Book - The Theft of The Countryside
The Theft of the Countryside
Published - 1980
Publisher - Maurice Temple Smith
No. Pages - 270
ISBN (Hard) - 0-85117-200-8
ISBN (Paper) - 0-85117-201-6
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Eighty per cent of Britain’s land is countryside. The health of our wildlife depends more than any other single thing on the way in which farmers treat the wild plants and animals that exist in the soil, on the surface of the land and in the plants that rise above it. Today, our populations of farmland birds continue to decline, despite the subsidies paid to farmers for more than twenty years to grow food in an environmentally sensitive manner.
Much of what I wrote about in The Theft of the Countryside remains pertinent. I examined the reasons why modern farming was transforming the countryside and the subsidy machine which was fuelling not only damaging landscape change but also the over-production of food. I looked at the value of the English countryside to children, poets and ordinary people out seeking recreation, as well as to industries which rely on the countryside remaining beautiful, such as tourism. I explored the impact of agricultural change on the wildlife, landscape and archaeological remains of the countryside. I urged the introduction of controls to prevent further destruction, the designation of a string of new national parks to protect the most attractive landscapes which remain, and measures to reconstitute damaged landscapes. The Theft of the Countryside sparked off a debate which is still continuing.