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Cheshire is composed of market towns, villages and hamlets. The historic city of Chester represents the administrative centre and is one of the counties largest conurbation’s. Cheshire is well known for it’s black and white buildings, it’s sandstone and it’s gritstone which help to create a landscape that evokes a sense of locality and distinctiveness.

The soils of Cheshire are directly related to the underlying rocks and sediments. Most of the county is underlain by red Triassic sandstone and this gives rise to a sandy soil as on the Sandstone Trail. However, in places the glacial sediments above these sandstones, have produced different types of soils depending on whether those sediments were a result of ice deposition, lake accumulations of organic material i.e. peat or wind blown sediments. This leads to a rich diversity of soils in Cheshire creating a fertile base for agriculture, tourism and biodiversity.

The Cheshire region has a distinctive and nationally important geodiversity. Geodiversity is the variety of soils, rocks, fossils and minerals as well as natural processes such as river processes, which are present throughout the whole county. This is obvious in the rich red colour of the rocks, soils, building stone and boundary walls. Geodiversity permeates every aspect of our lives. We use the resources, live on and travel across the land and end our days within it. The character of Cheshire is determined by its geodiversity and we must safeguard it for its intrinsic value, its ecological value, its resource or economic value and for its (geo) heritage value.

The most important landscapes in Cheshire have been designated as Areas of Special County Value (ASCV) in order to protect them from development which would adversely affect their character or the features they contain. In Cheshire, there are 15 ASCVs, designated because of their landscape quality.

There are over 5,000 listed buildings in Cheshire, of which over 100 are of exceptional interest, or grade I. There are around 160 built heritage conservation areas, over 5,000 sites of archaeological interest and 239 Scheduled Monuments across the county.

The County Sites and Monuments Record (CSMR) currently holds over 5,000 records ranging in date from the prehistoric period to the post medieval period. The CSMR includes information on earthworks, standing buildings or structures (including all pre-1700 Listed buildings), isolated finds and sites which are no longer visible. The main purpose of the CSMR is the protection of the County’s archaeological resource.