Section 3 – Landscape Setting and Shape of Whitchurch

The setting of Whitchurch

Screenshot - p06 Silk MillThe town of Whitchurch lies in an attractive rural setting within the valley of the River Test, in the centre of the parish of the same name.

The parish has a sloping, irregular shape (see map in Section 2), with the highest point in the north, sloping gently south, where the chalk landscape is more open to the river valley and starting to rise again to the south. The character of Whitchurch town and parish is greatly influenced by its medieval origins.

Whitchurch is a parish of contrasts. The wide, open views and large field systems at the higher levels surrounding the town (A) differ sharply from the enclosed and intimate feel of the town snuggling on the hillsides down into the river in the Test valley. Residents value this and do not want to see sprawling development that blurs or eliminates this contrast. They wish to retain the attractive qualities of the approaches and the brick arches over some roads as gateways to the town.

Whitchurch has a special ‘in-town’ countryside. Even within a densely populated and built-up town, the fleeting glimpses and broader views of the Test, its water meadows and other green spaces, remind people on foot and in vehicles that this is, indeed, a country town.

“I love the look and feel of Whitchurch, but it needs to be allowed to grow and develop to meet the needs of the community.”
– Public Opinion Survey

In Section 6 Open Space we cover this subject in more depth and suggest some guidelines to retain the country feel to the place.

Whitchurch has a leafy roof. From many directions, those approaching the town at the higher levels see only a church spire emerging through a canopy of leafy trees that extends over much of the built environment.

Screenshot - p06 Countryside view

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