I hadn’t heard of the National Character Area (NCA) profiles until last year. There are 159 of them, and they describe in some detail areas of England that ‘share similar landscape characteristics, and follow natural lines in the landscape rather than administrative boundaries’. Natural England, their custodians, are in the process of revising them, and chose Accuracy Matters to copyedit the main sections of the first tranche. And we’ve just won a second tender contest for the next batch. We’re pretty thrilled about that!
The profiles cover, among other aspects, the key features, history and geology of the NCA in question and, if you’re planning a visit or are otherwise interested, you could do a lot worse than go to them for a pen portrait. They do also have a more technical side, to do with ecosystem services and the contribution that the NCA makes to these services (and could do in the future if folks do the right things) – very crudely, the concept that nature has an economic value and that, however hard (or even impossible) that is to quantify, it certainly matters.
If it’s an area that you know the profiles can certainly bring back memories. I’ve had a few Proustian moments while editing them, though it’s been more the smell of fish and chips than anything as dainty as a madeleine. They’ve corrected a few recollections, as well. I had always been convinced that I’d been on a primary school trip to Lundy but, working on the profile, I pretty quickly realised that this was completely impossible, even in the days before people risk assessed these things. Must have been a different island. Or possibly an island in my head. Anyway, now I want to go there.
The basic task is no different from anything else that we do, ensuring as best we can that the author’s hard work isn’t compromised by errors – but it is an occasionally guilty pleasure to be able to work on such interesting material.