Author(s): Nigel Harvey
The fields of the farming landscape in Britain are the result of a long series of past efforts and achievements and have much to tell us about the life and work those who lived in the past. They have been won with infinite skill and labor from wild nature and adapted to changing needs, so that their present boundaries may preserve the memory of a Roman road, a medieval peasant, a Hanoverian Act of Parliament or a Victorian magnate. @lt;br@gt;@lt;br@gt;@lt;i@gt;Fields, Hedges and Ditches@lt;/i@gt; describes the making and changing of the field system in Britain and the part played in it by the engineer and the industrialist as well as by the farmer. It explains where the open-field system can still be seen in operation, how certain ridges and hedges recall the medieval ox-teams, why Thomas Becket and Shelley deserve a place in farming history, why the field patterns of some areas are irregular and others orderly, and what evidence Victorian novels provide of the importance of land drainage.