrier to restrain water or other liquid (including waste), raising its level on one side, to prevent flooding or to form a reservoir.
  • Reservoir - A body of water or other liquid, wholly or partly artificial and sometimes covered, used to collect and store water, or other liquid for a particular function. Most often for the collection and supply of water for public and industrial use.
  • Waterworks - Buildings, engineering constructions and machinery, used for the purpose of supplying a town, or region with water distributed through pipes.

Civic Provision

This Broad Type covers services provided by national or local government, or by other public bodies, charities and organised religions, that affect or are available to individual members of society. Many are physical representations of the principles of civil society which have developed in Britain and Europe over many centuries: providing for good health and spiritual succour, respectfully disposing of the dead, educating young people and enabling the continued development of adults, and dealing appropriately with those who break the law. The Broad Type also encompasses the civil bureaucracies that maintain these services.Many of the terms focus on particular building types (cathedral, prison, school, etc), but historic characterisations typically also draw in all directly related spaces and ancillary features.

Facilities provided for use and benefit of associations of interest. These interests can be geographical, social/ethnic, religious, professional and/or communities. They may be provided by local government, religious, professional, charity or other philanthropic interests.

  • Club House - A building or group of buildings providing social, recreational and/or training facilities for a members' club. These generally lack extensive associated grounds and can include purpose built facilities or converted buildings. They are mapped in the dataset where their premises are sufficiently extensive to become characteristic of an area.
  • Community Centre - Multi-purpose building or complex holding halls, offices and other facilities for community purposes.
  • Guildhall - Halls and associated premises built for the business of a craft, trade, or merchants' guild.
  • Inn of Court - Complex of buildings and grounds housing facilities for the professional associations of barristers in England and Wales. There are four Inns of Court: Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Middle Temple and Inner Temple.
  • Private Members Club - A traditional private social or gentlemen's club, providing facilities for dining and socialising, often characterised by their members' interest in politics, literature, travel or some other pursuit.
  • Professional Institution - Buildings housing the headquarters of a professional or learned institution. Usually includes committee rooms, libraries, galleries and lecture halls. They can be either purpose-built or repurposed earlier buildings
  • Trades Union Building - A building where the administrative functions of a Trade Union are carried on

Institutions of government that support civil behaviour or habits of personal living which then cement viable relations between individuals and wider society.

  • Ambulance Station - Buildings and land for the provision of ambulance station services. They usually comprise relatively recent purpose-built structures (1960s and onwards) of a utilitarian nature. Older examples have greater architectural sophistication. All generally have an accessible apron at the frontage of the compound to allow easy access to the road system for emergency vehicles and secure perimeter fencing on all other sides.
  • City Hall - A large building, often with directly associated and usually defined grounds, used for the transaction of the public business of a city, the holding of courts of justice, entertainments and other activities.
  • Civic Centre - A building or complex often with several buildings where municipal offices and other public buildings are situated.
  • Civic Infrastructure - Areas comprising and dominated by major, often publicly funded, civil engineering works designed to improve the social and economic functioning of relatively large parts of urban areas.
  • Embassy - The residence and office of an ambassador and location for that country's chief diplomatic mission, includes associated land. This can encompass buildings specifically built for the purpose and earlier structures repurposed to become an embassy.
  • Fire Station - Buildings and land for the provision of fire services. They are usually purpose-built and range from 19th century station houses to recent structures of a generally utilitarian nature. Older examples have greater architectural sophistication. All generally have an accessible apron at the frontage of the compound to allow easy access to the road system for emergency vehicles and secured perimeters (walling and/or fencing) on all other sides.
  • Local Government Office - A building which houses administrative functions relating to local government. Includes directly associated and usually defined grounds.
  • Mint - A place where money is coined under public authority.
  • Municipal Depot - Yards and structures associated with the provision of civic services, particularly road maintenance.
  • National Government Office - A building which houses administrative functions relating to central government and its agencies. Includes directly associated and usually defined grounds.
  • Parliament House - A building in which a parliament meets and conducts the business of government.
  • Police Station - Buildings and land for the provision of police services. They are usually purpose-built and range from 19th century station houses to recent structures of a generally utilitarian nature. Older examples have greater architectural sophistication. They often have internal courtyards for secure vehicle access and secured perimeters (walling and/or fencing).
  • Public Square - An open area, often paved or cobbled,surrounded by buildings and accessible to the public.
  • Register Office - An office at which the registration of marriages, births and deaths are recorded, and in which marriage and civil partnership ceremonies may take place.
  • Town Hall - A large building and directly associated and usually defined grounds used the town's primary seat of local government. It is used for the transaction of public business, the holding of courts of justice, entertainments and other activities.

Structures and landscapes designed to commemorate notable persons, groups or events where commemoration is their chief purpose and they have no other additional, primary, function (i.e. a war memorial would sit under this type but a Coronation Hall, as a public hall for hire for community events, would not).

  • Commemorative Monument - A building, structure or landscape created to commemorate a person, group or event. Includes associated landscaping and public realm.
  • War Memorial - A structure, building or site commemorating soldiers and civilians killed in war. Includes associated landscaping and public realm.

Provision of teaching and related material intended to have a formative, and often also a normative, effect on the mind, character and abilities of an individual.

  • City Farm - Educational farm located within an urban or peri-urban area. Can be a petting farm
  • College Campus - Buildings and grounds of secondary or tertiary educational establishments, below the status of universities.
  • Gallery - A building, or complex of buildings, in which works of art are displayed, permanently or temporarily.
  • Library - A building, or complex of buildings, where books, or other materials, are classified by subject and stored for use by the library's members. Includes directly associated and usually defined grounds.
  • Managed Heritage Asset - Archaeological or historic site presented to the public.
  • Museum - A building or group of buildings where objects of value such as works of art, antiquities, scientific specimens, or other artefacts are housed, conserved and displayed. Includes directly associated and usually defined grounds.
  • Observatory - Complex of buildings containing astronomical telescopes and other scientific equipment for making and communicating observations on natural phenomena.
  • School - Primary and secondary educational establishments, buildings and directly associated and usually defined grounds, including car parking etc. The type covers institutions of both the private and state sector.
  • University Building - Buildings belonging to educational establishments awarding degrees and undertaking research. These differ from the 'University Campus' Narrow Type as they do not sit within a wider campus development.
  • University Campus - Educational establishments awarding degrees and undertaking research set in defined grounds. Comprises university buildings and directly associated grounds. For individual university buildings sited outside defined campuses, the 'University Building' Narrow Type is to be used.

Related to respectful disposal of the bodies of the dead.

  • Cemetery - Place, usually defined, where the dead are carefully and respectfully placed, usually via interment.
  • Crematorium Complex - Place (building and grounds) where the dead are respectfully incinerated and remembered.

Helping individuals maintain a satisfactory condition of mind and body, and freedom from sickness, injury and pain.

  • Baths - A building, usually open to the public, containing a number of areas for bathing. This is to be used when only a bathing, not swimming, facility is present.
  • Hospice - An establishment providing care to those with long-term chronic conditions requiring intermittent specialist treatment (including respite care) or end of life care for terminally ill patients. They are generally relatively small medical establishments distinguished by low-rise buildings in a landscaped environment. Some operate from adapted earlier buildings, including villas or small country houses, but purpose-built structures on new sites are becoming increasingly prevalent.
  • Hospital - Establishment (buildings and directly associated grounds) providing care to casualties and the seriously or chronically ill.
  • Medical Centre - A building where advice, counselling and medical treatment is available. These are usually purpose-built modern structures housing GPs’ surgeries and allied services such as physiotherapy but can also include converted buildings.
  • Psychiatric Hospital - A hospital where patients suffering from psychiatric disorders receive medical care and treatment. Traditionally they were often places where psychiatric patients were kept confined away from society receiving minimal medical care or attention. Examples from the mid-20th century onwards focus on providing active care in a rehabilitative, usually purpose-built, facility.
  • Residential Care Home - Staffed accommodation for elderly or vulnerable people who require nursing or other care on-site. They usually consist of individual residents' bedrooms with communal and some medical facilities.

Buildings and facilities related to the execution of law. This includes courts, corrective institutions and holding facilities for immigration and deportation.

  • Court House - A building in which judicial court is held. These are usually purpose-built with more recent examples set within landscaped grounds including secure parking areas and transfer facilities.
  • Prison - An establishment (buildings and directly associated and usually defined grounds) where offenders are confined.
  • Workhouse - Establishment (buildings and directly associated and usually defined grounds) where the community's poor were maintained at public expense, and provided with labour.

Organised public system, often involving agreed symbols and behaviours, relating humanity to particular beliefs and values. Often links explanatory schemes (for example of the origin and meaning of life) to morality and ethics.

  • Abbey - A religious house governed by an abbot or abbess. Includes associated buildings and grounds.
  • Cathedral - The principal church of a diocese in which the cathedra or bishop's throne is to be found. Includes precinct and immediately related features.
  • Chapel - Place of Christian worship; can include non-conformist (and non-parochial) churches and privately owned chapels. Includes immediately associated and usually physically defined land.
  • Church - Place of Christian worship, usually serving a parish. Includes churchyard and immediately related features.
  • Ecclesiastical Palace - The official residence of a senior clergyperson, such as bishop or archbishop.
  • Friary - A religious house specifically for men and of chiefly mendicant (i.e. relying chiefly on donations of alms) religious orders. Includes associated buildings and grounds.
  • Friends Meeting House - A place of worship, building and directly associated, often defined, grounds for members of the Society of Friends, often referred to as the Quakers. The Society was a denomination founded by George Fox in c.1650 who believed in pacifist principles and a rejection of the sacrament.
  • Monastery - A religious house specifically of monks, canons or religious men (NB communities of friars are covered by the Narrow Type 'Friary'). Includes associated buildings and grounds.
  • Mosque - Place (buildings and directly associated, usually defined, grounds) of Islamic worship.
  • Nunnery - A religious house of nuns/canonesses or religious women. Includes associated buildings and grounds. Includes associated buildings and grounds.
  • Priory - A religious house governed by a prior or prioress. Includes associated buildings and grounds.
  • Religious Community - Buildings and associated grounds housing where a group of devotees to a religion live and worship. Use a more specific type, e.g. Abbey, Friary, Priory, Monastery or Nunnery, where known.
  • Synagogue - Place of worship (buildings and directly associated and usually defined grounds) for communities of Jews.
  • Temple - Place of worship for faiths including Buddhism and the Hindu and Sikh religions. The term is also used for Roman and Romano-British places of worship.


This Broad Type covers systems, activities, functions and institutions involved in transferring goods and services from producers to consumers and thus affecting the business and profitability of an economy. In historic characterisations this can span fairly localised hubs to facilities directly serving major national and international trade hubs. In all cases, these systems of commerce also depend on the separate Broad Type Communications and Movement and the products of several other Broad Types.The Broad Type has been subdivided along the lines of storage of goods, their sale and the activities of those involved in business more generally.

Being in a state of busily undertaking commercially viable work; being a body undertaking such business.

  • Bank Branch - A commercial bank’s high street outlet where public retail banking operations may be transacted
  • Business Park - Area designed to accommodate several businesses, usually non-industrial, but normally not exclusively retail.
  • Conference Centre - A purpose-built, or modified, building and directly associated grounds for organisations and associations to meet for conferences, presentations and consultation.
  • Landmark Commercial Building - Set-piece commercial development housing national or international headquarters, sometimes of multiple companies, in a visually striking building. These are usually in a highly modern style and are designed to be prominent, often through being significant
  • Newspaper Office - A building or set of rooms where a newspaper is compiled and produced, before being printed. May include facilities for printing.
  • Office Development - Building/s purpose-built to accommodate offices for the conduct of business, usually consisting of multiple storeys of accommodation. Earlier examples are usually cellular in plan (sometimes known as ‘chambers’), later examples develop more open, flexible floorplates with lift provision, etc. They may be taller than surrounding other development, particularly residential, and are often animated with service uses at ground floor/street level (food & drink/retail). Use the Narrow Type ‘Office Premises’ for offices in buildings that were not purpose built for office use.
  • Office Premises - Building/s which have been converted from other uses to accommodate offices for the conduct of business. The alteration to office use results in a notable change in the character of the building/s and can be evidenced by aspects such as business signage, suspended ceilings, utilitarian lighting, window treatments and extensions to house facilities such as lifts. When they are conversions of residential buildings, the change in character is often notable due to a lack domestic accoutrements (e.g. front gardens, single household refuse disposal facilities) and the variation between properties associated with individual householder’s tastes. Use the Narrow Type ‘Office Premises’ for offices in buildings that were not purpose-built for office use.

Venues and concerns offering food, drink and/or overnight accommodation to a paying clientele.

  • Hotel - A building and its directly associated grounds, used for the accommodation of paying travellers and guests.
  • Inn - A public house for the lodging and entertainment of travellers, etc.
  • Public House - Establishments authorised to sell and allow the consumption of alcoholic liquors on their premises. They can vary widely in scale, expression and provision of facilities, from very modest bars within a domestic or street setting to very large, ornate or complex examples such as ‘gin palaces’ or roadhouses containing multiple public rooms and outdoor spaces for eating and drinking, entertainment and sports.
  • Restaurant - Premises which serve food primarily for sit-down customers but may also serve take-away food.
  • Takeaway - Premises which serve food to take-away customers.

An open space or covered building(s) to which livestock, goods, etc, are brought and displayed for sale.

  • Fish Market - A market where fish is sold. Includes closely and functionally associated open areas, built structures, wharves, quays and distribution facilities.
  • General Purpose Market - A market where a wide variety of goods are bought and sold. May be an open space, sometimes with associated arcades or booths, or a covered hall, enclosed or with open sides, providing flexible space for stalls.
  • Market Place - An area, often consisting of widened streets or a town square used for regular or occasional markets. Whilst many remain in use, some were superseded from the later 18th century onwards by purpose built facilities, including market halls, sometimes specialising in particular kinds of produce.
  • Meat Market - A market where meat products are bought and sold in bulk (although some examples accept retail customers too). Usually set up by municipal authorities because of their strategic function and catchment, they are often on an impressive scale with elaborate architectural expression. 19th century examples incorporate facilities for holding and slaughtering animals on site.
  • Wholesale Produce Market - A market where goods, generally perishable foodstuffs, are bought and sold in bulk (although some examples accept retail customers too). Usually set up by municipal authorities because of their strategic function and catchment, they are often on an impressive scale with elaborate architectural expression. They are usually specialised by produce type: meat, fish, fruit, flowers etc.

Structures and areas associated with shopping for goods directly by private individuals.

  • Garden Centre - A place, buildings and directly associated grounds, where gardening tools, plants, etc, are sold.
  • Premier Shopping Street - Shopping street comprising large-scale, high status stores or flagship brand headquarters in a premium city centre location attracting international visitors.
  • Retail Park - Area designed for retailing, often at the edge of an urban area convenient for private transport.
  • Shopping Arcade - A covered street of small-scale shops often with a unifying highly glazed and decorative design, occupied by high-end retailers such as jewellers.
  • Shopping Centre - Area largely devoted to retail; typically at a hub within a town or city. They are usually purpose-built and consist of shop space arranged over multiple floors around central walkways. The shop space is designed in units to allow flexibility and the arrangement of one or more units into shops over one or more floors. The central walkways are usually open to roof height to create a feeling of space.
  • Shopping Street - Street (often with associated back yards etc) predominantly fitted with retail outlets.
  • Shops and Showrooms - This type comprises structures designed as, or in use as, retail premises. They are distinct from Shopping Centres and Shopping Streets as they are usually single concerns set amidst a differing land use. They are an infrequent type and the majority are of fairly recent origin and occupy modern utilitarian buildings or repurposed earlier structures.
  • Superstore - A large self-service store set in extensive car parking and selling foods and some household goods.
  • Vehicle Showroom - Outlet selling cars, motorbikes, vehicles etc. Sometimes with garaging or workshops

Facilities (buildings and directly associated grounds) for the storage, handling and transfer of goods.

  • Distribution Centre - A building or buildings and directly associated grounds, used for the collation, storage and transfer of goods or merchandise either within a large business (e.g. supermarkets) or commercial carriers and delivery services (i.e. Royal Mail, DHL). Structures employed in such centres are commonly large, tall and shed-like, maximising capacity to hold material and transfer it to a haulage fleet.
  • Freight Handling - Sites and structures associated with the handling of commercial cargo.
  • Lockup Storage - Yards used for small-scale secure storage in individual lock-ups. Can encompass container-based storage sites.
  • Motor Vehicle Storage - An area where motor vehicles are stored, often associated with commerce.
  • Storage Building - Building, or complex of buildings, used for small-scale secure storage. Can encompass both purpose-built stores and repurposed existing buildings. Many are on the 'self store' model where private individuals or small business buy or rent self-contained units within the larger building.
  • Warehousing - A building or part of a building and directly associated grounds, used for the storage of goods or merchandise.

Communications and Movement

This is a wide-ranging Broad Type that includes movement of people, information and freight over land, through the air and across water. It covers systems whose organisational rigour (largely dependent on safety concerns) is variable. Moving from A to B makes physical expression of many of these terms either linear or nodal, forming networks that overlay and to varying degrees help us understand and give meaning to other characterisations. There is a particularly close relationship with the Commerce Broad Type, for example.Provision for water transport is especially complex, reflected in the proliferation of related terms, but this properly reflects the extent that the sea, in particular, is utilised by society, and how complex are the ways that it is perceived in relation to transport, for example through the range of hazards it presents and the devices created to counter these.

Features associated with control, accommodation, servicing and testing of aircraft.

  • Air Terminal - Buildings and their directly associated grounds at an airport from where passengers await, embark and disembark from an aircraft.
  • Aircraft Storage Facility - A building or place where aircraft can be stored and maintained.
  • Airfield - Small-scale commercial or private field used for air travel, mainly fixed-wing.
  • Airport - Large-scale commercial base for air travel.
  • Heliport - Field or plot, often with hangars and other buildings, used for commercial or private helicopter travel.
  • Runway - Take-off and landing lane with permanent surface.

Buildings and facilities related to the communication of information via physical media, such as post, and electronic transmission networks.

  • Post Office - A building where postal business is carried on.
  • Sorting Office - A place where letters and parcels are sorted before being distributed. Whilst older examples were usually found in association with a large general post office, more recent ones are standalone and often close to distribution networks.
  • Telecommunication Complex - A complex of buildings and other structures (and directly related grounds) used to transmit information via telecommunication systems.

Natural and artificial passages for inland waterborne travel and transport.

  • Canal - Artificial watercourse, usually connecting existing watercourses or bodies, constructed for the purpose of inland navigation and transportation or irrigation. Nowadays also used for recreational purposes.
  • Canal Tunnel - A tunnel through which a canal runs.

Features or structures sited at important position finding or dangerous points on the coast, or on inland waters, for the guidance and warning of mariners.

  • Buoyage - Floating, fixed markers indicating to a navigator a sea area to approach or avoid. Single or arrangements of buoys, beacons and lights are often used to demarcate safely navigable entrances to estuaries and rivers, submerged hazards and foul areas.
  • Coastguard Station - A building or group of buildings situated close to the sea used by coastguards, or a volunteer coastwatch, to enable them to monitor the coastline.
  • Daymark - An unlit, highly visible and distinctive feature on the coast that can be used by mariners for navigation during daylight only.
  • Landmark Tower - A prominent structure situated on land specifically as a guide to navigation or warning to sailors.
  • Lifeboat Station - A building designed to house a lifeboat, usually with a ramp to launch the boat into the sea, to enable provision of lifesaving services along the coast and in inshore and offshore waters. Generally lifeboat stations have a structure or storage area for have a structure or storage area for housing the boat. This structure also usually houses a crew area. The structures are owned and operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). As the RNLI has been in operation since the 1820s, the form and date of lifeboat stations varies widely.
  • Lighthouse - A tower or structure, with a powerful light or lights at the top, usually erected at an important or dangerous point on or near the sea-coast for the warning and guidance of mariners, but may also be sited inland.
  • Rocket Station - A coastal site containing equipment that enabled a lifeline to be fired at stricken ships that were close to the coastline.

Areas relating to safe passage and route-finding for travel or transport on or in the water, whether inland, coastal or marine.

  • Active Navigation Channel - Sea or river channels, charted or otherwise, recorded as in active use by present shipping traffic, whatever the channels' date of origin.
  • Anchorage - An area of sea or coast where vessels anchor, often provided by sheltered conditions afforded by the topography of the nearby coast. They are often located along coastlines within bays or areas sheltered from prevailing winds and/or strong currents.
  • Commercial Shipping Route - Route regularly used by ships engaged in commerce or trade. May be defined by usage or in some areas, formally defined by regulation. Distinguished from the Active Navigation Channel by the association with commercial shipping.
  • Disused Navigation Channel - Sea and river channels no longer charted or recorded as in active navigational use for present shipping traffic, whatever the channel's broad date of origin.
  • Dredged Area - An area from which sediments have been removed to ensure a safe depth of water in channels and berths for navigational purposes or to mitigate risk of flooding or protect a sensitive habitat.
  • Ferry Crossing - A regular commercial passenger route across an area of sea, estuary, river or lake, or an area of port, dock or harbour. Includes chain link ferry crossings.
  • Rock Outcrops - An area dominated by rocks rising from the general level of the seabed and breaking the sea surface at some or all states of the tide, posing a risk for navigation.

Buildings, sites and structures associated with ports and docks together with their harbours.

  • Breakwater - A structure which protects a beach or harbour by breaking the force of waves. It may be constructed entirely offshore at a strategic location or with one end attached to land. Commonly associated with ports and navigable river mouths.
  • Container Terminal - An area of a port, dock or harbour where cargo vessels load and unload large storage containers. Includes associated container storage areas and rail terminals for containers transported to the terminal by rail.
  • Dry Dock - A stone-faced enclosure, with entrance closed by a floatable caisson or by gates, which can be pumped dry for inspection, maintenance, or repair of the hull or underwater fittings of a ship or ships.
  • Ferry Terminal - An area of a port, dock or harbour, often including buildings for passport control, customs and for sheltered waiting and storage, where passengers and vehicles using ferry services can embark/disembark and where supplies can be taken on board.
  • Harbour - An area of the coast where ships can find shelter or safe anchorage. Harbours require features, natural or artificial that provide shelter and a pool area large and deep enough to accommodate vessels at anchor.
  • Landing Point - A place where vessels can land passengers and goods.
  • Marina - A dock or basin on the coast, an estuary or an inland waterway, used for mooring pleasure craft.
  • Port - A settlement area that combines a harbour and terminal facilities at the interface between land and water transportation systems.
  • Quarantine Area - An area, often linked to a port, where a period of detention was imposed on travellers or voyagers suspected of carrying infectious diseases before they were allowed to enter a country or town.
  • Quay - An artificial bank or landing place, largely of solid construction, built parallel to, or projecting out from, the shoreline to facilitate the loading and unloading of vessels.
  • Wet Dock - An artificial structure or group of structures enclosing an area of water which was impounded by lock gates to maintain water levels artificially, facilitating the loading, unloading, building or repair of ships.
  • Wharves - Large structures built alongside the water's edge where ships may lie for unloading.
  • Working Pier - A raised platform generally of iron or wood, supported on spaced pillars or props and projecting out into the sea; designed to facilitate the transfer of cargo and/or passengers on and off shipping.

Buildings and structures associated with railway transport.

  • Engine Shed - Long sheds, into which railway lines run, used to house railway engines.
  • Railway - System of rail tracks along which passenger carriages or goods wagons are moved, usually by locomotive engines. Usually includes beds, cuttings, embankments, tunnels etc.
  • Railway Bridge - A bridge carrying a railway track.
  • Railway Siding - Stretches of track or tracks lying parallel to the main railway line enabling trains and trucks to either pass one another or be parked when not in use.
  • Railway Station - Where railway trains stop to load and unload passengers or freight. Includes buildings and directly related grounds.
  • Railway Tunnel - A tunnel through which a railway line runs.
  • Railyard - Complex, often attached to a railway station where engines, coaches and wagons are laid up and maintained.
  • Tramway - A light railway. Early usage tended to be in industrial contexts with animal drawn stock; later usage tended to be for the conveyance of passengers, often in urban areas, with vehicles run along sunken rails.
  • Transport Interchange - Facility acting as a connection point between two or more modes of public transport, usually rail to another means, such as tram or bus.
  • Viaduct - A bridge, usually resting on a series of arches, carrying roadways or railways over low-lying areas.

Buildings and structures associated with road transport.

  • Alley - A narrow passageway or lane between buildings.
  • Bus Depot - A building, with adjacent open areas, in which buses are maintained, usually having an extensive area free from upright columns or stanchions to permit overnight storage, repair bays, stores and an office.
  • Bus or Coach Station - A building and open area from which buses, usually those working local or regional services, begin or end their journeys.
  • Cycle Path - A path specifically designed for use by cyclists, and designated as such, that is not part of the highway.
  • Drove Road - A road or track specifically used by drovers or herders to drive their animals to market.
  • Flyover - A bridge for carrying a road or railway over another.
  • Garage - Buildings which house motor vehicles. Includes garages for vehicle repair.
  • Motorway - Large multiple carriageway for fast-moving motor traffic, continuing for long distances without traffic intersections and subject to legally specified 'motorway regulations'.
  • Motorway Services - Extensive complexes adjacent to the motorway where services (e.g. restaurants, shops) are provided in addition to facilities for rest and buying fuel.
  • Multi Storey Car Park - Structure for parking motor vehicles; usually in purpose-built multi-storey buildings.
  • Park And Ride - Car parks with connections to public transport that allow people wishing to travel into busy areas to leave their vehicles and transfer to public transport for the remainder of their trip. Usually on the outskirts of towns and cities.
  • Ring Road - Concentric road route around the periphery of an urban centre designed to circulate traffic without it having to enter and exit the centre. Usually in the form of a multiple carriageway road created expressly for this purpose.
  • Road - An open, generally public, way for the passage of vehicles, people, and animals. Incudes directly associated (i.e. not spatially separated) foot and cycle ways.
  • Road Bridge - A bridge carrying a road.
  • Road Junction Complex - A place where several roads meet, often negotiated using roundabouts.
  • Road Tunnel - A tunnel through which a road runs.
  • Service Station - A commercial complex, usually sited along motorways or trunk roads, providing facilities such as car parking,restaurants, shop and fuel stations.
  • Surface Car Park - Area for parking motor vehicles at ground level; often has permanent surfacing but may be unsurfaced.
  • Toll Bridge - A bridge whose upkeep and repair is financed by the exaction of a toll.
  • Toll Road - A road whose upkeep and repair is financed by the exaction of a toll.
  • Track - A route, not necessarily designed as such, established by repeated use by travellers.
  • Trunk Road - Large road, often multiple carriagewayed, linking significant places.

Cultural Topography

This Broad Type covers topographical forms on land, coast or on, within or beneath the sea that are made cultural by their cultural perceptions and usage by people and often by their shaping and imprints from cultural processes. Some have been used for economic gain, such as the grazing of bogs, cliffs, marshes, etc or the use of waterbodies to transport people and goods. Others are celebrated as ‘wild’ places to be explored, enjoyed or admired. All on land are owned and considered property; most are named; and most have stories attached to them. At sea, most is either owned or formally administered, and again much is named and made meaningful through knowledge and narratives.

The topography at the interface of sea and land, subject to the constant changes in form and perception associated with the tides, the erosive and depositional forces of sea and issuing rivers. It includes the intertidal zone.

  • Cliff - A tall, steep and largely exposed face of the local geological formation, usually of rock though in some areas cliffs may form from erosion of softer materials such as boulder clay.
  • Dunes - Coastal areas containing hills or ridges of unconsolidated wind-blown sand. Surfaces of ridges and intervening slacks may be stabilised by surface vegetation. Used for rough grazing.
  • Foreshore (Rocky) - An area of foreshore where the predominant cover is exposed bedrock.
  • Foreshore (Sandy) - An area of foreshore where the predominant cover is exposed fine rock sediments of a grain size generally perceived as 'sand'.
  • Foreshore (Shingle) - An area of foreshore where the predominant cover is exposed coarse rock sediments of a grain size generally perceived as 'shingle' or 'pebbles'.
  • Marsh - Low-lying land often covered by water and usually with peaty vegetation. Used seasonally for grazing. Historically, peat was sometimes cut as domestic fuel and the area also used for trapping wildfowl.
  • Mudflat - Areas of relatively mobile, thick deposits of clays, silts, organic detritus and some very fine sand content, submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide, and often expressed as areas of muddy banks in sheltered areas along estuary sides.
  • Saltmarsh - An area in the upper inter tidal zone that is sometimes overflowed by the sea and whose vegetation is dominated by salt tolerant herbaceous plants. Saltmarshes are often used for pasture or for collecting water for the production of salt.
  • Sandflats - Areas of relatively mobile, thick sand deposits, submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide, and often expressed as areas of sandbanks detached from the shore by tidal channels.
  • Spit - A deposition landform that develops by the process of longshore drift forming a narrow strip of land that juts out into the sea.

Relates to surviving areas of ancient topographic features of former exposed land with evidence or strong potential for associated palaeoenvironmental deposits and/or old land surfaces.

  • Palaeochannel - The course or channel of a river or stream preserved as a geological or geomorphological feature. Use for areas containing individual examples or an individual system.
  • Peat Deposit - Peat deposits comprise unconsolidated semi-carbonised plant remains formed in freshwater-saturated environments. The type referred to here are those formed in earlier periods and may be exposed by erosion on the land, inter-tidal or sea-floor surface.
  • Submerged Forest - Tracts of submerged land retaining macrofossil evidence, often in situ, for former woodland and other woody vegetation cover.

An area of elevated ground. As it is a relative term, the altitude of uplands can vary greatly.

  • Downland - An area of rolling upland terrain characterised by chalk escarpments separated by vales of softer earth.
  • Moorland - Poorly drained land, can include uplands with extensive blanket bog or low-lying damp unimproved ground. Used for rough grazing, occasionally for hay-making, and where peat was cut as a source of turf for domestic fuel.

An area of water found inland or at the coastal fringe.

  • Creek - A small inlet on a sea coast or estuary, its sediments often exposed at low tide. Sometimes applied to a river tributary or stream.
  • Lagoon - A body of shallow salt, brackish or fresh water totally or partially enclosed from the sea by a sand bar, spit or reef running across the entrance.
  • Minor Watercourse - A channel used for, or formed by, the conveyance of water. This can be largely natural in formation (e.g. stream) or artificial (e.g. drainage channel), and the type is designed to record those watercourses smaller than those covered by the Narrow Types 'River' and 'Canal'.
  • River - A significant watercourse largely following the natural drainage pattern and flowing towards another river, a lake or the sea.


This Broad Type covers field systems, also referred to as enclosed land. It reflects the ways that farming communities have adapted changing cultural norms to local topography and have been inclined to be more or less conservative (or innovative) according to the opportunities or constraints of local economies. The study of enclosed land is one of the more contested and controversial areas of landscape history and archaeology, reflecting the different emphases scholars have placed on the wide range of economic, social, agricultural, topographical and cultural factors involved in their creation, maintenance and change. Historic characterisation attempts to span all such interests, but this thesaurus has also to corral them into a reasonable scheme that works at the Greater London level.The Enclosure Broad Type is divided into three Intermediate Types which relate to the broad period of origin of the field system in question: Ancient Enclosure, Pre Modern Enclosure and Modern Enclosure. Beneath these are the more specific terms Narrow Types which identify the particular field system observed. It will be noticed that, aside from the Intermediate Types, there are few terms that relate directly to periods of origin or to the fields' shape or form. This is as these other qualities are captured as separate attributes within the GIS and/or database that stores the historic characterisation information.

Fields that can be demonstrated to be either prehistoric or early medieval in origin by virtue of either form or direct association with early farming settlement.

  • Anciently Enclosed Land - Early farmland, whose predominant character developed by the later medieval or earlier. Usually broad-brush characterisation that includes farming settlement and various other land use.
  • Assart - Land enclosed from woodland. Required licence in medieval period. Term applied more generally in landscape history. Can include planned and regular enclosures and piecemeal irregular ones. Often still with numerous trees on boundaries.
  • Barton Demesne Fields - Field patterns established by lord of an estate, usually as closes (bounded individual fields), in distinction to the open common fields of tenants. They tend to be relatively large fields.
  • Brick Shaped Fields - Patterns of early fields, often prehistoric in origin, that are roughly rectilinear with sinuous sides and that share a common general orientation without having the dominant lines of coaxial fields. Sometimes called Celtic Fields.
  • Coaxial Field System - Field system with prevailing orientation. Most boundaries are straight or nearly so and closely align with main axis or run perpendicular to it. Usually prehistoric or early medieval. Suggestive of early planned land allotment.
  • Croft - Land attached to a messuage (dwelling) in a medieval village.
  • Grange Fields - Medieval fields, often large and regular, established on the food producing estates of monasteries.
  • Irregular Ancient Enclosure - Area of ancient fields whose boundaries are either curving or sinuous and whose shapes do not conform to a regular pattern. Often seen to have developed by sequential accretion of individual enclosures and by ad hoc subdivision.
  • Meadow - Permanent grassland, usually enclosed with stock-proof boundaries. Low-lying and damp or hard by farmstead, receiving yard dung. Ideally lush, and mown for hay. Also secure convenient grazing for young or sickly livestock. Common or individually held.
  • Open Field System - System of fields in which several farmers held land in common, intermixed in narrow strips assessable via length and width, with low or no separating boundaries. Mostly medieval. Few survive. Lost to piecemeal or planned enclosure, 13th - 20th century.
  • Piecemeal Enclosure - Field systems derived from gradual enclosure of open fields, usually from 13th to 17th & 18th centuries, after which Parliamentary Enclosure dominated. Individual strips or groups enclosed by landholders, leaving elements of the former open field pattern visible.
  • Squatter Enclosure - A small, irregular enclosure taken from formerly open land, usually common land. Sometimes associated with industrial activity and/or routes of access. Normally later medieval or early post medieval.
  • Strip Fields - Long narrow plots of land within an open field. Also used for those plots once enclosed and held in severalty, the form in which most now survive.

Patterns of fields which typically originate from the early 20th century onwards with the majority post-dating the Second World War. Many developed in response to the adoption of mechanised agriculture and an associated need for larger holdings which often led to a reorganisation of an earlier field pattern. This can also include land turned into fields during in this period, either as a result of bringing land not previously cultivated under the plough or though the re-establishment of farming landscapes following land restoration after quarrying or mining.

  • Amalgamated Fields - Enlarged fields, created by the amalgamation, through boundary removal, of smaller fields. The amalgamation was usually undertaken to ease mechanised working and increase productivity. The process has occurred mainly since the 19th century with most post-dating the Second World War.
  • Paddocks - A small enclosed field usually for horses, donkeys, goats or South American camelids. Commonly a modern adaptation of a preceding field system, usually through subdivision.
  • Recently Enclosed Land - Fields created through conversion of land into agricultural use from other uses (e.g. woodland) since the early 20th century.
  • Reorganised Field System - Field pattern of any type or date that has been subject to revision, through either insertion or removal of boundaries, but where the original form is still legible.
  • Restored Fields - Fields created on the surface of restored land, such as infilled former gravel extraction. Modern and often regular.
  • Smallholding - Group of small fields associated with a single small-scale agricultural concern, typically around 5 acres in total. Often associated with part-time farming undertaken by families of industrial workers and thus typically post-medieval and modern.

Patterns of fields which typically originate between the medieval period and the 20th century. Many are 18th and 19th century in origin and evolved in response to developments in land management associated with the application of 'scientific methods' to farming practices and the availability of new tools and equipment due to innovations in contemporary industrial manufacture.

  • Parliamentary Enclosure - Field patterns usually rectilinear and regular with straight boundaries and access lanes, fixed by surveyors, resulting from Parliamentary Enclosure of large areas of common arable (open fields) and rough ground. Mainly 18th and 19th century in date.
  • Planned Field System - Field system usually consisting of rectilinear and regularly-shaped fields, often with perfectly straight boundaries. they were developed by reorganisation of an earlier field system by several landowners. Term often used for post-medieval non-Parliamentary Enclosure of open fields.
  • Reclaimed Land - Coastal or other low-lying ground taken in for agriculture, usually by dyking and draining. Some medieval (usually smaller more irregular patterns), but mainly post-medieval and modern (larger, rectilinear, and more regular).

Fisheries and Aquaculture

A largely marine, coastal and estuarine Broad Type relating to the harvesting of fish and shellfish (largely molluscs and crustaceans) either from the wild (fishing) or under controlled conditions and from farms (aquaculture). They affect the surface, water column, floor and sub-floor parts of the sea, estuaries, lakes and rivers. Over time, developing methods of netting, trapping and catching have involved differing intensities and practices with consequently varied effects on landscape character. Equally varied have been these practices’ changing customs, controls, associations, by-products, wrecks and debris.Related coastal activities and infrastructure are normally located at or near the interface between water and land and include the gathering of bait and the processing and marketing of the catch. In the marine zone however, this Broad Type’s activities span all layers, as do its material impacts, including on present expressions of marine biodiversity.

The commercial cultivation of fish and shellfish populations under controlled conditions, oftenenclosed from wild stocks. It includes the raising of saltwater and/or freshwater species and may occur both inland or in fully marine situations.

  • Fish Farming - Areas characterised by the commercial cultivation of fish populations under controlled conditions. These areas may be sited in inland or be coastally located artificial ponds, or in rivers, estuaries and the open sea and enclosed in tanks, cages or nets.

Activities concerned with the capture or gathering of wild fish and shellfish stocks by various methods such as trawling, netting, trapping, potting, dredging and collection by hand.

  • Bait Digging - Areas whose character is dominated by regular digging to acquire bait for fishing by various methods. Generally found in estuaries, sandy and rocky foreshores.
  • Fish Trapping - Areas characterised by the use of semi permanent/permanent fish traps for the capture of naturally occurring fish stocks. Does not include temporary portable pots and creels.
  • Shellfish Collection - Areas characterised by the regular commercial collection by hand or hand held tools, of naturally occurring shellfish stocks for food. If collected for bait use the 'Bait Digging' Narrow Type and for commercial farming from artificial structures use


Industry in historic characterisation covers large-scale activities that relate to the creation of economic goods, normally material rather than services (which tend to be covered by Broad Type like Commerce, Civic Provision, etc). It is therefore largely concerned with primary (extractive) and various forms of secondary (refining, processing and manufacturing) industry, the latter including generation and transmission of energy.Many industries are largely modern, of the last two or three centuries, but some have longer histories. They are usually associated with highly specialised and therefore immediately distinctive patterns and forms of structures, buildings and by-products (heaps, etc), all developed to achieve, most cost-effectively, the particular industry’s ends.

Facilities associated with the creation of works of art. This encapsulates artist's workshops, where private and public commissions are created and assembled, and facilities such as recording, film and TV studios.

  • Studios - Purpose built structure with large-scale internal spaces for arts performance, broadcast, recording or rehearsal (music, film, dance).

Facilities associated with the generation, storage and distribution of energy through various technologies.

  • Coal Fired Power Station - A coal-burning power station where domestic electricity for an area is produced
  • Electricity Distribution - Buildings, sites and structures associated with the distribution of electricity.
  • Gas Fired Power Station - A power station used to produce electricity, fired by natural or coal gas.
  • Gasworks - An area of buildings, other structures, compounds and hardstanding associated with creation, storage and distribution of gas to the consumer network for industrial and domestic use (e.g. high and low-pressure gas storage, including ‘gasometers’, compressor stations and trans-shipment facilities).
  • Hydrocarbon Extraction - The removal of oil, oil derivatives or natural gas from naturally occurring reserves.
  • Hydrocarbon Pipeline - A pipeline involved in the transmission of oil or natural gas between facilities involved in their extraction, processing, storage or distribution.
  • Hydroelectric Power Station - Power generation by releasing stored water through a turbine driving a generator.
  • Natural Gas Refinery - A plant used to purify the raw natural gas produced from underground gas fields to deliver pipeline-quality natural gas that can be used as a domestic and/or industrial fuel.
  • Nuclear Power Station - A complex of buildings producing power derived from nuclear energy.
  • Nuclear Reprocessing - Industrial area for the decommissioning of structures associated with the nuclear industry, reprocessing of nuclear materials, nuclear waste management and/or nuclear fuel manufacturing activities take place.
  • Oil Fired Power Station - An electricity-producing power station fired by oil.
  • Oil Refinery - A works where crude oil is distilled into its fractions or cuts.
  • Oil Storage - Specialist tanks for the storage of commercial quantities of oil and its distilled fractions such as petrol.
  • Overhead Power Cable - Raised cable supported on pylons or other structures and used to transmit electricity over long distances. The type is to be used to map associated ground-based infrastructure.
  • Pipeline - A conduit or pipes, used primarily for conveying liquid or gas such as petroleum from oil wells to a refinery, or for supplying water to a town or district, etc.
  • Tidal Power Installation - Buildings, sites and structures associated with the generation of electricity by utilising the power of the tide.
  • Wave Power Installation - Buildings, sites and structures associated with the harnessing the energy of wave power for electrical power generation.
  • Wind Power Installation - Buildings, sites and structures associated with the generation of electricity by harnessing the energy of the wind.

Facilities associated with the extraction of materials from the earth (stone, aggregates, ores, minerals and oil).

  • Aggregate Dredging - Areas characterised by the extraction of sand and gravel by dredging from the sea floor, for use principally in construction and civil engineering. Also includes associated onshore facilities such as wharves, and aggregates processing areas.
  • Aggregates Quarry - Areas of excavation from which sand and gravel are obtained for use principally in construction and civil engineering. Includes directly associated facilities for aggregates processing.
  • Clay Pit - A place from which clay is extracted.
  • Extractive Pit - Surface workings including shallow shafts, lode workings, open-pit methods and quarrying including some mines of stone, clays, compounds, etc.
  • Marl Pit - A pit from which marl, a mixture of clay and carbonate of lime, is excavated. Marl is used as a fertilizer.
  • Stone Quarry - An excavation from which stone for building, hardcore, hedging etc is obtained by cutting, blasting, hoisting, crushing, dressing etc.

Production of secondary materials through various processes; distinguished from processing industry's preparation of primary materials.

  • Brewery - A commercial building, or buildings, used for the production of beer and other alcoholic drinks. Size may range from a single-premises microbrewery to a complex of buildings including production line machinery for bottling.
  • Brickworks - An industrial manufacturing complex producing bricks.
  • Factory - A complex of industrial buildings housing powered machinery and employing a workforce for manufacturing. Factories are commonly purpose-built but can include earlier structures modified to enable manufacturing use.
  • Glassworks - Structures and related yards connected to the production of glass products.
  • Ice Works - A factory or plant for the manufacture of ice using mechanised refrigeration techniques.
  • Industrial Estate - An area of land owned by a developer, whether a private entrepreneur or a public authority, and divided into plots for leasing or sale to manufacturing or commercial concerns which may share some common services.
  • Leather Working - A building used for the manufacture of leather goods, such as shoes, saddles, etc. This can span small single-premises concerns to larger factories.
  • Pottery - A complex of buildings used for the manufacture of pottery.
  • Printing Works - A factory or complex containing machinery for the manufacture of printed materials.
  • Railway Engineering Works - A large site specialising in the manufacture, repair and/or maintenance of locomotives.
  • Steel Works - An industrial complex for large-scale production of steel in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Textile Mill - A factory used for the manufacture of textiles.
  • Vehicle Factory - A factory for the manufacture of vehicles.
  • Workshop - A building for the manufacture or repair of goods, typically featuring space for workbenches and good lighting, and provision for delivery and despatch of goods through loading bays, taking-in doors, hoists and so on. May be self-contained or in combination with retail, warehouse or dwelling functions, and may be purpose-built or adapted from earlier building types, often dwellings. Differentiated from Factory by scale and the nature of the goods produced, often at the smaller, bespoke or hand-produced end of the industrial range, with the building often sub-let by room or by floor.

Covers industries applying various processes to primary materials to prepare them for use either directly or in manufacturing industry. Use specific type where known.

  • Abattoir - A facility where animals are slaughtered.
  • Chemical Works - An industrial complex involved in the production of chemicals.
  • Food Processing - Facility for processing foodstuffs from raw materials
  • Iron Works - An industrial complex for large-scale production of iron.
  • Lime Production - Areas associated primarily with the transport and production of burnt lime from limestone, largely for agricultural use but also for lime mortar.
  • Maltings - Specialised building for the preparation of malt to be used in brewing
  • Metal Works - A place where metal ores are dressed, smelted and transformed into utilitarian material.
  • Paper Mill - A factory where paper is made.
  • Salt Works - A site, building or factory used for the production of salt.
  • Spoil And Waste Dumping - Areas used for the disposal of domestic and/or industrial waste. Material deposited may include dredging spoil, drilling waste, treated sewage, domestic refuse and other land waste.
  • Spoil Heap - A conical, ramped or flat-topped tip of waste discarded from a mine, quarry, clayworks or similar site.
  • Tannery - A complex where the hides of animals are turned into leather, consisting of buildings for fleecing and drying, as well as treatment pits.
  • Tenter Ground - Field or area of ground where washed new cloth is stretched out to dry.
  • Tile Works - A site used for all the processes associated with the manufacture of roof, floor or decorative tiles
  • Timber Yard - An open yard or place where timber is stacked or stored.
  • Watermill - A mill for processing raw material, usually corn, whose machinery is driven by water.
  • Windmill - A mill for processing raw material, usually corn, whose machinery is driven by wind. It comprises a tower-like structure of wood or brick with a wooden cap and sails which are driven around by the wind to producing power to work the internal machinery.

Areas dominated by activity relating directly to the building, use, maintenance, storage and administration of shipping and boats.

  • Boatyard - A place where smaller vessels are built, repaired and stored.
  • Dockyard - An area of wet or dry docks, storage areas and workshops for the building, repair, fitting, loading and unloading of ships and therefore situated on a sea coast or estuary.
  • Shipyard - A place where ships or boats are built, repaired and moored.


A wide-ranging Broad Type covering the various structures and patterns resulting from possessing a military character, defensive or offensive, ’military’ here being a body or organisation sanctioned by its host society to use lethal force to either defend or extend its territory or interests. That divide between offensive and defensive behaviour is to a degree built into the thesaurus (at the level of defences and fortification, for example), though many installations and complexes were capable of serving both. For example in the Second World War many airfields’ initial role was to assist in defending cities and infrastructure during bombardment, but they were later used to undertake or support attacks on mainland Europe). In such ambiguous cases the simple adjective ‘military’ has been used.Such activities are among the earliest recorded and some prehistoric, Roman and medieval military complexes are sufficiently extensive that they meet the threshold for historic characterisation. Most, however, are post-medieval and much is of the twentieth century, and especially the Second World War.

Areas, sites and linked systems of such involved in the passive or active defence of the country against hostile forces on land, sea and in the air.

  • Anti Invasion Defence - Sites, buildings and structures associated with the defence of the British Isles against invasion from seaborne or airborne forces.
  • Coastal Battery - A site including artillery pieces and associated structures directed out to sea to engage enemy shipping and defend the coastline.

A defensive work, usually permanent. Use specific type where known.

  • Artillery Fort - A fortified building or site with purpose-built emplacements for artillery pieces.
  • Castle - Fortified residence, usually of a noble and usually medieval or early post-medieval in date. Castle forms developed through time although some features, such as curtain walls and gatehouses, were common throughout.
  • Hillfort - A hilltop enclosure bounded by one or more substantial banks, ramparts and ditches. Now forming a feature within other landscape character types such as recreation, rough ground or enclosed land.
  • Roman Fort - A Roman period, permanently fortified military base incorporating a range of barracks, victualling and command structures. Often built to standardised plans which developed through time.
  • Town Wall - A fortified wall surrounding a town or city.

A site and associated buildings used by the military for various purposes, usually defensive.

  • Barracks - Areas of buildings used to house members of the armed forces. Such areas may also include closely related buildings such as refectories, mess rooms, hospitals, schools and gymnasia.
  • Defence Research Establishment - A complex of buildings and areas in which a range of weaponry and techniques are developed and trialled.
  • Fuel Depot - A building or site used for the storage and distribution of fuel for military purposes.
  • Military Airfield - A landing and taking-off area for military aircraft. Often includes ancillary structures and buildings for the maintenance and storage of aircraft, defence of the site, accommodation of staff, controlling airspace etc.
  • Military Base - A building or group of buildings, often surrounded by a system of fortifications, used as a residential and training site by members of an armed force.
  • Naval Dockyard - A naval base that builds, repairs, docks or converts warships and is manned by civilian engineers and workers and administered by engineer duty officers.
  • Ordnance Dump - Buildings and/or areas used by the armed forces for the storage and issuing of military stores and materials.
  • Prisoner Of War Camp - A prison for the containment of service personnel captured in war.
  • Radar Station - A building or site incorporating radar equipment used for detecting the presence of enemy aircraft or ships.

Areas used by armed forces on land or at sea for training and military exercises.

  • Artillery Firing Range - A piece of ground, or a building, on which artillery may be fired at targets during training or exercises.
  • Bombing Range - An area of land, with associated buildings and targets, used for practicing the dropping of bombs and other aspects of aerial warfare.
  • Naval Firing Range - An area of sea across which naval ships fire artillery at target sites or areas. In some cases accompanied by land-based observation facilities housing equipment to record accuracy and damage.
  • Rifle Range - A target range used for rifle and small arms practice.
  • Tank Range - An area of ground used for the testing of, and practicing with armoured tanks.

Orchards and Horticulture

Land use in many parts of the country either is or has been dominated by the extensive, systematic and sometimes intensive commercial cultivation of particular crops, usually fruit, nuts, vegetables and flowers. Such areas have usually developed their specialism because of particular qualities that provide a competitive edge (climate, soils, proximity to markets etc).

Structures and landscapes associated with growth of plants and produce, particularly fruits, salads and flowers, for sale.

  • Flower Farm - A farm concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens and for floristry.
  • Glasshouses - Buildings made chiefly of glass, in which plants and fruit are germinated, brought on and sometimes grown to maturity. Often grouped on land with a favourable aspect.
  • Market Garden - An area of land used to grow vegetables, fruit and flowers to be sold at markets.
  • Nursery - An area such as a commercial garden where plants and trees are grown and nurtured for the purpose of transportation or sale.
  • Orchard - An enclosed area of land or garden for the growing of fruit-bearing trees.
  • Vineyard - An area of land and associated buildings where grapevines are cultivated.

An enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables for domestic use.

  • Allotments - Land, often public, let out to individuals or an individual for the purposes of cultivation or other land use. Often in numerous small parcels, sometimes individually fenced
  • Hop Garden - A piece of land used for the cultivation of hops.
  • Kitchen Garden - A private garden established primarily for growing vegetables and soft and bush fruit for domestic consumption.


This Broad Type covers land whose principal historic character is the result of deliberate and planned design. At the scales at which historic characterisation generally operates, this Broad Type usually spans creations of the 18th to 20th centuries, intended to create or enhance a sense of natural scenery, typically regarded as beautiful, picturesque or even sublime. Usually associated with the large country houses of the gentry, and now regarded as part of one of Britain’s most important artistic movements, with several famous designers (Kent, Bridgman, Brown and Repton) either responsible for or inspiring the creation of such landscape in the 18th and early 19th centuries.In general terms, earlier extensive ornamental landscape was more formal than that of the so-called English Gardens, 19th century landscape gardening was more inclined to exotic planting, and twentieth century gardening was more stylised, modest or architectural.In historic characterisations such landscape is normally divided between the park (and its plantations, waterbodies, etc) and the more intricate pleasure grounds, often sited directly around the main house.

An enclosed piece of land, generally large in area, usually either surrounding a country house or castle, or conveniently adjacent to it. Used for hunting, the cultivation of trees, pasture and visual enjoyment.

  • Landscape Park - Extensive grounds, usually associated with a country house, laid out (with tree plantations, shrubs and often adjusted with earth movement) so as to produce a perception of broad unmanaged and often unpeopled vistas.

An area within an ornamentally designed landscape where owners and guests walked about for pleasure. Typically complex mixes of plantings, ornamental gardens and play areas (bowling, croquet, etc).

  • Arboretum - A botanical garden, as an element of a designed or ornamental landscape, designed specifically for the cultivation and display of, often rare, trees.
  • Formal Garden - A garden of regular, linear or geometrical design, often associated with the traditional Italian, French and Dutch styles. Usually either adjacent to the house or within the pleasure grounds.

Recreation and Leisure

This Broad Type covers complexes and areas where leisure, sport and other recreation are dominant activities. Sometimes includes accommodation for people so engaged. Can also include extensive areas like country and municipal parks and areas largely devoted to country sports, like deer parks. Larger-scale heritage sites may also be in this Broad Type if their principal use is now as visitor attractions.

Land primarily devoted to the pursuit, trapping, shooting and hunting of wild or purposefully raised animals.

  • Deer Park - A large, enclosed park, often containing some woodland and divided to provide a variety of habitats for shelter, grazing etc for deer, usually fallow, for hunting and for aesthetic appreciation.
  • Duck Decoy Pond - A pond or pool with arms covered with nets into which wild birds, are allured and then caught or shot.
  • Kennels - Buildings and yards in which dogs and hunting hounds are kept and exercised.
  • Royal Forest - Land including hunting areas for a monarch or (by invitation) the aristocracy; they usually included large areas of heath, grassland and wetland, that is habitats that supported deer and other game, but also farmland.

Complex designed to accommodate major gatherings.

  • Exhibition Centre - A complex, including large covered areas, used for housing public displays.
  • Showground - A large area, usually open-air, used for permanent, seasonal or regular shows, events or exhibitions.

Venues dedicated to provision of organised entertainment, such as performances, which is largely passively experienced.

  • Concert Hall - An establishment where musical and related performances take place.
  • Nightclub - An establishment open at night for refreshment and entertainment. Usually housed in a repurposed building although some purpose-built examples do exist.
  • Theatre - Venue for performing arts events, often with ancillary spaces, rehearsal areas, hospitality, workshops etc.

Facilities provided for indoor recreation, often with external grounds associated (car parks etc).

  • Amusements - An area or place for recreation, typically with electronic game machines and gambling machines.
  • Aquarium - An area of buildings, artificial ponds and/or tanks in which aquatic plants and animals are kept for observation and study as recreation.
  • Cinema - A building where people pay to see films and 'moving pictures'.
  • Leisure Centre - A purpose built building and associated grounds, usually owned and operated by a local authority, where people go to keep fit or relax through using the facilities.
  • Spa - A medicinal or mineral spring often with an associated building and directly associated grounds. Often found closely grouped, around which settlements and spa towns have developed.

Structures and areas provided for outdoor recreation.

  • Country Park - An area of managed countryside designated for visitors to enjoy recreations, such as walking specified parks and trails, in a rural environment. Often provides public facilities such as car parking, toilets, cafes and visitor information.
  • Destination Landmark Attraction - A visitor attraction designed to be a highly visible structure and to be engaged with for a unique experience. Entry is controlled and on a paid for basis. Examples include the London Eye and Arcelor Mittal Orbit.
  • Lido - A public recreational complex centred around an open-air swimming pool.
  • Municipal Park - Land, often in urban areas, dedicated to outdoor public recreation. Usually with ornamental planting of trees and shrubs, with some formal gardens, ornamental ponds etc. Landscaping and planting is generally more robust than in a Landscape Park and usually incudes public conveniences & playgrounds.
  • Nature Reserve - An area of managed land with perceived “natural” characteristics, identified as nature reserves to enable the conservation of these characteristics and so that they may be appreciated by the public. These can consist of areas of "untouched" habitat or land which have been reclaimed by nature following cessation of human activity, particularly industrial processes (e.g. mineral extraction and quarrying). Some have little other than a controlled level of public access with some signage on the nature conservation interest and measures present whereas others provide public facilities (car parking, toilets, cafes) and more in-depth visitor information and/or structured programmes of activities. They are usually managed by local authorities or an amenity society, such as a nature conservation charity (e.g. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, regional Wildlife Trust) or a local body such as a Civic Society.
  • Recreation Ground - Area of open ground with permanent or semi-permanent facilities established to enable people to enjoy, amuse or please themselves.
  • Safari Park - An area of parkland where animals are exhibited to the public but, unlike a zoo where they would occupy cages or small enclosures, are allowed to roam a large open environment.
  • Zoo - An enclosed area where wild animals are bred, studied and exhibited to the public.

Provision for occasional accommodation for those who have travelled from home for enjoyment, amusement or pleasure.

  • Camp Site - An area dedicated to camping, providing space for individuals to park vehicles and pitch tents often with associated facilities such as toilets and shower blocks.
  • Caravan Site - An area providing space for those with caravans or similar recreational vehicles to park. Sometimes with associated facilities such as power points, toilet blocks etc.
  • Holiday Park - Areas dominated by commercial complex(es) encompassing lightly-built holidaymaker's accommodation and associated facilities, sometimes including entertainment areas.

Areas whose dominant character is provision for sporting activity, whether or not commercially provided, and whether or not in areas of purpose-built structures.

  • Bowling Green - An area of closely mown lawn measured out and appropriately marked for use in the game of flat or crown green bowling.
  • Control Complex - Buildings and associated structures and areas for safely guiding air traffic into and out of an airport.
  • Cricket Pitch - An area of grass, marked out for use in the game of cricket.
  • Equestrian Centre - A complex including buildings providing accommodation and activity areas for those involved in equestrian sports/activities and their horses.
  • Gallops - A track or area where horses are exercised at a gallop.
  • Golf Course - A landscaped area of ground, encompassing different types of terrain and features, such as ponds, sand-filled bunkers etc, on which the game of golf is played.
  • Race Course - A purpose-built facility for the racing of horses; may also include grandstands or concourses.
  • Sports Field - An area of ground, often publicly owned, where outdoor sports are played, usually with the necessary marking out and structures (goal posts etc). Distinguished from sports grounds where spectators pay to watch.
  • Stables - Building complex with yards etc, where horses are bred, raised and securely kept.
  • Stud Farm - A farm where racehorses are bred and stabled.
  • Stunt Park - Purpose-built or adapted outdoor system of ramps, tracks and jumps for practising BMXing, trials riding, skateboarding, etc.
  • Velodrome - Purpose-built venue for track cycling.

An area of prepared ground on which a sport is played and where paying spectators watch. Use more specific type where known.

  • Football Ground - A site including a pitch, stands and other ancillary buildings and areas associated with playing and paying to watch the game of football.
  • Motor Sports Track - A purpose-built facility for racing motor cars and/or motor cycles which may also include grandstands or concourses.
  • Rugby Ground - A site including a pitch, clubhouse, changing rooms, stands and other ancillary buildings associated with the sport of rugby. The type applies equally to grounds used for the separate codes of Rugby Union and Rugby League.
  • Stadium - A large, usually unroofed, sports ground surrounded by spectator seating arranged in tiers or terraces.

Buildings, sites and structures associated with water sporting activities. Use more specific type where known.

  • Fishing Area - Areas dominated by use for recreational fishing and angling.
  • Rowing Lake - A lake, sometimes purpose built, for use in the sport of rowing.
  • Swimming Pool - Indoor pool for sports such as swimming and diving. Includes any directly associated grounds.

Rural Settlement

This Broad Type covers settlements that originated in a rural context. It is largely confined to the characterisation of particular settlements, not the overall pattern of settlement (NB the Roberts and Wrathmell 2000 Atlas of Rural Settlement in England, published by English Heritage, is a key source on overall settlement patterns including nucleation vs. dispersion). While many rural settlements have an agricultural basis, some are industrial and some isolated dwellings have more specialised origins, running from cottages to country houses. Some characterisations use classificatory terms adopted from topographical studies of English villages.

Rural residence with no immediate neighbours.

  • Country House - Gentry house in a rural setting, normally within a landscape park, and usually accompanied by a range of attached and detached offices, yards, etc.
  • Farmstead - A farmhouse and ancillary farm buildings forming the operational centre for the surrounding farmland.
  • Hunting Lodge - A weekend retreat for parties and others, when hunting in the deer park or forests, or as a viewing station for the chase.
  • Palace - A grand residence, royal, aristocratic or ecclesiastical, rural or urban, with immediately associated yards and offices

Rural settlement in which houses and farmsteads are typically clustered together, normally as villages, but also as hamlets.

  • Hamlet - Small settlement with no ecclesiastical or lay administrative function and usually with no other amenities.
  • Rural Row - Linear arrangement of farmsteads and dwellings, usually built along a road.
  • Village - Collection of farmsteads, dwellings, yards, gardens etc. Larger than hamlet, smaller than town. Often includes church, inn, shops, workshops, manor house.
  • Village Infill - Land within a generally built-up area, previously either open or used differently, that has been used for construction of further buildings, particularly housing.

Unimproved Land

Improvement here refers to agricultural works, whether enclosure, drainage, irrigation, fertilisation or other soil amelioration. Most land of this kind is relatively unenclosed and has a varied semi-natural vegetation cover created and maintained by extensive land management, such as seasonal grazing and the cutting of peat or scrub for fuel.Much of the subdivision of this Broad Type is on the basis of the basis of land use (e.g. common land status) or dominant vegetation (e.g. marshes, unimproved grassland, heath, furze and scrub).

Unenclosed land in private ownership but over which others, such as tenants or the local population, have particular rights such as access, grazing and fuel collection either formally or by custom. This spans formally designated commons and greens as well as informal areas of common, such as undeveloped gap sites within urban areas.

  • Common Land - Land, owned by one or more persons, where other people, known as ‘commoners’ are entitled to use the land or take resources from it. Common Land is legally defined and its extent defined on the 'Register of Common Land and Village Greens'. This register is currently maintained by DEFRA. In form, Common Land is usually unenclosed land such as wasteland, forest or pasture.
  • Green - Area of often grassy ground, usually common, normally situated at the centre of a village or hamlet, sometimes within or near a town. Usually maintained by grazing.
  • Informal Common - Areas of land which, although technically in someone's ownership and possibly lacking formal Rights of Way, are used as if there is a right of access for purposes such as informal recreation. Undeveloped gap sites within urban areas sometimes come to be used in this way by the local community.

Area dominated by rough vegetation, with no visible evidence of recent agricultural improvement. Used primarily for grazing and, historically, fuel gathering, often in common.

  • Cricket Ground - The entire playing area and associated buildings upon which the game of cricket is played and where spectators pay to watch.
  • Furze - Unimproved land dominated by furze (gorse), used for rough grazing and harvested as domestic fuel.
  • Heathland - Unimproved, but grazed area of low-growing woody shrubby vegetation, including heathers and gorses, sometimes in a mosaic with grassland and damp areas.
  • Scrub - Uncultivated land characterised by vegetation dominated by shrubs or bushes of woody plants, sometimes including small trees.

Urban Settlement

This Broad Type covers urban forms of settlement. It spans the historic cores of towns and cities, suburban housing estates and high-density forms such as flats and apartments.

Buildings, associated structures and land for permanent residence. This spans housing types associated with individual and higher-status residences.

  • Gypsy and Traveller Site - Sites which are designed to provide pitches for gypsies and travellers. These can be either transit sites or permanent sites. Permanent sites provide residents with a permanent home pitch. On transit sites lengths of stay vary but can be for fixed periods
  • Municipal Official Residence - Used where an existing building is designated as the residence of a municipal official, such as the mayor. This can encompass buildings specifically built for the purpose and earlier structures repurposed to become an official's residence.
  • Town House - A gentry house in a town or city, either detached or in a terrace.
  • Villas - Large residential properties, typically built in the mid to later 19th century in polite architectural styles. They are usually sited in large plots and often have ancillary service structures such as coach houses. The term does not cover Roman villas.

Residential area dominated by purpose-built tenement buildings, each containing several flats or apartments.

  • Block Dwellings - Purpose-built working class housing comprising flats arranged into blocks. The blocks are usually interspersed with common areas for functions such as drying greens. They were built by local government and philanthropic bodies, such as the Peabody Trust.
  • High Rise Blocks - Residential development of multi-storeyed buildings with each floor usually containing several properties, either in flats or maisonettes. Whilst the height of individual buildings varies, their form is tall and slender and they are much higher than the prevailing building height in their surroundings, aiding the perception of them as tall structures. They can be built singly or in small clusters where the blocks are set in and separated by communal space.
  • Low Rise Blocks - Residential development of multi-storeyed buildings with each floor usually containing several properties, either in flats or maisonettes. The form of the buildings is readily identifiable as a development of flats, as opposed to houses, but their height is in line with the prevailing building height in the area and rarely reaches more than four storeys. Many have commercial space, such as shop units, at ground floor. They can be built singly or as small estates where the blocks are set in and separated by communal space. They are often mid-20th century and later in origin. Many are relatively recent developments that have been built in this form to fit in with prevailing building heights.
  • Mansion Blocks - A block of flats designed for an overall impression of grandeur. Typically with an imposing, symmetrical façade and prominent communal entrance.
  • Mid Rise Blocks - Residential development of multi-storeyed buildings with each floor usually containing several properties, either in flats or maisonettes. The form of the buildings is often linear and always readily identifiable as a development of flats. Their height is somewhat greater than the prevailing building height in the area but they lack the slenderness inherent in high-rise flats. They can be built singly or as small estates where the blocks are set in and separated by communal space.

The long-established historic centre of a town or city. The extent is usually defined by reference to the extent of the place as shown on a key early map (e.g. first edition Ordnance Survey map)

  • Burgage Plot - A plot of land longer than it is wide, usually running perpendicularly to the street, with the associated dwelling on the street frontage. The holding of a burgess, and thus typical of medieval towns.
  • Informal Plot Group - A group of plots of land within the historic core of an urban centre laid out between key communication routes (e.g. long-distance road routes and river frontage) but lacking a clear overarching organisational principle as found in planned sections of historic town centres (i.e. burgage plots). The plots can be occupied by a mixture of housing, commercial operations and industrial concerns. The extent of these uses, as well as the internal boundaries within a plot group, are subject to frequent reworking. Where there is a chief frontage, e.g. to a main road, housing is usually confined to this frontage with a mixture of industrial and commercial use in the plots to the rear of this. The type can develop from reorganisation and subdivision of a preceding burgage plot pattern.

A planned residential area, usually with its own self-contained street system including cul-de-sacs, sometimes with its own amenities, such as shops, a public house etc.

  • Cottage Estate - Housing built by either public bodies (local authorities and Ministry of Works), co-partnership companies or by private companies (including by industrialists for their employees) to house workers in the later 19th to earlier 20th century. Layouts and building types are based on Garden Suburb ideals but with simplified forms, detailing and finishes. The earlier examples often embody ideals of improved or model dwellings. Housing is usually two-storey, a mix of semi-detached, short-run terraced houses and cottage flats with provision of both private gardens and shared open space. Amenities such as churches, schools, shops and recreation areas are often an in-built part of the estate. These latter features are characterised separately as an appropriate type when large enough to meet the characterisation threshold.
  • Garden Suburb - Estate of dwellings designed on Garden City principles in a suburban location. Designed to avoid monotony and uniformity through use of natural contours to create gently curved streets lined with hedges and trees. Individually-designed houses, usually in a Queen Anne revival or Arts and Crafts style, are placed to maintain each other's amenity and outlook with a low average density. Communal facilities, such as churches and institutes, were often a key aspect within the estate design. In theory, they were built to house all classes but, in practice, they have become middle class enclaves.
  • Metroland Estate - Development of private houses on large tranches of land with easy access to suburban rail. Consisting of semi-detached dwelling houses with private front and rear gardens, inspired by the Garden Suburb movement. Typically in an applied half-timbered 'Tudorbethan' style, although Art-Deco inspired, restrained Moderne also features. Details and material finishes often higher quality or more decorative than contemporary estates designed for the working class, such as stained and leaded windows, 'sunburst' glazed doors. They were constructed from the 1910s with the majority built in the interwar period. Initially they were built by the Metropolitan Railway Country Estates (a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Railway Company founded to develop land owned by the company near their lines) but other speculative developers took up the style and built similar estates around the fringes of London near rail or underground lines.
  • Municipal Housing Estate - Estate of dwellings built by local authorities for council tenancy. Homes are usually semi-detached, but also include short-run terraced houses and two storey flat/maisonette blocks with provision of both private gardens and shared open space. Road layouts and building types are based loosely on Garden Suburb ideals but with simplified forms, detailing and finishes. Amenities such as churches, schools, shops and recreation areas are usually an in-built part of the estate. Whilst some pre-date the First World War, the majority were built in the interwar period.
  • Park Homes - Developments consisting of static caravans used as permanent homes. They usually have a defined perimeter, have maintained roadways and each caravan structure sits in a separate and defined garden plot.
  • Park Suburb - Estate of dwellings designed to give effect to Arts and Craft principles. They date to the mid to later 19th century and are a bridge between terraced housing and the garden suburb, retaining the rectilinear street pattern typical of the former but deploying the house sizes and styles associated with the latter. Individually-designed houses, usually in a Queen Anne revival or Arts and Crafts style, are placed to maintain each other's amenity and outlook with a low average density. Communal facilities, such as churches and institutes, were often a key aspect within the estate design. In theory, such estates were built to appeal to a bohemians and artisans inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement but, in practice, they became middle class enclaves with communal facilities often now no longer in communal use.
  • Prefabs - A type of prefabricated house erected, to 11 approved designs, as part of the Temporary Housing Programme, between 1944 and 1948. This scheme was devised to relieve the post-war housing shortage at a time when conventional materials were unavailable.
  • Speculative Estate - Estate of dwellings built for private sale, typically houses but also of mixed types, consisting of one or more standard house models repeated in groups. Buildings are in mass-produced, industrialised materials and finishes with simplified, boxy forms for rapid construction. Emphasis is usually on private amenity, with front and rear private gardens and little public amenity space or facilities. Estate layout is often car-orientated with wide junction radii, turning heads and provision of private parking in driveways and garages. They are 1960s and later in date and now account for the majority of larger-scale suburban housing development.

Accommodation intended for and limited to specific groups, for example those attending/working at a particular institution or where care or oversight of residents is available as needed.

  • Almshouses - Accommodation in the form of small houses or cottages, often linked in a group, sometimes with associated gardens or buildings such as chapels. They were endowed by a benefactor or charitable body to house particular groups such as the widows of, or former workers from, certain trades.
  • Occupational Housing - Accommodation provided for staff on site or near the associated workplace, usually a large institution such as a hospital. Often provided for single staff members without family, or to accommodate shift workers. They can take the form of flatted blocks with individual bedrooms and shared communal areas.
  • Sheltered Accommodation - Accommodation for elderly or vulnerable people to allow them to live independently, consisting of self-contained flats with communal facilities. Sometimes staffed with an on-site warden.
  • Student Residences - Accommodation for students of further and higher education establishments, often purpose-built, taking the form of blocks containing individual study bedrooms with shared and communal facilities.

Residential area dominated by lines of attached houses, usually planned and built as one unit. Often associated with industrial towns. Sometimes follow earlier patterns, such as those of the fields they overlay.

  • Basic Terrace - Housing comprising linear developments of three or more attached houses, usually planned and built as one unit. The housing generally has low levels of architectural pretension, is two or three storeyed at most, and it is normal for them to be constructed directly onto the street frontage with no front garden or yard.
  • Grand Terrace - Large multi-storeyed houses with higher quality materials and with a greater degree of architectural sophistication and, sometimes, associated service structures (e.g. Mews) than found in a Basic Terrace.
  • Half House - A distinct form of terraced housing comprising pairs of single-storey flats within a two-storey terrace (i.e. one flat on the ground floor and another above) with their own separate access to the rear yard. The rear yard could be shared or divided. The type is mainly recognisable from the presence of separate front doors which are adjacent to each other with one allowing access to the ground floor flat and the other to the upper floor flat. The form is also known as 'cottage flat'.
  • Link Terrace - Group of terraced houses designed to look as if they are separate houses through use of differing roof heights and step backs from property frontage. Whilst they are often high-status and of late 18th to early 19th century data, the flexibility of the form means that examples are likely to be found of later date.
  • Mews - Terraced accommodation, usually two storey and designed to have stabling below and hayloft, storage and staff accommodation above. Arranged in lanes and courts behind higher-status terraces, originally ancillary to them but now often in separate ownership and converted to dwellings.
  • Palace Fronted Terrace - Group of high-status terraced houses designed as a unified architectural whole, such as with a 'palace' front.

Valley Floor and Wetland Use

This Broad Type is based partly on land use and partly on topography. It is dominated by forms of meadow, whether engineered to be especially productive (water meadows) or retained as semi-natural grasslands within hay meadows. More specialised uses, often now reduced, include osier beds and watercress beds.

Valley-floor land used for grazing. The level of active management of the grazing resource varies.

  • Valley Bottom Meadow - Permanent grassland on poorly drained valley floors, exploited for the lush grass it supports. Often enclosed, sometimes held in common and used for hay-making and best summer pasture.
  • Water Meadow - Controlled irrigation to draw nutrient-rich silts and material onto valley-bottom grassland to increase hay yields and enable earlier mowing. Early modern agricultural improvement; normally now no longer operated though earthworks may survive.

Valley-floor land, usually permanently or seasonally wet, under active management to promote the growth of particular vegetation as a crop.

  • Osier Beds - An area where osiers (types of willows, producing long straight stems) are cultivated for use in basketry.
  • Watercress Beds - An area set aside for growing watercress. As the watercress requires large quantities of slightly alkaline water the beds are usually sited around the headwaters of chalk streams.


This Broad Type relates to areas of woodland and trees. In England, such areas reveal much about historic management, whether they are ancient woodlands (pre-17th century as defined by Natural England criteria) which either are or were subject to various forms of management and cropping, coppice routinely cut back to ground level in the harvesting process, plantations established with timber or pulp as the principal product, or secondary woodland that established itself on land formerly used for other purposes, including industry and agriculture. Wood pasture, land where agriculture is at least equal to silviculture, often has high biodiversity value as trees standing either singly or in small clumps in extensively grazed land support various communities on trunks that receive more direct sunlight.

Woodland under active management to yield a periodic crop of timber or other woodland products, such as poles, or specific grazing conditions.

  • Coppice - Area of managed woodland, usually oak, ash, hornbeam, hazel, alder, willow or beech, periodically cut to encourage new growth providing a source of smaller timber; for rods, fuel, charcoal etc. Larger coppices often divided into cropping areas or coups.
  • Plantation - Woodland planted deliberately, either for landscaping or to produce a crop of timber. Mid 20th century plantations usually single species conifers often planted in rows. Earlier plantations and those of the late 20th century onwards are often more mixed.
  • Replanted Ancient Woodland Site - Woodland where original natural tree coverage of Ancient Woodland has been replanted with other trees, often coniferous.
  • Wood Pasture - Scattered trees within grassland, the trees providing shelter for forage as well as being harvested for timber and fuel. Now most often found within deer parks, but more widespread, especially on steep slopes, in the medieval period.

Woodland that has developed through traditional management and/or natural colonisation. It spans ancient woodland and areas of woodland developed though natural colonisation.

  • Ancient Woodland - Woodland believed to have existed since at least 1600 in England, where is it defined as such by Natural England in a status carrying planning implications. It may be managed for timber, coppice, etc and often contains dividing banks, trackways, charcoal burning platforms, etc.
  • Carr - An area of fenland that has become overgrown with trees or shrubs, normally the result of natural succession. Areas of Carr can be quite old in origin. Some may appear in the Ancient Woodlands Inventory, where this is the case they are to be classed as the Narrow Type Ancient Woodland.
  • Secondary Woodland - Woodland that has developed, usually by natural colonisation, on land formerly used for other purposes (agriculture, settlement, industry etc). If this process pre-dated 1600, the area has remained wooded since and appears in the Natural England Ancient Woodlands Inventory as 'Ancient Woodland' then the woodland is to be classified as the 'Ancient Woodland' Narrow Type.

A CSV file of the thesaurus is available to download: