The site is located on the edge of Oxford on an area of low-lying ground. Further to the south and east the ground level rises to a ridge on which the villages of Garsington and Toot Baldon are located.
There are significant urban features on the southern edge of Oxford that influence the character of the site. These features include the Oxford Science Park, Kassam Stadium, the Sewage Treatment Works, electricity pylons and sub-station as well as roads and housing in Blackbird Leys.
These features mean that the character of the site is not exclusively rural, despite its largely agricultural use, but reflects the nature of the adjoining urban area.
A detailed appraisal of visual amenity in the area has been undertaken from local public rights of way and other routes through the local landscape.
The visual appraisal has found that views of the site are limited by the character of the site and local features including: the adjacent urban development, surrounding higher ground, changes in levels within the site and presence of trees and hedgerows. Consequently, only parts of the site are visible at any one viewpoint.
From most viewpoints, the urban character of the edge of Oxford has an adverse effect on the views of the area and its scenic quality. For example, tower blocks within Blackbird Leys and overhead cables can be seen from the Thames Path.
There are some elevated views towards the site from ‘middle distance’ viewpoints around Garsington and Toot Baldon.
The site does not contain any historic features that have been identified as being of importance. In the wider area, there are historic features of acknowledged importance including listed buildings located predominantly in the surrounding settlements and also in some isolated farmsteads. Some of the local settlements also contain Conservation Areas, for example at Garsington and Toot Baldon.
Previous investigations have identified the presence of archaeological finds to the north and south west of the site from the Iron Age, Romano-British and Anglo Saxon periods. The eastern boundary of the site is marked by the course of a former Roman road.
A range of field studies is being undertaken to assess the presence of archaeological finds within the site, including the use of geophysical survey and trial trenching. In the event that significant archaeological finds are found on the site a strategy will be devised to avoid, mitigate or offset the effects of development on these heritage assets.