The rolling upland landscape of the chalk downs & the rivers & valleys of the Avon, Wylye, Nadder, Bourne & Ebble are dominant features in the area forming a very attractive & distinctive landscape. The valleys form the main routes for communication & settlement, contrasting with the sparsely populated tops of the downs. A large part of the area falls within the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) & it is also important to note that the clear waters of the chalk rivers are of international significance for their rarity & species diversity.
In more urban environments landscape setting also varies. In Salisbury the landscape makes a significant contribution to the character of the place with the rivers coming together & flowing through the city centre. There are magnificent views across the area from the chalk downs which surround the city, & there are parks & green spaces, the lawns of the Cathedral Close, street trees, water meadows, woodlands & private gardens as well as public squares all of which are important components of the urban fabric.