contact  contact   help  help 


About the maps

This website consists of a series of maps which link to text descriptions of the areas they represent. The maps can be accessed by clicking on the tabs at the top of each page.

  • Joint Character Areas
    In the mid 1990s the map of England was subdivided into 159 different Joint Character Areas (JCAs). These are broad swathes of countryside, such as the Cotswolds and Chilterns, with similar geology, topography and patterns of land use. You can find out more about these through the Natural England website.


  • Regional Character Areas
    The Regional Character Area map simply highlights the parts of the Joint Character Areas which are relevant to Oxfordshire. There are nine of these within the county and, in most cases, they have the same name as the national JCAs. However, the Upper Thames Clay Vale JCA, in Oxfordshire, has been further subdivided into the Upper Thames Vale, Vale of Aylesbury and Vale of White Horse Regional Character Areas.


  • Biomap
    This map highlights a range of colour coded biobands throughout the county. Each bioband is a basic measure of the number and type of habitats found within a specific area.

    Areas with high scoring biobands generally support a wider range of habitats including ones which may be of national/international importance. Low scoring areas, by contrast have fewer habitats which are mostly of local importance.


  • Biolandscape map
    This is simply the landscape types map overlain with the biomap. It allows you to visualise how the number and type of habitats, according to their respective biobands, varies both within and between landscape types.


  • Landscape Types
    As a result of more detailed landscape character assessments on the ground it became possible to subdivide Oxfordshire into a number of different landscape types. Each part of the landscape type, called a local character area, also has some form of hatching, which highlights the bioscore or bioband for that area.

    There are 24 of these in the county and they again represent areas of countryside with similar, but more detailed, patterns of land use, settlement pattern and vegetation cover. Each landscape type consists of varying numbers of local character areas which can be located in different parts of the county or even in other counties with a similar landscape character.

    You can find out more about each landscape type by clicking on the link at the top of the home page. This will take you to a map of the county which highlights the distribution of all the different landscape types. By selecting a landscape type on the left hand side, you will find a summary description of the main features which characterise that landscape type.

    If you would like to find out more, you can:

    • see an aerial photograph illustrating the landscape type
    • access a more detailed description accompanied by strategic guidelines about safeguarding, maintaining and enhancing its landscape character and biodiversity
    • view a specific location map by clicking on the relevant boxes in the bottom left hand corner of the page.

    Some parts of the landscape type may include a number of coloured dots. These represent the wildlife habitats associated with the landscape type and the different colours represent different habitat types. Descriptions of each of these habitats are included on the relevant parish maps.


  • District maps
    The District maps allow you to explore the rural districts (not Oxford City), in more detail. You have the choice of two District maps:

    The first simply highlights the landscape types associated with a chosen District. By clicking on any one of these it will take you to the relevant maps and descriptions explained under the section on landscape types.

    The second District map also shows the different landscape types but, is overlain with the boundaries of all the parishes which fall within that District. You can access individual parishes by either clicking on the relevant parish on the District map or by simply choosing its name from the drop-down list on the left hand side of the page.


  • Parish maps
    Each parish map has an Ordnance Survey base, and this is overlain by those parts of a particular landscape type which fall within the parish boundary.

    There may be more than one landscape type associated with each parish. The name of the landscape type will be displayed by simply holding the cursor over the parish map. If you click on the landscape type it will take you to the landscape and biodiversity description of the local character area for that landscape type.

    Each of these local character areas has a name which is based on a nearby area or settlement. It is important to remember that this description is for the whole local character area and not the specific parish you have chosen. It is quite possible that the landscape and biodiversity may vary slightly from the broad local character area description.

    In some parishes there is additional information about any wildlife habitats that might occur within the parish, which can be found by scrolling down the page. The habitat descriptions are arranged according to their associated landscape types within the parish.