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Bushfield and Itchen Valley at St Cross - Trust Annual Report 1997

Pressures for varied development on sites at Bushfield prompted the Trust to investigate the feasibility of commissioning a landscape assessment of this important part of Winchester's southern environment.

In July 1997 the Trust Council agreed to proceed with the project in partnership with the Hampshire Gardens Trust. With support from the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, we have approached the Countryside Commission, and Local Authority support is being sought. In order to keep down the cost, experienced volunteers from both Trusts will prepare the background information.

The objective is to prepare a landscape assessment of the Itchen Valley at St Cross and the two hillsides on either side. In this way, any development, transport improvements or planting will be made in the light of a full understanding of the visual, historic and environmental value of this unique and well-preserved landscape. As the area now at risk is the western (Bushfield) hillside, greater attention will be paid to its value, both intrinsically and as an essential element of the better known and better protected landscape of the valley itself and the eastern (St Catherine's) hillside.

The assessment is neither to make proposals for the area nor to comment on any proposals which have been made, but to value it as it is now, while outlining its past as a means of understanding its very great importance both now and for future generations.

In the longer term, it may be possible to extend the exercise to the whole perimeter of Winchester.

Patricia Edwards Bushfield/Itchen Valley Co-ordinator