Archive for May, 2016

The fight for beauty

Here is my column from June’s Countryman magazine.

Two terrific books on the history of landscape conservation have just been published.

I will write about 22 Ideas that Saved the English Countryside by Peter Waine and Oliver Hilliam in a future column. For those curious, the title owes a debt to an article in the Spectator which noted that CPRE was founded with 22 constituent bodies: “twenty-two – the length of a chain or cricket pitch, the unit of the square acre – is quite the most English of all numbers.”

The other book is The Fight for Beauty by Fiona Reynolds, who led in turn the Campaign for National Parks, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the National Trust. It is a book fizzing with ideas and passion, the product of deep experience. Continue reading ‘The fight for beauty’

Whose land is our land?

This is my May Countryman column.

The Land Question once dominated UK politics. “Who ordained that the few should have the land of Britain as a perquisite”, asked Lloyd George in 1909; “who made 10,000 people owners of the soil, and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth?” The right to roam makes it less likely that we will be trespassers on the land, but land ownership has not grown more equal since 1909.

Land ownership is a particular problem for anyone wanting to get into farming. Continue reading ‘Whose land is our land?’