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Understanding the landscapes of the Cairngorms National Park

5th March 2012

From coast to coast and glen to glen, and from village to town and city, the landscapes of Scotland are richly diverse and greatly valued, and nowhere more so than in our National Parks.

The Cairngorms National Park has incredibly attractive and locally distinctive landscapes that are good for the soul as well as the economy. The challenge is to retain and enhance these qualities whilst at the same time encouraging change that will benefit man.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) are producing maps and guidance to help meet this challenge and to make landscape information more easily accessible and useful to everyone be they a land manager, a community council or a geography student.

The landscape of the Cairngorms National Park has been formed by geological and other natural processes and has been influenced by human land use for thousands of years. It is a source of inspiration, provides livelihoods and it is an historical record; but it is not static.

CNPA Landscape Officer Frances Thin is behind this project, the first of its kind: “Today’s landscapes are very different from those of our grandparents. Very recently, the gales have brought down trees and heavy rain has caused landslides and rivers to swell, erode banks and flood the straths; all this reminds us that landscape change is constant.”

With advancing technology, an increasing population and changing expectations, the pressure on our landscapes gets greater by the decade. The online resource uses Google maps to show what the character of an area is and where the landscape is sensitive.

Frances Thin added: “We must continue to strive to keep the different character qualities from glen to glen and town to town. These differences are greatly valued by people. We hope that this easy to access information will be used by them to inform their work and studies and help keep our National Park special.”

The Landscape Toolkit is now live on our website. It contains Initial information and maps and the CNPA would welcome feedback.