The village is located approximately
3¾ miles south-west of Wootton Bassett and 5½
miles north of Calne. The
parish covers about 3442 square acres and is roughly rectangular
in shape. It measures 4 miles from east to west at its widest
point and is 2¾ miles from north to south. Lyneham
is very accessible to many of the surrounding towns and is
located on the primary transport network of Wiltshire. The
surrounding land is mainly arable but some diary farming exists.
The surrounding area forms a shoulder of land that divides
the Avon valley to the west from the lowlands of the River
Marston tributaries to the east. To the north, the scarp slope
rises sharply from the Avon valley and slopes more gently
to the east around Tockenham. To the south, the ridge narrows
and slopes steeply on both sides, terminating at the River
Marden. The scarp rises from approx 60m in the Avon Valley
to 150m The prominent scarp slope rising from 60m AOD in the
Avon Valley to 150m AOD at Lyneham airfield, it reaches 128m
AOD in the south around Wick Hill. On all but the northeast
edge there are small-scale fields and deciduous ancient woodland.
The underlying geology of the area is dominated by Coral
Ragstone, which is exposed on the scarp. In places this gives
way to the more fertile lower calcareous grit, while the on
lower ground of the northern fringes these give way to the
heavy Oxford Clay.
The presence of Round Barrows around Lyneham, provides evidence
of prehistoric habitation by man with in this landscape. As
through much of the district, Roman influences are evident,
an example being a Roman villa near Tockenham. The settlement
pattern is much reduced from the medieval era, when settlements
developed predominantly along the fertile area to the east.
Also evident is an extensive complex of medieval earthworks
north of Lyneham, which includes the remains of Bradenstoke
Augustinian Priory, fishponds, and the remains of an associated
motte and bailey castle known as Clack Mount.
The steep western slopes are significantly wooded. Woodland
cover over the rest of the area is present in large clumps
and within secluded wooded valleys with overgrown hedges creating
an enclosed rural feet.
Agriculture is predominantly
pasture, with arable located on the more fertile higher grade
calcareous grit. There is a pattern of small fields on the
steeper scarp slopes with larger, more regular fields on the
plateau. These are bounded by hedges, which are predominantly
intact, forming a comprehensive network often with hedgerow
On the steeper land and secluded valleys the hedges are
often outgrown, providing a strong sense of enclosure. Minor
roads are lined with high hedges and hedge banks, framing
and containing views out to the surrounding landscape. On
the more intensively farmed land the hedges are frequently
gappy and cut low.
Around Lyneham, the landscape is dominated by the airfield
and related military structures. Its presence is also evident
through the regular cargo aircraft activity and the perimeter
security fence. Yet the impact on the surrounding area is
limited due to the plateau location with viewpoints at a lower
level and obstructing vegetation and buildings.
Most of the development is focused around Lyneham and consists
of predominantly 20th century residential developments, linked
to the military use of the area. This also increases the traffic
along the A3102. The rest of the area contains only minor
nucleated settlements and scattered dwellings, constructed
of a mixture of stone and brick.
Wide expansive panoramas are possible, especially from the
scarp slopes to the lower flat land on all sides. From the
south east, this includes views down to Calne and the industrial
development associated with the settlement. The M4 is also
visible to the north. To the northeast views are restricted
by the more gentle rolling landscape. The scarp slope is particularly
dominant viewed from the Avon Valley and the M4, forming the
backdrop to much of the valley.
Away from Lyneham itself the area has a strong rural character,
with small valleys, woodland and hedge system creating areas
of shelter and enclosure in the landscape, contrasting with
the vast views facilitated from the higher ground. The persistent
presence of Hercules air transporter aircraft since 1967 is
synonymous with the Wiltshire skyline. The turbo prop aircraft
is a very slight noise source, which reduces the tranquil
rural character on the flight path.
Any future development of Lyneham would be to ensure that
adverse landscape and visual countryside changes are minimised
There is airway growth concerns within the rural Lyneham area
and the planned closure of the airbase by 2012. Development
of the airbase as a future commercial airport has been ruled
out owing to runway length and accessibility problems.
Redevelopment of the airbase into a commercial industrial
park, utilising the large hanger floor area and open contaminated
airfield would favour most business ventures . The main objectives
for the area would be to preserve the rural character and
maintain the visual interest of the scarp slope viewed in
particular from the Avon Valley. This should include maintaining
and where necessary enhancing woodland cover and the hedge
network. The sense of enclosure within valleys and exposure
on the scarp edge should be maintained.
When the modern planning system was established under the
Town and Country Planning Act 1947 local planning authorities
retained their powers to protect trees and woodlands in the
interests of amenity by making tree preservation orders. Lyneham
has many established trees many planted for noticeable occasions
in our past. These trees have sentimental value for our
history, therefore have protection orders against them. Likewise,
the landscape and scenic values of certain trees in areas
of open space or common land afford protection to prevent
future developments on these cherished spaces. For further
information about the Tree Preservation Orders placed on
the trees within Lyneham and Bradenstoke read
The biggest worry when buying a house is whether the property
lies on a flood plain. Many have witnessed the major floods
of Tewesbury, Gloucestershire 2007, and the tragedies of
Boscastle and Carlisle in the early 21st century and it comes
as a relief that Lyneham does not suffer from river overspills.
Common Land is mostly privately owned land, that has rights of common over it,
and as such, current laws apply to common land in the same way as to any private
land. Common Land is generally open, unfenced and remote - particularly in
the upland areas of England and Wales. However, there are some lowland areas
of common, particularly in the southeast of England, that are important for
recreational uses. More..
There has been a geological study carried out of the local
landscape which reveals a series of landscape types. These
are partly derived from the national landscape typology categorisation. More..