Tranquillity is an elusive quality, which is beautifully depicted in Samuel Palmer’s ‘Cornfield by Moonlight’. It has always been an important quality of rural landscapes. With much of the area of the Darent Valley designated and protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, tranquil experiences are part of what draws both residents and visitors to the area. These experiences are increasingly sought after as they provide an escape from increasingly stressful urban lives. These places of rural refuge are important for maintaining the overall health of the inhabitants of the Valley and part of our work on the Landscape Partnership will be to record tranquillity so that this can inform future management decisions.
The Darent Valley is only a few miles from the edge of London and due to this proximity to major urban areas, the area faces challenges to landscape management. These are exacerbated by growing visitor numbers and ultimately have the potential to threaten the essence of tranquillity across the area.