Green Books Campaign: The Making of the British Landscape

As part of the Eco-Libris Green Books campaign I was passed Francis Pryor’s latest book to review…

’This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on “green” books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website

The making of the British landscape

Buy this book and let Francis Pryor take you on a whistle stop tour (albeit in nearly 800 pages of Forest Stewardship Council certified paper) of the British landscape, pointing out the factors that have influenced its current formation as you go. This is a book that aims to help you understand the impact of human activity on the landscape that overlays the epochingly slow evolution of the underlying geology.

Landscapes are an expression of the here and now. But as I walk through them I am constantly reminded of their diverse histories by numerous and always unexpected clues.

Thus the book starts around 10,000 years ago, just after the last ice age and takes us on a journey to the present. Frances guides us with an insightful, informative, detailed but rarely dull voice. (Take a breath before we set off, you’ll need it) As we journey from the past to the present we consider the human influences and activities that have left their marks on the landscape around us – Neolithic burial mounds, woodland clearance and the establishment of Britain’s moorland, stone circles, iron age hill forts, the Romans and their enduring roads, Dark Age centres of production and the origin of towns, then Saxon churches, the Normans and the development of castles, parklands and hunting parks, the open field system, market towns and fairs in the Middle Ages, post-medieval enclosure and farming, the draining of the fens, drovers roads, ‘polite’ landscapes and spa resorts, the industrial revolution, turnpikes and canals, ‘high’ farming, shooting estates and Victorian gardens, parks and follies, trains and heavy industry then wars, ramblers and new towns, airports and finally the age of the car (phew!).

All in all a great read, one that pulls together strands of knowledge you already have, augments them with the previously unknown and leads you to a greater understanding of the British landscape and its formation.

The Making of the British Landscape: How We Have Transformed the Land, from Prehistory to Today by Francis Pryor






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