Marine Character Areas

Marine Character Areas

Our national seascape character and visual resource mapping for Wales.

Marine Character Areas

What are Marine Character Areas?

Seascapes, like landscapes, reflect the relationship between people and place and the part it plays in forming the setting to our everyday lives

Marine Character Areas highlight the key natural, cultural and perceptual influences that make the character of each seascape distinct and unique.

The character of our seascapes

We were commissioned on behalf of Welsh Government to identify the character of Wales’ seascapes at a broad-scale. We divided our inshore waters into 29 Marine Character Areas.

This work provides the strategic spatial evidence on seascapes to inform the Wales National Marine Plan, which is being prepared by Welsh Government. Their consultation on the draft plan provides the opportunity for discussion about these areas.

Each area profile includes a description of the key characteristics, including their natural, cultural and perceptual influences, as well as land – sea inter-visibility maps.

The importance of understanding our seascapes

Seascape character sets out links between people and their cultures, and places and their natural resources. As such, seascape character is an integrating concept and an essential tool in natural resource planning.

Understanding the sense of place of our seascapes is very important when planning tourism and recreational activities. Promoting what is distinctive and special to visitors helps bring prosperity to our coastal communities.

Sitting underneath the Marine Character Areas are more detailed, locally-based seascape character assessments. A longer term work programme to provide more detailed coverage has resulted in local seascape character assessments, which have covered about 50% of Wales to date. Areas currently covered are Pembrokeshire, Anglesey and parts of Gwynedd. Further areas are in preparation.

To provide feedback or for further information please contact John Briggs (

Read the report

Executive Summary, Introduction, Method, Map images, Appendices

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