An introduction to sense of place

Welcome to the Sense of Place Toolkit: a resource for helping you to get the most out of being in Greensand Country.

Your business, community group or organisation is located in a special landscape surrounded by some of the best-loved and most beautiful countryside in England. It is the distinctive landscape of Greensand Country that helps to attract residents, visitors and employers to the area. This Toolkit is an aid to your own marketing activity and is designed to help you draw upon the special qualities of Greensand Country in how you promote your services and engage with customers. In doing so, your business or organisation can become more competitive, more attractive and better connected with local networks.

Horse riding in Greensand Country.

Greensand Country has a distinct identity or ‘sense of place’. This is especially important for local pride in the area. If visitors connect emotionally with a place they are more likely to develop an affinity for the area, which in turn means they are likely to spend more time there, spend more money, tell their friends about it and visit again in future. In this way, promoting a strong sense of place can benefit the local economy.

  • This toolkit aims to help you understand and promote Greensand Country’s sense of place in order to benefit your business or organisation and help build a strong brand for the area.
  • As part of the development of this toolkit, a consultation was carried out with local people and visitors to understand Greensand Country’s sense of place and what gives the area its identity. Many of the suggestions from the consultation have been used in the toolkit to provide your customers with personal recommendations.
  • The Toolkit is exclusive to Greensand Country Supporters and all content (text and images) is royalty-free and available for you to use however you choose. So dive in and get started!

What is ‘sense of place’?

A ‘sense of place’ is the term used to describe the emotions and experiences we associate with places. It’s how places make us feel.

A sense of place is what gives an area its identity and makes it different from elsewhere. It is made up of the different landscapes, wildlife, history, people, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, memories and many other things that contribute to our experience of a place. It changes when we travel from home to work, or from the city to the countryside, or when visiting familiar or new places. One way of understanding it is to think about how you might describe the area where you live – which words would you use, what would you focus on, how does it make you feel when you picture it in your mind? That’s a sense of place.

How is this relevant to me?

A sense of place can influence the choices we make over where to live, work and spend our holidays. It can influence the value we place on products and services offered by businesses. It contributes to our culture and the identities of local communities. It can even impact on people’s health and quality of life.

Everyone has their own understanding of sense of place, whether they use the term or not. If you are an individual with an interest in the local area, or you belong to a community group, business or organisation, then the more you develop an understanding of your area the more you will appreciate its qualities. This can benefit you and your community in a number of ways.
For example it can:

  • Help bring communities together and connect people with the landscape
  • Add value to local products and services and help businesses develop new products
  • Provide inspiration for education and the creative arts
  • Improve the ‘welcome’ and local knowledge offered by tourism staff
  • Strengthen the identity or ‘brand’ of an area by encouraging different groups to work together in promoting its special qualities