The desire to uncover and celebrate the English landscape that inspired so much poetry, music and painting in the first half of the twentieth century, also led to a flowering of academic studies. A fiftieth anniversary edition of W.G. Hoskins’ The Making of the English Landscape was published last year, and in his introduction Keith Thomas places the book in the context of a post-War boom in scholarly landscape studies: Jacquetta Hawkes’ A Land (1951), Pevsner’s architectural guides, launched the same year, H.C. Darby’s Domesday Geography of England (1952), O.G.S. Crawford’s Archaeology in the Field (1953) and Maurice Beresford’s Lost Villages of England (1954). Hoskins’ work began as five radio talks in 1954 which were turned into a book the following year.
One of the charms of Hoskins’ book is the way he encourages the reader to get out and discover the history of the landscape for themselves. For example, ‘armed with a copy of a Saxon charter’ and a map, anyone can uncover an Anglo-Saxon estate boundary. He describes his own search for these boundaries in