Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Book series brings new perspective on the landscape of the North West

[English Heritage press release - 19/7/06]
A new and comprehensive study of England's landscape is launched today (Wednesday 19 July) by English Heritage and Harper Collins. The book series offers an authoritative view of the evolution of our landscape in eight regions: the North West, North East, East Midlands, East of England, South East, South West, the West and West Midlands. Each study explores the distinctive characteristics of its region, charting how England's celebrated landscape has been occupied and shaped since the last Ice Age.

Dr Angus Winchester from the University or Lancaster and regional author of the North West volume, said: "'The North West' conjures up a series of widely contrasting images: the dark mills of industrial Lancashire or the majestic mountain scenery of the Lake District; the glitter of Blackpool or sheep and cattle quietly grazing around old stone farmhouses; the architectural splendour of Liverpool's cathedrals or the bleak, evocative ruins of Border castles. This book explores the rich diversity of landscapes in that long, narrow stretch of England from the Mersey to the Scottish border, hemmed in by the sea to the west and the Pennine moors to the east. Covering both countryside and townscapes, it explores how economic exploitation has shaped the land across the millennia, how features in the landscape can form tangible expressions of abstract ideas (of power, authority, religious belief, utopian ideals, for example), and how the landscape of the North West, both in its mountain scenery and its industrial legacy, has inspired writers and artists for more than two hundred years."

Sir Neil Cossons, Chairman of English Heritage, said: "The landscape of England has inspired generations of writers, poets and artists. It evokes intense passion and profound emotion, but only in the last half-century or so have we started to recognise the extreme fragility of all that we value. These books set out to reveal the values that underwrite our sense of place and offer a new insight into how the landscape of England evolved."

The series, written by leading regional experts with assistance from English Heritage specialists, aims to integrate our understandings of geology, topography, history, archaeology and architecture and explores humanity's impact on its immediate environment, examining differences between and within each English region. The volumes also include photographs specially commissioned by English Heritage including new aerial photography that has revealed complex landscapes across the country.

The "England's Landscape" series takes a new approach to the definition of the English Regions, grouping localities together into areas where comparable settlements have used the land in similar ways, revealing new connections between apparently diverse communities. This approach also exposes the fundamental role that 'region' has played in English creative and intellectual life throughout the centuries.

Copies of "England's Landscape" are priced at £35 and are available at bookshops across the country from 9 August 2006. Or you can order copies from English Heritage Sales at Gillards on tel. 01761 452966 or email