The Coastal Landscape


Community Workshop - Unlocking the Landscape

We know quite a lot about the landscape, nature, history and archaeology from an academic perspective and, until now, have not tried to capture local views. Using a methodology developed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) we held a series of community workshops and a schools workshop to find out what a cross-section of local interest groups really think about the landscape.

The meetings were lively and productive with about 30 people taking part in groups of up to eight people. A specialist consultancy, Countryscape, was commissioned to run the workshops and to present summary reports. The technique used is called mind-mapping.

Mind-mapping is a proven and widely accessible technique for collating information from a diverse group of stakeholders. It allows people to think freely, without immediate judgement and encourages everyone to share their views. This community engagement methodology is repeatable and could be used at 5 and 10 year intervals to monitor the impact of the Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership Scheme in terms of community engagement and how it is meeting its aims.


The mind maps were divided into six 'branches' to enable a structured process, the branches were:

  • Wildlife and nature
  • History
  • Activities
  • Local Economy
  • Experiences
  • Patterns and features

    The participants used colour coded 'leaves' to respond to three questions:

  • "What do you value most about the local landscape - what is important, unique, or special?"
  • "What are your visions for the future of the landscape? What needs be changed or protected; what new projects or ideas can you suggest?"
  • "What is at risk; what needs to be protected and what challenges do we face?"

    The workshop reports have helped to identify our audiences, the development of a landscape strategy and make a statement about landscape character. The summary reports have value well beyond the current landscape study and can help local and parish Councils, local authority officers, Civic Societies and others with grass-roots consultation on values about the local environment.

    The reports are available as PDF documents below.

    Report of the Crosby and Hightown workshop
    Report of the Formby and Ainsdale workshop
    Report of the Southport and Birkdale workshop
    Report of the Formby High School workshop