Clogher Valley Lowlands Landscape
- Broad lowland corridor with small rounded hills and long ridges.
- Well farmed countryside with distinctive estate landscapes. Extensive grassland production on progressive farms.
- Relatively dense vegetation cover, with hedgerows, woods and tree belts. Large, mature trees on estates, around farms and along roads are a feature.
- Numerous winding rivers and streams, with meadows, mills, bridges and loughs.
- Many traditional buildings and small county houses of character. Older buildings on the slopes and tops of drumlins.
- Concentration of raths and tree rings in valleys, crannogs in lakes and numerous listed buildings associated with estates.
The Clogher Valley Lowlands are confined between the sandstone ridges of Brougher Mountain to the north, and Slieve Beagh to the south. It is a broad distinctive corridor of undulating lowland, including a low watershed between the Colebrooke and Tempo river valleys and the Clogher Valley, which contains the Upper Blackwater River. The lowland is covered with boulder clay drumlins of varying sizes and long winding eskers of sand and gravel. There are also occasional solid rock outcrops. Between the drumlins and ridges are areas of flatter land, linked by streams and rivers. Most are pastures but some have pockets of bog and small loughs, such as Lough Eyes and Screeby Lough. There is some peat-cutting but much of the peat from the bogs has been worked in the past and they have been colonised by birch and willow scrub.
Farming is progressive, dominated by medium sized farm businesses, producing silage and hay for cattle rearing and dairy herds. Fields are relatively large and are bounded by hedges which are often overgrown with tall, mature trees. Tree groups occur around farms and at the hilltop raths, which are a particular feature of the Brookeborough and the Tempo river valleys. The lowland has many notable estate landscapes, including the Colebrooke, Clogher and Tempo Manor estates. All are distinctive and attractive landscapes, with a mix of woodland, parkland and historic estate buildings. Housing is associated with farms and with older houses on the top or sides of drumlins and ridges. Most have been modernised but elements of traditional design still remain. Some of the larger dwellings have small parkland settings. The lowland is criss-crossed with minor roads. Fivemiletown, Clogher and Augher are important local centres along the principal A4 route from Belfast to Fermanagh.
Landscape Condition and Sensitivity to Change
The landscape is in good condition, with intact field boundaries and a high degree of unity and enclosure.
The area has a strong sense of place and its rich historic landscape heritage and detailed, intricate landscape pattern is extremely sensitive to change. The lowlands are overlooked in views from the adjacent uplands and landscapes within these views are particularly sensitive. The wider corridor of the many rivers and streams, with their associated meadows, bridges, loughs and mill buildings are also vulnerable to landscape change. In addition, the Clogher Valley is considered to be a fine example of an undisturbed fluvio-glacial landscape and merits protection from mineral extraction.
Principles for Landscape Management
- The distinctive flowery waysides, hedgerows and mature trees which line the roads are important features. Young trees should be retained and protected in order to replace older ones as they die. New tree planting would be appropriate.
- Changes in land use which are in scale with the existing attractive balance of bog, hay and silage meadows, woodland and parkland and which fit within the robust pattern of hedgerows, are most appropriate. Large scale planting, or the enlargement of fields would change the intricate grain of the landscape.
Principles for Accommodating New Development
- Development has been generally well integrated into the existing pattern of small hills, ridges and mature vegetation. The skylines and the characteristically flat open bog areas are best kept open and free of development. Former house sites nestled amongst the hill-slopes and within established vegetation may provide scope for development. Small scale dwellings with white washed facades are characteristic.
- It would be beneficial to control ribbon development, which would detract from the distinctive setting and character of local settlements.
- The settings to historic features, such as raths and estate landscapes, should be protected from development.
- Planting native species around houses, instead of exotic coniferous species, would ensure that new developments fit more comfortably into the landscape.