"Rare and beautiful Norfolk", as described by the artist John Sell Cotman in 1841, with its rich wildlife habitats, historic buildings, diverse landscapes and archaeological sites, has long been a focus of interest for both naturalists and antiquarians. It has also been at the forefront of the modern conservation movement. The Norfolk Archaeological Trust, still the only local trust of its kind, was founded in 1923; the Norfolk Naturalist Trust, (later the Norfolk Wildlife Trust), founded in 1926, was the first county wildlife trust; while Blickling Hall was the first property to be accepted by the National Trust under its Country House Scheme. By the 1970s traditional marshes were seen as particularly under threat and it was proposals to drain part of the Broadland marshes that led to the introduction of conservation schemes which have transformed much of British agriculture.
In this engaging book, the author traces the history of the conservation movement and the people who were involved, including the Norfolk botanist and founder of the Linnean Society, Sir James Smith. In particular, she shows the influence of changing social attitudes and priorities upon the movement and ideas of heritage.
Susanna Wade Martins is an honorary fellow of the School of History at the University of East Anglia; her previous publications include Coke of Norfolk: A Biography and The Countryside of East Anglia (with Tom Williamson).