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The Durham County Council Archaeology Service will be moving office on 6 March 2023.

Please see Historic Environment Record for more information.

Historic landscape characterisation

Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) builds a picture of how an area changes over time, and is a way of understanding and managing the historical identity of a place.

HLC is a process led by English Heritage. It uses old and modern maps, along with aerial photographs and other data to build up a picture of the development of areas over time.

Characterising County Durham and Darlington

The HLC is now available as an interactive map 'layer' consisting of thousands of interlinked 'jigsaw pieces' completely covering all of County Durham and Darlington.

Each 'jigsaw piece' represents an area which has a specific historic character and has information on the current landscape character of that area and on any previous landscape characters through the interactive links.

The data is curated by the Historic Environment Record (HER), and is also available for consultation through the HER, by appointment.

HER Search requests should specify if they want the HLC data as part of the search, as it will not be sent out as routine.

Using the HLC - a resource for all

HLC is for everyone: local history groups getting background information on any research they may be doing; individuals undertaking private research - you may just want to browse the HLC to understand more about the landscape you live in.

The interactive map makes it readily and easily available for use by schools, libraries, museums and other outreach organisations, such as community partnerships, as a springboard for further research and initiatives.

Contact us
03000 267 013
Our address is:
  • Heritage, Landscape and Design
  • Regeneration and Economic Development
  • 5th Floor, County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ