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The English Landscape: A CPRE lecture with Nicholas Crane

The English Landscape: A CPRE lecture with Nicholas Crane

On Wednesday 24 May 2017 we were joined by Nicholas Crane for a CPRE lecture on his latest book, The Making of the British Landscape. Nick led a discussion into the past, present and future of the English landscape - from 1926 to 2026 - during this critical moment for UK environmental policy.

The event included a lecture with Nicholas Crane, panel debate with Nicholas Crane and Anna Pavord and a Q&A session. The evening was chaired by CPRE chief executive, Shaun Spiers - his final public appearance for CPRE before he begins his new role at Green Alliance.

We broadcast the event live on Facebook, but if you missed it you can catch up with the events of the evening here:


The Making of the British Landscape

What makes Britain’s landscape so special? It is certainly more than just ‘the view’. What turns land into landscape is our perception of a place, combining how we appreciate its aesthetic qualities – its patterns, colours, smells, textures and sounds – and the associations we attach to them, such as memories, feelings of familiarity or a sense of awe. The relationship between people, place and nature is the ever-changing backdrop to our daily lives. 

Over the centuries writers, artists, and others have described and enthused about Britain’s landscapes. They have linked them with the social and economic practices of the period, successfully describing and articulating what is special about our landscapes, whether urban, rural, or somewhere in between. Importantly, they illustrated what makes one landscape so different from another, each with their own distinctive character and sense of place. 

To quote Nicholas’s book: “The British landscape has been continuously occupied by humans for 12,000 years, from the end of the Ice Age to the twenty-first century. It has been transformed from a European peninsula of glacier and tundra to an island of glittering cities and exquisite countryside.

“In this geographical journey through time, we discover the ancient relationship between people and place and the deep-rooted tensions between town and countryside.

“The twin drivers of landscape change - climate and population - have arguably wielded as much influence on our habitat as monarchs and politics. From tsunamis and farming to Roman debacles and industrial cataclysms, from henge to high-rise and hamlet to metropolis, this is a book about change and adaptation. As Britain lurches from an exploitative past towards a more sustainable future, this is the story of our age.”

About the speakers

Nicholas CraneNicholas Crane, author and broadcaster

Nick's books and TV films explore geographical themes. In recent years, he has become best known for presenting the BBC2 TV series Coast, Map Man, Great British Journeys, Nicholas Crane’s Britannia and Town. His books include Clear Waters Rising, Two Degrees West and Mercator: The Man Who Mapped the Planet.

Nick’s most recent book, The Making of the British Landscape (October, 2016) has been praised by the critics as ‘Ambitious, magnificent’ (Guardian); ‘Storytelling at its best’ (The Times); ‘A tour de force’ (Daily Mail); ‘simultaneously scholarly, lyrical and moving.’ (New Statesman); ‘A geographer’s love letter to the British and the land that formed them’ (Sunday Times).

Nick is currently President of the Royal Geographical Society.

anna pavord 1468986cAnna Pavord, author and gardening correspondent for The Independent

Anna Pavord's books include her bestseller, The Tulip, The Naming of Names and her most recent work, Landskipping. Her column in the Independent newspaper ran from the paper’s launch in 1986 and for many years she was an Associate Editor of the magazine Gardens Illustrated. She served for ten years on the Gardens Panel of the National Trust, the last five as chairman. She also served three 3-year terms on English Heritage's Parks and Gardens Panel. In 2001 she was awarded the Gold Veitch medal from the Royal Horticultural Society. For more than 40 years she has lived in Dorset where she gardens on a steep sunny slope among arisaemas and magnolias.  

We will be broadcasting the event live from London via Facebook - tune in from 6.15pm, Wednesday 24 May 2017.

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