The Making of the British Landscape – Book Review

The landscape we see today is the result of centuries of use.  It is forever changing and reading the landscape highlights the history that has gone before.  Francis Pryor is an expert in this activity, and this book is a fascinating introduction to the subject. 

It shows how to unlock the clues which tell the history of Britain and how people have lived on this island for millions of years. 

He takes an encyclopedic look at history and links it clearly into the development of the landscape.  From patterns of trade and commerce, warfare and politics to  reading the undulating folds left by the three field system and finding the strips left by medieval farmers, Pryor sets out the picture clearly and succinctly.  The Norfolk Broads may look natural – but as Pryor points out, they are actually man made formed when medieval peat diggings were flooded. 

Then there are the ceremonial landscapes particularly Stonehenge and Avebury; as well as the impact of the railways and canals.  This is a fascinating look at history by understanding the landscape around us. 

It will be much appreciated by anyone interested in history or archeology.  At 700 plus pages, it is not light reading, but is extremely detailed and worth every penny.