chapter  6
9 Pages

Preserving the Countryside

THE English rural landscape has been so altered by man through the centuries that there is little which can now be described as natural. The Romans found a landscape covered with forests on which they made relatively little permanent impression with the exception of their system of metalled roads. During the Saxon period the hillsides and much of the thickly-wooded foothills were cleared and brought under cultivation. The Normans established manors which were largely self-contained farming communities; these wrought still greater changes in turning waste and woodland to arable and pastoral usage. With the seventeenth century came enclosures and in our own time the countryside has suffered urban sprawl.