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  Repton - historic capital of Mercia


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2. The Landscape Setting of the Settlements


Situated in rolling, predominantly arable, countryside rising from the flood plain on the southern side of the River Trent, Repton is located on the northern edge of the National Forest area.  Many of the local fields have ancient names handed down over the years.

Repton is a linear village, with its main axis running roughly south-east to north-west, following the line of the gentle valley formed by the Repton Brook, as it flows northwards into the Trent.  The general layout of the village can still seen to be closely based on the layout defined in medieval times.  There is little building on the ridges and skylines with the exception of Burton Road and Mount Pleasant.  Less than a mile to the east, over a ridge, lies the smaller linear hamlet of Milton.  However the separation of Repton and Milton has been eroded by the building of 148 dwellings between Milton Road and Mount Pleasant behind Springfield Road.  These developments were granted even though they were outside the existing village envelope, due to the lack of an adopted Local Plan, and are against our first guideline saying the separation between the communities should be maintained.

The principal thoroughfare, and main traffic route through Repton, is the High Street and Main Street, extending over a mile in length. There are two focal points along the way; firstly, at the ancient Market Cross, near to the Church and Priory, where four main roads meet and, secondly, at the Square, which has a minor cross-road.

Trees are numerous in Repton and the valley in which it sits, with oak, beech, ash, sweet chestnut, horse chestnut, alder and willow particularly well represented.  Along the banks of Repton Brook there is one remaining osier bed, towards the southern end of Main Street.  In 1999, on an adjacent 12-acre hillside site south of Repton, the Woodland Trust established Sledge Wood, a new plantation of broad-leaf native trees. The abundance of trees and the existence of an old field structure of hedgerows, together with wetland areas near Repton Brook, provide an invaluable habitat supporting a wide variety of wildlife.

Edges and Approaches

The northern boundary of Repton is well defined, being on a low escarpment above the Trent washlands. The approach to Repton across the river from Willington affords a view of the fine spire of St Wystan's Parish Church, and the old buildings of Repton School. There is also an unattractive modern telephone exchange, only partially screened by trees and the imposing, architect designed, early 20th century sports hall.   Adjacent is a complex of modern school buildings including a swimming pool, squash courts and all-weather pitches. A recent addition is a modern stone-faced Science Priory, whose size and location make it visually imposing.

Western and southern approaches from Newton Solney and Hartshorne both pass through rolling countryside, the former over the crest of a hill and the latter along the valley of Repton Brook.  On entering the outskirts of the village, the two approaches are characterised by long stretches of road which are built-up on one side only, the other side being open to either arable and pasture land, or hillsides and woodland.  This forms part of the character of the village.

The Eastern road, from Milton, is also open in aspect and contains some attractive buildings in Warren House and the terraced dwellings at 3 –17 Milton Road.  The open aspect has been eroded by the new development above the Primary School.

The Cross - Repton

Landscape in the Village

The village has a clearly defined shape and size, partly controlled by the development boundary (previously known as the Village Envelope and now referred to as the ‘Village Confines’ in the South Derbyshire District Council’s Local Plan).  The demand for housing in Repton has meant that the only available new building plots have been inside this village boundary, by infilling pockets of back-land, by building on open spaces, or by the redevelopment of existing buildings.

Within the confines of the village, the remaining five significant open spaces have either full or partial public access, particularly by the many footpaths, often of medieval origin.  These include the field off Mitre Drive, which houses children’s play equipment and caters for scouting activities, Matthews’ Farm by the brook, and the adjoining spinney, Pinfold Lane triangle, Saxon Croft field, and The Crescent.  There are also extensive playing fields associated with Repton School.  All these green spaces, plus the numerous views out into the countryside that are glimpsed between buildings, combine to bring light and openness to the centre of the village, so necessary for the maintenance of a rural identity and form the lungs of the village and a refuge for wildlife.

Generally, the street signs and lighting are of standard designs, though a number of initiatives have been carried out (in the area of the Cross, Square and village entrances) to improve the character.  Often hard landscaping such as highway ‘improvements’ and kerbstones are not in keeping with the older buildings in the village, being made of modern materials.  Exceptions to this can be seen around the cross but this is in need of repair due to traffic damage and corrosion of the iron in the actual cross structure.


Milton is a totally separate community from Repton.  It does not have the services and facilities found in Repton and therefore the planning policies affecting it are different. 

The settlement lies in a shallow valley along the westerly side of its neighbouring brook.  There are several gaps between buildings that are an important characteristic of the hamlet and give views to the countryside for residents and users of the many footpaths.  There is no building on the ridges and skylines in the main core of the settlement, which is contained by two road junctions; to the North to Repton or Foremark and to the South to Mount Pleasant or Ticknall.  All approaches to the hamlet are lined with mature trees, grass verges and hedges and there is a pavement to Repton.

As well as the many grass verges there is a distinctive open space at the junction with Mount Pleasant, known as the village green, which is planted with trees and bulbs.    There is also a wide pavement outside the Swan Public House and The Hollies farm conversion.  The wide grass verge, stone walls and adjacent orchard opposite the village hall enhance the open and rural aspect at the centre of the hamlet.

Main Street - Milton


The separation of Repton, Milton and Newton Solney should be maintained, so the individual identity of each community is not lost.

The approaches and entrances to Repton should retain their open nature with development restricted to one side of the road.

High-density developments on the edge of the villages are to be avoided to preserve the traditional open approaches to the settlements.

Open spaces have been built upon (e.g. Saxon Croft) and it is important to retain the remainder (e.g. The Crescent, Matthew’s Farm and similar spaces) in order to preserve the character of the village.

New buildings or extensions should not encroach significantly, visually or physically, upon open spaces or fill gaps that afford views of the surrounding landscape and rural skyline.

Signs, lighting, street furniture and hard landscaping should complement, not intrude on, the character of the locality.

New developments should include open spaces and play areas. 

Tree planting should be encouraged where it will soften and help to integrate new developments.

Existing public land and roadsides should be improved by naturalistic planting of trees, shrubs and flowers where they add to the character of the area.

Developments and alterations that adversely affect the well-being of wildlife should be avoided.  It is essential that habitats and areas which are environmentally significant be protected and ecological diversity maintained.

Where new developments are undertaken, footpaths should be incorporated whenever possible.

Alterations to the landscape should retain the local character through the use of local stone, bricks, tiling and paving where appropriate.

Developments requiring significant movements of large vehicles through the settlements must take into consideration the impact on the character of the area as well as safety, noise and environmental aspects.

The names of developments should relate to the history of the immediate locality.

The Arch - Repton

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