Thursday 20 June 2013

Currently Reading: The Living Landscape

The Living Landscape
How to Read and Understand It
by Patrick Whitefield

Being able to read the landscape whilst on a walk makes a huge difference. It is like suddenly seeing the world in colour after being used to a lifetime of black and white. The Living Landscape looks in detail at landscape formation: from rocks, through soil to vegetation and the intricate web of interactions between plants, animals, climate and the people that makes the landscape around us. Each chapter is interspersed with diagrams, sketches and notes that Patrick has taken over two decades of living and working in the countryside. Patrick will inspire you to reconnect with the land as a living entity, not a collection of different scenery, and develop an active relationship with nature and the countryside. This book invites you to actively engage with nature and experience it first hand. Understanding how landscapes evolve is a useful skill for landscape designers, farmers, gardeners and smallholders but it is also a life-enhancing skill all of us can enjoy. Patrick offers us the enduring pleasure that costs nothing and yet offers everything.

I bought this totally by impulse while in browsing through Stanfords, London's most famous map shop, and took it with me to Herefordshire. By just the end of the first chapter I felt a much better understanding of the landscape around me(1).

(1) admittedly I was starting from a very low base here.


olracUK said...

Knowing why English country lanes are so bendy, turning at random right angles around fields instead of sticking to Roman straight lines would be useful.
Sounds like my line of book. Thanks for the tip. I spend a lot of time driving small roads, which probably explains my love of London walks.

Anonymous said...

So this leisure reading is presumably you having a little rest as 'Broken Homes' will be out in just over a month? Am counting the days ... and in the meantime, yup, *have* re-re-read the first three. Some people think me sad, but I don't care. At least one friend knows what I'm on about - having not seen her for about three years, one of the first things I asked her was if she'd read the books... which she had... and a pleasant time was had (much to the amusement of the other guests) interrupting each other with, "and how about when..." Thank you.

Anonymous said...

That looks like a most excellent book, I have read similar, Richard Fortey's "The Hidden Landscape", W G Hoskins "The Making of the English Landscape" and Oliver Rackham's "The History of the Countryside" are well worth a place on anybody's bookshelf, but I will pop over to Stamford's this lunchtime and have a look. Thanks for the head's up.