West Yorkshire Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC)

Karl Lunn, Edward Lewis, John Lord, Jenny Marchant, Christopher Thomas, 2017

Data copyright © Ian Sanderson, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, Historic England unless otherwise stated

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Karl Lunn, Edward Lewis, John Lord, Jenny Marchant, Christopher Thomas (2017) West Yorkshire Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1042125

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West Yorkshire HLC map

The West Yorkshire Historic Characterisation Project (WYHLC) was undertaken by the West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service (WYAAS) between 2011 and 2017. The project covers the five local authorities which make up the West Yorkshire Region: Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, and was funded by Historic England (formerly English Heritage).

There were five project objectives:

  1. Characterisation of the visible historic environment of West Yorkshire:
    • Identification of relevant source material and the precise level of data collected.
    • Definition of character types and areas.
    • Recording of character areas and their constituent attributes and components on the GIS data base.
  2. Analysis and interpretation of the characterisation data:
    • Assessment of the relationship between present character and historical character (and its context).
    • Analysis and identification of landscape character types and historic character areas.
    • Identification of the potential for archaeological remains (both above and below ground), the historic importance and the current condition of the character areas and their key components.
    • Identification of the 'forces for change' acting on the character areas and their components.
  3. Formulation of management and research strategies, including managing change in West Yorkshire's historic environment:
    • Advice on using the characterisation in planning to influence regeneration and other re-development proposals.
    • Encouragement of the adoption of the results as Supplementary Planning Guidance and in Development Frameworks.
    • Consideration of how the results will be reviewed in the future, in order for changes over time to be monitored.
    • Identification of further research objectives.
  4. Outreach and Dissemination throughout the life of the project:
    • Promotion of the ongoing work of the project via displays, presentations, web pages etc, to encourage support from stakeholders.
    • Publicising the final results to the public via presentations, press releases and web pages.
    • Dissemination of the project results and promotion of the resource to the five Metropolitan Districts of West Yorkshire and the relevant regeneration agencies.
    • The preparation of a final written report.
  5. Archiving and Maintenance of the Database:
    • Creation of an archive both digitally and paper-based in line with relevant standards and practice, which will be deposited with the West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service.
    • Formulation of a strategy for the ongoing maintenance of project data.

Digitisation commenced in April 2011, and completed by the end of December 2015. Report writing commenced in January 2016, with report editing and production finalised in January 2017.

Over much of West Yorkshire, areas with rural and urban attributes are not geographically distinct, but are intermingled - the result of industrial development taking place on a base settlement pattern which was predominantly dispersed rather than nucleated. The result is extensive ribbon development along roads and the margins of common land fronting areas which retain primarily rural attributes. This means that West Yorkshire, like some other industrialised sub-regions in the North, required a characterisation methodology which differed from the traditional approach of treating urban and rural areas as distinct entities. The methodology employed during the project drew on those developed for sub-regions such as South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, which integrated the modelling approach of Historic Landscape Characterisation with that of the Extensive Urban Survey. This enabled the broad-brush approach of historic landscape characterisation to be brought into urban areas, as well as allowing the archaeological potential of rural areas to be considered.