National Landscape Character Areas (NLCA)

Shaped by nature and people over time, landscapes form the environmental settings in which we live, work and enjoy life. They contribute to our quality of life, prosperity and well-being. By recognising landscape character, and the natural resources and cultural heritage that defines them, we can better understand how to shape our future. 

NLCA map

NLCAs are defined at a broad landscape scale throughout Wales. The descriptive profiles for the 48 individual character areas highlight what distinguishes one landscape from another, with reference to their regionally distinct natural, cultural and perceptual characteristics.

Many of the environmental resilience and planning challenges we face are best considered at a ‘landscape-scale’. The NLCA policy-neutral descriptions can contribute to the development of national and regional policy, strategy or guidelines. NRW’s Area Statements incorporate NLCA information.  

NLCAs offer:

  • national coverage of Wales
  • 48 broad scale character areas
  • a summary description and list of key characteristics linked to regional identity
  • short narratives capturing visual, geological, habitat, historic and cultural influences
  • form an Ideal resource for working at a strategic level and providing a wider context (1:250,000 scale)
  • provide key information for promoting and celebrating regional landscapes
  • offer a compatible scale to National Character Areas (NCAs) in adjacent England 

There are other, more detailed but smaller scale Local Landscape Character Areas in Wales too. These are published by local authorities and may form part of their Supplementary Planning Guidance. 

All landscape character assessments in Wales start with reference to LANDMAP, our most detailed landscape evidence baseline.

Related document downloads

NLCA map PDF [488.4 KB]
NLCA01 Anglesey Coast PDF [1.2 MB]
NLCA03 Arfon PDF [1.3 MB]
NLCA04 Llŷn PDF [753.2 KB]
NLCA05 Tremadoc Bay PDF [1.5 MB]
NLCA06 Snowdonia PDF [1.5 MB]
NLCA07 Conwy Valley PDF [1.6 MB]
NLCA08 North Wales coast PDF [968.1 KB]
NLCA09 Rhos PDF [914.0 KB]
NLCA10 Denbigh Moors PDF [682.8 KB]
NLCA11 Vale of Clwyd PDF [808.2 KB]
NLCA12 Clwydian Range PDF [1.7 MB]
NLCA14 Maelor PDF [722.5 KB]
NLCA16 Berwyn PDF [1.6 MB]
NLCA19 Severn Valley PDF [2.9 MB]
NLCA25 Bro Ceredigion PDF [634.6 KB]
NLCA28 Epynt PDF [2.8 MB]
NLCA34 Gwent Levels PDF [2.3 MB]
NLCA38 Swansea Bay PDF [2.2 MB]
NLCA39 Gower PDF [1.8 MB]
NLCA40 Teifi Valley PDF [3.0 MB]
NLCA41 Tywi Valley PDF [2.2 MB]
NLCA46 Preseli Hills PDF [1.5 MB]
NLCA48 Milford Haven PDF [1.0 MB]
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