Magazine article Geographical

How to Read the Landscape

Magazine article Geographical

How to Read the Landscape

Article excerpt

HOW TO READ THE LANDSCAPE

by Patrick Whitefield

Permanent

Publications, 16.95 [pounds sterling] (hardback)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but at first glance a librarian might quickly catalogue this exploration of the British landscape under children's interest. A simplistic watercolour of the River Wye belies a detailed look at many aspects of our varied countryside and Patrick Whitefield, a pioneering permaculturalist with an eye for the wider environment, uses years of careful observation to explain some of the complex interactions which underpin our scenery. However well you might know your local patch, there is information here that will make you want to look again.

Ant hills, for example, aren't just randomly dotted across open grassland, but usually develop on the best drained part of a field. Allied to the direction of the sun, ant hills also have specific north and south facing vegetation and, in theory, it should therefore be possible to use one as a crude form of compass. …

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