The varied character of Britain's countryside provides communities with a strong sense of local identity. One of the most significant features of the landscape in Southern Britain is the way that its character differs from region to region, with compact villages in the Midlands contrasting with the sprawling hamlets of East Anglia and isolated farmsteads of Devon. Even more remarkable is the very 'English' feel of the landscape in southern Pembrokeshire, in the far
south west of Wales.
Hoskins described the English landscape as 'the richest historical record we possess', and in this volume Stephen Rippon explores the origins of regional variations in landscape character, arguing that while some landscapes date back to the centuries either side of the Norman Conquest, other areas across southern Britain underwent a profound change around the 8th century AD.
Dr Stephen Rippon studied archaeology at the University of Reading, where he was awarded his PhD on 'Landscape Evolution and Wetland Reclamation Around the Severn Estuary'. He went on to become a British Academy Research Fellow, and then a lecturer in archaeology (now Reader in Landscape Archaeology) at the University of Exeter. His research interests include the transformation of wetland landscapes through reclamation in the Roman and medieval period, and the origins and development of regional variation in landscape character.
1. Introduction: Beyond Villages and Open Fields ; 2. At the Margins of the Champion Countryside: The Emergence of Villages and Common Fields in Somerset ; 3. Abbots, Bishops, Thegns or Communities: who was Responsible for Somerset's Champion Countryside? ; 4. Across the Watershed: The Development of Landscapes Characterized by Dispersed Settlement in the South West ; 5. Champion and Woodland? Landscape Evolution Beyond the 'Central Province' in Greater East Anglia ; 6. Marching On? The Development of Villages and Open Fields in South Wales ; 7. Conclusions