The British Landscape Club

Landscape appreciation

In the course of the relentless campaign of internet dredging I like to characterise as “research”, it’s often quite difficult to find sites of interest to the landscape enthusiast, but on the odd occasion I manage to discover a real gem. Two such gems - though related to one another - are the websites of Landscape Appreciation and Landscape Genres. Both sites are off-shoots of a Yahoo Group of landscape appreciators and each has a slightly different focus. Landscape Genres seems dedicated to classifying different kinds of topography according to a slightly psycho-geographical formula while Landscape Appreciation is more wide-ranging and includes a number of fascinating articles on the artistic representation of landscape, the idea of genius loci - the spirit of place - and the history of landscape tourism through the production of postcards, photo-chromes, photos and other tourist artefacts. Recommended.

Human landscapes

There is an interesting article in yesterday's Guardian by Jonathan Meades, in which he states 'our rural landscape is a fiction' and talks about his urban suspicions about the countryside. He makes the case that everything that we think of as 'natural' countryside is, in fact, influenced or manufactured by humans. From field boundaries and livestock to the concept of the rural idyll, which is itself a product of our aesthetic appreciation of managed landscapes like parkland.

an article from last Monday's Times takes us to Maiden Hill in Dorset, the remains of a huge Iron Age hillfort a mile or two to the south west of Dorchester, to report that the coldest winter in 30 years has left the landscape 'burnt brown by frost'. Which is all true: pity though that the picture desk bought a slide of somewhere completely different to illustrate the article. 'Children enjoy the snow in Maiden Castle, Dorset, last month' runs the caption, under a picture of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, perhaps more famously known as the location of the Hovis ad but, as completely missed by the Times' editorial team, 30 miles to the north of Maiden Castle.