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Our achievements

Our achievements Photo: © Kevin Eaves/Shutterstock

CPRE has pioneered work to ensure the tranquil character of the English countryside is recognised, valued and better protected. Building on these successes, we continue to campaign to keep the tranquillity of ‘designated areas’, such as national parks and AONBs, and the wider ‘ordinary’ countryside:

How we mapped tranquillity

In 2005 CPRE commissioned the universities of Newcastle and Northumbria to create a new detailed approach to mapping tranquillity.

The researchers started by consulting over 2,000 people to define tranquillity and to identify the range of factors that add to or detract from it. These factors, positive and negative, were then weighted for their importance in a national survey. National datasets were selected that matched the factors. Using this data the researchers then identified and modelled the presence – or absence - of every factor in each square in a grid of 500m by 500m squares across the whole surface of England using a Geographical Information System (GIS). This included assessing the topography (lie of the land), noise modelling and analysing the visibility of features from multiple perspectives and distance.

The result was to create a detailed map made up of many layers of information. If you could peel away the layers, you would see underlying maps that show the positive or negative impact on tranquillity of seeing and hearing:
- Natural or semi-natural landscape, including woodland
- Rivers, streams, lakes and the sea
- Birds and other wildlife
- Wide open or remote places
- Traffic - cars, motorbikes, trains and aircraft – and roads and railways
- Light pollution and dark skies
- Towns, cities and villages
- Large numbers of people
- Pylons, power lines and wind turbines.

The final tranquillity map is a composite of these layers, showing for each grid square how likely it is a person in that locality will feel tranquil. The map is a striking representation, from red to green, of areas with low to high tranquillity for the whole country. It shows the incremental effects of up to 42 different factors. Less tranquil areas have multiple negative factors such as roads, traffic noise, railways, aviation, urban development, power lines, sky glow and wind turbines. More tranquil areas lack these visually intrusive or noisy factors and have high levels of positives such as natural land cover, openness, woodland and dark skies.

CPRE believes the maps are the best indicator we have to show areas of tranquillity worthy of protection nationally or areas where tranquillity could be improved. Scores can be re-scaled locally too, using the original data set, to show more clearly areas in a county or district that are relatively tranquil, valuable in that area and in need of protection.

The full technical report from the university research team describing how the tranquillity map was created is available in the Resources section.

© Campaign to Protect Rural England, 5-11 Lavington Street, London, SE1 0NZ | Tel: 020 7981 2800 | Email: |

Registered charity number: 1089685, registered company number: 4302973

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