Trafford Landscape Strategy

Trafford Unitary Development Plan Justification

2.6 The Council has completed a Landscape Assessment of the Borough’s open land and has identified seven different landscape types that it wishes to seek to preserve and enhance by means of this Proposal. The seven Landscape Types are: -

  • Wooded Claylands - Timperley Wedge and open areas adjacent to River Bollin

  • Wooded Estate lands - centred around the Dunham Massey Estate

  • Settled Sandlands - Dunham and Warburton

  • Mossland - Carrington Moss

  • River Meadowlands – low-lying areas of the River Bollin and Mersey

  • Wooded River Valley - east section of the River Bollin from M56 to A56

  • Urban River Valley - Manchester Ship Canal and canalised River Mersey

Character assessment

Key features

  • Flat topography associated with relic mossland

  • Dominant arable agricultural land use within a planned enclosure system and conspicuous drainage ditches around field areas

  • A rectilinear network of tracks around large scale fields, usually without fences and often emphasised by scrub-like vegetation and trees A lack of built development

  • A large scale landscape, with open views, especially to rural areas to the south


  • Development threatens the intrinsic scale and survival of the Mossland Character

  • Power lines create a significant visual intrusion within the area.

  • Planting to screen development undermining the traditional landscape pattern.

  • Loss of ecological habitats and species associated with agricultural intensification.

Policy Guidelines

  • Conserve the mossland character. Agricultural use should be encouraged as a way to maintain the traditional pattern.

  • Conserve and enhance the structure and appearance of the Mossland 'Rides' exploring opportunities for new planting and access.

  • Restore traditional ecological habitats including ditches, field boundaries, grassland management and establishment of wildflowers next to these.

  • Conserve and enhance the visual unity of the open aspect and views, mitigating the impact of existing and new power lines. The screening around the Petro Chemical works should be encouraged.

Landscape Character

Carrington Moss is situated to the east of Carrington, west of Ashton-on-Mersey, south of the Mersey Valley and north of Dunham and Warburton. It is also adjacent to the large Petro-Chemical works, which overshadow the rural areas and dominate the visual outlook.

The Mossland is fairly self-contained, although its southern sections share the same field size and shape as the adjoining Sandlands. Elsewhere the large scale, geometric field pattern, emphasised by drainage ditches, dominates the appearance of the area. The paths or tracks criss-crossing the area, known as 'Rides', are a distinguishing feature of the Mossland. They are generally widest and most dominant on a north-south alignment,

The Mossland has little tree or shrub vegetation, other than the trees, shrubs and scrub associated with these 'Rides'. This vegetation restrains views by foreshortening the more distant views and focusing views in a linear manner. Some tree planting exists on the boundary, particularly adjacent to the industrial works that creates an effective partial screen.

There are 2 woods on the edge of this area, Birchmoss Covert and Broadoak Wood. Otherwise the body of the Mossland area is used for intensive arable farming. The Mossland has distinctive steep sided ditches marking boundaries to fields and narrow areas of plants between ditch and hedgerow or banking to the 'Ride' or adjacent pathway on which grow herbaceous vegetation

Physical influences

The Mossland is generally flat, between approximately 20 to 22m. The geology comprises peat or mossland over fluvio-glacial sands and gravels, which in turn overly the solid Permo-Triassic bedrock. According to archaeological records it is thought that the Mossland began as a lake, left behind at the end of the last Ice Age. As the climate changed the lake became swamp, then mossland. Although the wet peaty soils of the Mossland prove fairly inhospitable in terms of settlement, the humic soils are valuable in terms of agriculture.

Historical and Cultural Influences

The Mossland itself forms perhaps the oldest remaining landscape feature in the Borough. It is invaluable archaeological evidence on how the landscape and climate has changed over the centuries. It is likely that the Mossland became recognised around the Medieval period onwards, firstly as a valuable source of additional food, such as wild fowl and game, secondly as pasture for cattle and thirdly for fuel in the form of dried peat. As well as simple drainage systems the ditches were originally created to define ownership in an otherwise featureless landscape and to demarcate parish or manor boundaries.

More structured drainage and enclosure of the Mossland area occurred later than in the surrounding areas, but had a significant impact by bringing into cultivation large areas of land. Produce from the moss was used to feed the growing population in nearby Manchester. Michael Nevell** states ''The reclamation of Carrington Moss in the 1880's was not driven by the desire for more agricultural land, but for somewhere to dump the night soil from Manchester''. As Manchester developed, Carrington Moss was offered as a place to dump the soil removed from the City. Material was transported by the Ship Canal, the Bridgewater Canal, by road and railway, some of the latter routes constructed specifically for this purpose. The Moss was later divided into a series of rectangular fields, divided by open drains. A series of crop rotation developed, which has remained.

The Mossland remains unsettled, apart from one isolated farmstead, Swiss Cottage and recently the establishment of a large football training facility. This training facility has been overlaid on the agricultural pattern of the Mossland, which remains important for its agricultural production. The Moss developed the network of grid-like tracks or ‘Rides’ as field boundaries were established 35 through one or combination of: - enclosures, field development, to define ownership, or to gain access across the Moss. They are designated as a Local Nature Conservation Sites (L.N.C.S.).

Pressures in the landscape

  • Development threatens the intrinsic scale and survival of the Mossland Character. Development within the Mossland continues to prove the greatest threat to the remaining Mossland Character. Over the previous century the Mossland has been reduced to such an extent that its very existence is now in the balance. Recent development has significantly reduced the scale of the remaining Mossland and created built form and land uses, which are not in keeping with the traditional landscape pattern. The result is a fragmentation of the Mossland Area, with remnant pockets of Mossland, particularly to the east of the Manchester United training ground facility.

  • Power lines create a significant visual intrusion within the area. Carrington substation has a proliferation of power lines which cross the Mossland. Any additional alignments would increase visual detractions in this area and further emphasise an urban appearance, with respective loss to the Mossland Character.

  • Planting to screen development undermining the traditional landscape pattern. Attempts have been made to integrate development into the Mossland area by buffer and screen planting generally located adjacent to the development. In some instances this planting itself is a stark contrast to the traditional landscape pattern, because either the species used are ornamental or alien, or the juxtaposition of the planting is intrusive in the landscape pattern.

  • Loss of ecological habitats and species associated with agricultural intensification. Pressure to increase food production has had a significant influence on the agricultural pattern within the Mossland. Originally the ditches would have been emphasised by the presence of grassland and herbaceous species. Recently there has been the tendency to increase the depth of ditches and reduce their widths to maximise arable production. This has resulted in a reduction of ecological habitats and ecological diversity on the edge of field areas, which are traditionally associated with the Mossland area. These are not only of local value, but are important as wildlife corridors to adjacent rural areas.

Strategy Statement

The characterising features include: the flat topography; agricultural land use; planned layout of rectilinear fields and tracks; the shrub-like vegetation and trees which define the ‘Rides’; and visual links to adjacent rural areas. These unique characteristics will be conserved, enhanced and strengthened as far as possible when considering any development proposals.

Policy Guidelines

  1. Conserve the mossland character

The flat topography with its regular, grid-like pattern, parallel ditches and linear vegetation are the key characteristics of the mossland.


          • Development should as far as possible conserve the mossland character.

          • Opportunities to conserve the land for agricultural purposes should be encouraged to maintain the traditional pattern.

  1. Conserve and enhance the structure and appearance of the Mossland 'Rides'

The Rides form an important part of the mosaic pattern of the area, defining areas of farmland and reflecting the traditional vegetation, for ecological and visual diversity.


          • Development should conserve and where appropriate enhance the structure of the Rides.

          • Opportunities to increase planting to the Rides should be encouraged.

          • Opportunities to soften the impact of new development should be encouraged, including screen planting, where appropriate.

          • Proposed planting should consist of native species, traditional to the area.

          • Opportunities to improve access and the use of traditional details should be encouraged.

  1. Restore traditional ecological habitats

The mossland ditches along field boundaries provide important areas of ecological value.


          • Opportunities to restore ditches and field boundaries should be encouraged.

          • Traditional grassland management techniques should be encouraged.

          • The establishment of traditional wildflowers, next to ditches and fields, should be encouraged.

  1. Conserve and enhance the visual unity

The open aspect and views, which extend into the adjacent areas, are important characteristics of the area.


          • Development should as far as possible conserve and enhance the visual unity of the area.

          • Measures to mitigate the impact of existing or proposed power lines should be encouraged.

          • Opportunities to strengthen foreground planting and screen planting of the Petro-Chemical works should be encouraged.