The British Landscape
“to care about a place, you must know its story”
I could just have easily posted these books under my section- ‘a library for geologists…‘, but they are both as much, if not more, about the people that inhabit a landscape. The two volumes look at a similar subject but approach and share it with the reader in different ways.
The first is very much a scholarly work, but don’t let that put you off. Nicholas Crane is an excellent writer and communicator who may visit again in this series of books from my library. I thoroughly recommend The Making of the British Landscape to just about anyone. The author is proficient in explaining meticulously researched detail in an accessible manner. It is a hefty volume, and all the better for it. Sub-titled ‘From the Ice Age to the Present’, that is an ambitious target and the bigger picture is broken down in to the step-changes that have shaped this country and its people.
“Our country is like a historical onion: layers and layers of human endeavour, overlaid and overgrown, but still visible”
I was unaware of Mary-Ann Ochota’s writing before I came to her ‘Spotter’s Guide‘. I had seen her co-presenting of Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ but it is mostly through reliance on her formal training in anthropology and archaeology that this book has been produced. It is a very accessible book that looks at big and noticeable features and then attempts to explain them, usually quite successfully in a series of chapters- Lumps and Bumps, Stones, Lines, and, In the Village.
Books in featured image:
The Making of the British Landscape, From the Ice Age to the Present. Nicholas Crane. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2016. ISBN 978 0 297 85666 5
Hidden Histories, a spotter’s guide to the British Landscape. Mary-Ann Ochota. Francis Lincoln, 2016. ISBN 978 0 7112 3692 9