In England, perhaps more than most places, people's engagement with the landscape is deeply felt and has often been expressed through artistic media. The popularity of walking and walking clubs perhaps provides the most compelling evidence of the important role landscape plays in people's lives. Not only is individual identity rooted in experiencing landscape, but under the multiple impacts of social fragmentation, global economic restructuring and European integration, membership in recreational walking groups helps recover a sense of community. Moving between the 1750s and the present, this transdisciplinary book explores the powerful role of landscape in the formation of historical class relations and national identity. The author's direct field experience of fell walking in the Lake District and with various locally based clubs includes investigation of the roles gender and race play. She shows how the politics of access to open spaces has implications beyond the immediate geographical areas considered and ultimately involves questions of citizenship.
Wendy Joy Darby Independent Scholar