Mapping Scotland's wildness and wild land
Scottish Natural Heritage published a new map of wild land areas in June 2014. This supersedes our earlier maps which identified 'Search areas for wild land' in 2002, and 'Core areas of wild land' in 2013.
Wild land areas are the most extensive areas of high wildness. They are identified as nationally important in Scottish Planning Policy, but are not a statutory designation. The areas have been identified following a consultation in 2013 on our Core areas of wild land map (responses and an analysis of these can be viewed online). This informed the preparation of the new map and our advice to Government .
The 42 wild land areas can be viewed in the map below (the GIS data can be downloaded from the SNHi Natural Spaces web page). Descriptions for each of these areas are currently being prepared (please note that draft descriptions have no formal status until finalised).
The wild land areas are the result of a three phase analysis.
- Phase I applied GIS analysis to map the relative wildness of all of Scotland, using four physical attributes: perceived naturalness, rugged or challenging terrain, remoteness from public mechanised access, and visible lack of built development and other modern artefacts.
- Phase II analysed the data to identify the largest and most wild areas (producing a long list of possible areas of wild land).
- Phase III used informed judgement to select wild land, and define their extent.
Our approach is outlined below, with more detail provided in this methodology .
Phase I - How have we mapped wildness?
Wildness is a quality experienced by people when visiting places of a certain character. Measuring wildness is inherently difficult, as people respond differently according to their personal experience and their expectations of a place. However, we consider wildness depends on four physical attributes being present, which can be measured and mapped (standard and colour defective vision versions of the maps can be downloaded below).
- The perceived naturalness of the land cover (April 2014) - map 2.6 Mb (Colour defective vision version of map - 2.6 Mb )
- The ruggedness of the terrain which is therefore challenging to cross (April 2014) - map 3.1 Mb (Colour defective vision version of map 3.1 Mb )
- Remoteness from public roads, ferries or railway stations (April 2014) - map 5.4 Mb (Colour defective vision version of map 4.6 Mb )
- The visible lack of buildings, roads, pylons and other modern artefacts (April 2014) - map 3.5 Mb (Colour defective vision version of map 3.6 Mb )
The data on these maps can be downloaded from the SNHi Natural Spaces web page.
Phase II and III - How have we identified wild land areas
Phase II analysed the scores of relative wildness identified in Phase I, to determine distinct classes of wildness using a statistical technique called 'natural breaks'. The largest areas with the classes of the highest scores were identified.
Phase III applied informed judgement to confirm which of the areas identified by Phase II merited selection as an area of wild land character. This took account of the known limitations with the GIS analysis, such as structures consented or built since the analysis was undertaken. Areas were defined to encompass contiguous blocks of land of the highest wildness.
The wild land areas identified and selected by Phase III can be downloaded from the SNHi Natural Spaces web page.
If you have any further questions on this work please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated on Wednesday 10th February 2016 at 10:22 AM. Click here to comment on this page