The English Countryside

There is nothing grandiose about the English landscape. There are no impressive mountain ranges (the highest point in England Scafell Pike in the Lake District, is only 3, 210 feet above sea-level); no fjords or majestic water-falls, no glaciers or fields of eternal snow, no vast forests or rivers of impressive length (the Thames is 210 miles from its source in the Cotswolds to (its mouth).

Seen from the air the countryside of much of England appears like a patchwork quilt, owing to the criss-cross hedges that separate one field from another. This suggests that the hand of man has done a great deal to shape the rural scene, and this is so.

Maybe that is why so much of what is most pleasing to the eye is parkland, green fields with ancient oaks, a perfect setting for the many lovely country houses that are one of England's finest features.

At one time large areas of England were covered with thick forests, mainly of oak, but gradually these were cut down, partly to provide timber for ships. There are still quite large areas of woodland left, such as the New Forest, the Forest of Dean, just as there are large expanses of fairly wild and desolate country - Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Yorkshire Moors are typical examples -and efforts are constantly being made to ensure that they are preserved.

The Lake District in the north-west, famous as the home of the Lake Poets, of whom William Wordsworth is probably the best known, is another area of great beauty, of lakes and mountains and valleys, which is still relatively unspoilt.