Hockley Viaduct built in 1880, carried trains over the River Itchen and the watermeadows. Troops were transported on the viaduct on D-Day in 1944.*
Twyford is included in the South Downs National Park because of the quality of its heritage, ecology and landscape. Because the whole parish is part of the National Park, our environment is given national importance with the obligation to protect its natural beauty. The National Park status gives it the highest level of protection from most development.
The history of Twyford is astonishingly rich, varied and ancient; this is evident in its historic landscape. It enjoys important natural benefits like the ample and constant water of the Itchen river and the fertile soil and natural woodland. These are the basic ingredients of a settled agricultural life and a key foundation for the prosperity of Twyford.
The village also sits astride lines of communication. The east-west axis was created first, via the fords of the Itchen leading to the ridgeways. Later, north-south routes became important, connecting the interior of the country with the south coast and its many ports. A number of roads, the river navigation and the railway line still run in a narrow 500 m corridor through the parish and remain dominant features of the landscape.
Twyford is, of course, close to Winchester, a city for nearly 2000 years and capital of England from around 900 to 1200. In its day (and before the Black Death), Winchester was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in Europe. For much of that time Winchester was dependent on the produce of its surrounding villages, of which Twyford was always the most productive. Twyford was a valuable manor of the Bishop of Winchester from Saxon times to 1552, and the detailed records of its management from 1108 onwards are recorded in the Pipe Rolls.
Twyford shows evidence of continuous occupation, perhaps as far back as the Bronze Age (2000 BC). The church is thought to stand on a ritual place of the Iron Age (1200 BC). There is a Roman villa in Park Lane and recent excavations in the grounds of Twyford School revealed an early Saxon cemetery.
There are seven ancient monuments within the parish, from a Bronze Age barrow to the 20th century pumping station, and around 70 listed buildings dating from the 14th to the 19th Centuries. There are several fine mansions and grand houses with grounds, dating from the 1600s to the present day.
The village is in two parts: North Twyford is probably the earlier part whilst South Twyford was probably established later but before the Norman Conquest. The village runs north-south, parallel to the Itchen but generally above the valley floor except for some 19th century building in what is now the village centre. The ground rises steeply to the east of the village with some more modern building on higher ground.
There is an extensive conservation area which incorporates the older parts of the village, both north and south, and the surrounds of the fords of which there are three.
The character of the village is immensely varied and this is described in more detail in the TWYFORD CHARACTER ASSESSMENT.
Twyford Waterworks is an Edwardian pumping station on Hazeley Road which enjoys the status of Scheduled Ancient Monument
Twyford Heritage map – click to enlarge
River Itchen between Compton Lock and Hockley*
Twyford’s ecology is of national and international importance in its own right, both for the species it supports and for their habitats.
The River Itchen is a chalk stream of exceptional quality, it is a salmon river, otters live along it and it is home to specialized and rare insects and plant communities. Because of this, the water courses and much of the water meadows are subject to European and national designations.
Twyford has several areas of biologically rich downland. Where the chalk downland turf has survived without ploughing and is nutrient poor, it supports a much more diverse and numerous flora than cultivated land. This in turn is the habitat of many types of rare butterfly. In the parish the best areas are the SSSIs of Twyford Down (a nature reserve with St Catherine’s Hill) and the dongas on the Morestead Road and Hockley Golf Course and Watley Down.
There are ancient woodlands at Gabriel’s Copse, Cockscomb Hill Copse, Roundbushes Copse and Hazeley Copse, all of which are designated as Sites of Nature Conservation Interest.
The small fields, open spaces and large gardens around and in the village provide additional habitat and form buffers with human activity.
There are several schemes for the protection and enhancement of key existing habitats in the parish. These are mostly the initiative of the Environment Agency (where water is involved) and DEFRA working through Natural England. Both Agencies grant aid to landowners and the local communities, and are assisted in land management by Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust and the South Downs National Park. Twyford Parish Council is directly involved in this effort through their ownership of the Meads and of Berry Meadow which are part of the Itchen floodplain.
Tumbling Bay on the River Itchen*
Twyford Flood Zones – click to enlarge
Twyford Biodiversity – click to enlarge
Biodiversity Action Plan – click to enlarge
The protection and enhancement of Twyford’s landscape is a primary objective of the Neighbourhood Plan, taking its lead from the South Downs National Park.
Twyford is included in the national park because its topography and historic landscape exhibit the key features of the South Downs - extensive farmed chalk hills with long horizons and small intimate valleys with the village low down close to the river.
Twyford is at the extreme western end of the South Downs National Park and acts a gateway to it. It also forms, with other land outside the National Park, the setting of the historic city of Winchester at its most sensitive southern end. The western and south-western parts of the parish separate the village from the neighbouring but distinct settlements of Colden Common and Shawford and Compton.
The landscape of Twyford is seen and enjoyed by many thousands of people daily as they pass through on the exceptionally busy roads and by those using the train. This is in addition to those living and working in Twyford and the surrounding villages. It is also seen from the extensive and well used footpath network which provides views into the parish from many vantage points.
The Parish Council has commissioned a full study of the landscape of the Parish and the suitabilityof sites for housing as key pieces of evidence for the Neighbourhood Plan. The reports by Terra Firma build on earlier studies by Winchester City Council and by Hampshire County Council and others, and by Land Use Consultants for the National Park Authority. Click LANDSCAPE ASSESSMENT and HOUSING SITE ASSESSMENTS to see Terra Firrma's reports.
Acquifer Protection Zones – click to enlarge
The water environment and air and noise pollution
The water environment - in particular, flooding, water abstraction and pollution control are also factors which need to be considered in development of Neighbourhood Plan policies along with air and noise control.
The chalk aquifer at Hazeley is an important source of drinking water for Eastleigh and Southampton. The adjoining map show the extent of the aquifer protection zone within the parish. Much of the parish is in a nitrate sensitive zone.
Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Sept 2017
As part of a review of flood risk along Hazeley Road, reports on the 2000-2001 and 2014 floods were gathered. Photos of the 2014 floods were also obtained together with a map showing the extent of flooding on both occasions and the extent of Environmental Agency Flood Risk Zones. These can all be viewed and/or downloaded (see adjacent map and related links below).
With the aid of the above evidence, HCC undertook a desk study in July 2017 to determine if mitigation measures could be put in place, with government funding, to reduce the risk of flooding in the village centre. The study identified two options suitable for further investigation but concluded that the benefits versus costs were insufficient to justify national funding. The HCC report can be viewed HERE or via "Related Links" below.
Flood Risk Map – click to enlarge
Flood Alleviation Proposals - Report
Flood Alleviation Proposals Report June 2019
Since reducing flood risk is now a policy in the Neighbourhood Plan and mitigation measures could possibly be implemented as part of any development of Site 26, the Parish Council decided to further investigate the two options recommended by HCC in their report of 2017 and appointed engineering consultants Mayer Brown to undertake this work.
The scope of the study comprised an analysis of the Winterborne (its existing route and flood impact); assessment of the existing drainage network (condition and capacity); identification of potential improvements to the drainage network to alleviate flooding; measures to manage flood flows should they still occur and potential cost of feasible improvements.
The study identified several areas (some critical) where repairs are required to the existing network. These have been accepted as necessary by HCC as the drainage authority responsible for maintaining the existing network and they have already commenced further investigations and committed to undertaking repair work. The study also recommended measures to improve the system.
The necessary repairs will increase the existing capacity by between 232% and 280% and the proposed improvements would provide an additional 159% capacity thereby significantly reducing the impact on the village centre of flood events.
The cost of the all the improvements (excluding repairs) will be approximately £397,000.
The full report can be viewed by clicking on the adjacent icon. The drawings which are included in the report can also be viewed separately by clicking on the links below.
Habitat Regulations Assesment (HRA)
The Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) is a companion report to the Strategic Assessment of the TNP summarised on the “Home” page of the website.
The objective of this HRA undertaken by an independant consultant appointed by SDNPA, was to identify if any particular site allocations and/or policies had the potential to cause an adverse effect on the integrity of Natura 2000 or European designated sites (Special Areas of Conservation, SACs, Special Protection Areas, SPAs, and Ramsar sites designated under the Ramsar convention), either in isolation or in combination with other plans and projects, and to determine whether site specific mitigation measures were required to ensure no adverse effect on site integrity results.
The HRA specifically examined impacts of the Pre-Submission Draft of the TNP on the River Itchen Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It confirmed the TNP proposals as satisfactory but recommended some additional wording in the policies which have been accepted and are incorpoated in the Pre-Submission Draft of the Neighbourhood Plan. The full HRA report can be viewed by clicking on the adjacent icon.
Habitat Regulations Assessment
River Itchen SSSI Description Coloured blue on Biodiversity Action Plan
Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCS) See Twyford Biodiversity map above