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Evolution of the landscapes      of Great Britain    Lecturer: Julian Swindell
Great Britain: 10,000 BC• The ice age was just ending• The land was scraped clean• All that existed was a rocky surface,  ...
What came next?• Temperatures rose, trees grew• Wildwood, 10,000 – 5,000 BC• Temperate rain forests covered  Britain• Mode...
The landscape as it was before people altered it                               After Rackham 1997 p 34
The English landscape as it is now• England’s landscape is  fragmented into a patchwork  of land cover and land use  types...
What drives change in the landscape?• The fundamental internal drivers of  the landscape change could be:  – Geology: The ...
Human influence: farming• Most of humanity moved from a hunter gatherer  economy to an agricultural one in the stone age, ...
Types of contemporary rural landscape• Woodland, wood pasture, parkland• Grassland and heathland• Moorland• Wetland• Farml...
Woodland• Wildwood is woodland  completely untouched by  people, no clearance, no  removal of timber, no planting  of tree...
Wood pasture and park land• Where woodland and  livestock are raised  together, the  predominant landscape  is wood pastur...
Grassland• Few areas of  “natural grassland”  in England  – Most grassland is    pasture or crop (called    a ley locally)...
Moorland• Wet and acid soil• Moorland supports  heather but is  dominated by  sphagnum moss,  which holds water  and does ...
Heath• Heath: cleared, non-  acidic, dry land  which develops a  heather/bracken  plant community   – Will be invaded by t...
Wetland                      East Anglia• Waterlogged land• Highly variable in  extent and location• Critically affected b...
Rivers                  • Amongst the oldest features                    of the landscape, a product                    of...
The farming landscape• Permanent crops:  trees, vines• Annual crops:  grains, tubers• Livestock: grazing  and fodder
Landscape with buildings: the beginning of urbanism• Buildings have  always been in the  countryside• When they come  toge...
Growth of villages and towns• When buildings come  together, they are  more than just a  group of buildings• The spaces be...
Cities; the ultimate human landscape?• Eventually, towns  becomes cities,  entirely artificial  landscapes, built  by peop...
Urban landscape ~ ”townscape”• Cities consist of buildings and the  spaces between them• Their interaction creates “townsc...
Urban design: management of landuse• Town and country planning acts  – Development control  – Aims to conserve a finite re...
The final edge to the landscape, the Sea                       English                       Channel• Defines the shape  o...
And finally• Sustainable landscapes  – The conservation of the landscape in the present    so that it may be enjoyed in th...
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1017 evolution of the_british_landscape

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1017 evolution of the_british_landscape

  1. 1. Evolution of the landscapes of Great Britain Lecturer: Julian Swindell
  2. 2. Great Britain: 10,000 BC• The ice age was just ending• The land was scraped clean• All that existed was a rocky surface, scored by torrents of glacial melt water• Sea levels rose and Great Britain became an island
  3. 3. What came next?• Temperatures rose, trees grew• Wildwood, 10,000 – 5,000 BC• Temperate rain forests covered Britain• Modern people arrived• They started to farm…
  4. 4. The landscape as it was before people altered it After Rackham 1997 p 34
  5. 5. The English landscape as it is now• England’s landscape is fragmented into a patchwork of land cover and land use types• What we think of a essentially a “natural” landscape is almost entirely the result of human activity• Farming was the first big change, then urbanisation English Nature Natural Areas
  6. 6. What drives change in the landscape?• The fundamental internal drivers of the landscape change could be: – Geology: The rocks that build the land – Climate: The rain, the wind, the heat, the cold – Geomorphology: The shape of the land – Ecology: life and all its interactions• The major external driver is human activity
  7. 7. Human influence: farming• Most of humanity moved from a hunter gatherer economy to an agricultural one in the stone age, starting about 5,000 years ago, and continues…• Hunter gatherers are believed to have lived in an ecological relationship to the landscape and to have had only small impacts on it. This idea is challenged…• Agriculture arose in four places, Mesopotamia, China, Mesoamerica and Papua New Guinea• Farmers intentionally alter the landscape to increase its crop and animal production capacity.• This leads to the rural landscape
  8. 8. Types of contemporary rural landscape• Woodland, wood pasture, parkland• Grassland and heathland• Moorland• Wetland• Farmland
  9. 9. Woodland• Wildwood is woodland completely untouched by people, no clearance, no removal of timber, no planting of trees. There is none left in GB• Ancient woodland is land which has been continuously wooded for known history, but it has all been affected by human activity.• Managed woodland will have been cleared, coppiced, pollarded, planted, grazed by livestock. The vast majority of British woodland is managed plantation.
  10. 10. Wood pasture and park land• Where woodland and livestock are raised together, the predominant landscape is wood pasture• The traditional term forest really refers to wood pasture rather than dense woodland• Wood pasture can take the form of – Open woodland: New Forest and Epping Forest – Park land: primarily grazed grassland with isolated standard trees: almost any English country house
  11. 11. Grassland• Few areas of “natural grassland” in England – Most grassland is pasture or crop (called a ley locally) – Grassland is Grazed maintained by cutting Cotswold or browsing pastures and (sometimes burning), common land which produce different Tropical guinea plant communities and grass cut for landscapes animal fodder, Now being considered as a bio-mass fuel in the UK
  12. 12. Moorland• Wet and acid soil• Moorland supports heather but is dominated by sphagnum moss, which holds water and does not decay when submerged• Moors are a product of rain. Plant remains in wet soil do not rot but build up into peat. Great areas of the north of GB and Ireland are covered in Blanket bog, unbroken miles of peat moor.
  13. 13. Heath• Heath: cleared, non- acidic, dry land which develops a heather/bracken plant community – Will be invaded by trees – Often maintained by burning – Very threatened landscapeThese photographs showheathland around Poole Harbourin Dorset, which has to beactively maintained by treeclearance and controlled burningto prevent it reverting to forest
  14. 14. Wetland East Anglia• Waterlogged land• Highly variable in extent and location• Critically affected by water level Vietnam• Crucial to flood control and coastal protection• Probably the richest habitat in temperate India climates• Can provide the richest farmland in the country…
  15. 15. Rivers • Amongst the oldest features of the landscape, a product of a landscape’s internal drivers, geology, climate and geomorphology • Nearly all cities and towns were sited on rivers for water and transportFraser, CanadaMekong, Vietnam Ardeche, France
  16. 16. The farming landscape• Permanent crops: trees, vines• Annual crops: grains, tubers• Livestock: grazing and fodder
  17. 17. Landscape with buildings: the beginning of urbanism• Buildings have always been in the countryside• When they come together, they create a new landscape
  18. 18. Growth of villages and towns• When buildings come together, they are more than just a group of buildings• The spaces between become just as important as the buildings themselves• They become villages and towns
  19. 19. Cities; the ultimate human landscape?• Eventually, towns becomes cities, entirely artificial landscapes, built by people• In 2007 it was estimated that over 50% of the World’s population lives in cities, the first time in history
  20. 20. Urban landscape ~ ”townscape”• Cities consist of buildings and the spaces between them• Their interaction creates “townscape”• Architectural design considers • Architectural style • Scale • Materials • Street furniture • Interaction between building and context• Cities also require systems to provide resources which are delivered from the rural landscape – Food, water, energy …
  21. 21. Urban design: management of landuse• Town and country planning acts – Development control – Aims to conserve a finite resource: land• Conservation movements – Importance of history – Cherished landscapes
  22. 22. The final edge to the landscape, the Sea English Channel• Defines the shape of maritime countries• Erodes cliffs, deposits sand banks• Controls temperature• Provides the rain• Used as a sink for all of humanity’s waste Indian Ocean
  23. 23. And finally• Sustainable landscapes – The conservation of the landscape in the present so that it may be enjoyed in the future• Sustainability is at the core of everything you will study at the RAC• "..development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" Brundtland report 1987 “Our Common Future”

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