Take a look at some of the great depictions of the seasons and landscapes of Britain, as celebrated in the new book 'Country Life: 125 Years of Countryside Living in Great Britain'.
Britain is breathtaking in so many ways. The new book, Country Life: 125 Years of Countryside Living in Great Britain, by our own John Goodall and Kate Green, celebrates that, and as we mark its launch on this page we’re looking at 10 of the most magnificent landscape and seasonal images from within its pages.
The vicissitudes and predictable unpredictability of the British climate, not to mention the national obsession with discussing it — always a reliable conversation filler — have undoubtedly affected the way we live.
But wouldn’t it be dull if it was always the same, as it is for some countries. ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,’ wrote Noël Coward, but the fact is that if the British waited for the perfect weather, they would never do anything.
We are still pleasantly surprised when we can eat outside, we plan for rain at summer events and we still associate Christmas with snow, even now that it is a rarity.
The owners of gardens and historic properties open to the public are learning that no month need go untapped, for there is always something at which to marvel, in wind and rain, in sunshine or frost, and some have the power to brighten the dullest, greyest day.
The landscape is just as varied as the climate. Britain is but a pinprick on the world atlas, yet our country contains an extraordinary variety of landscapes, from the flat, watery fenlands of East Anglia to the unforgiving Highlands of Scotland, the heathlands of Surrey and Hampshire to the boggy moors of the South-West and Wales.
Add to that list everything from the white chalk cliffs of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast to the black basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway on the Northern Ireland coast, the fertile fruit-growing regions of Herefordshire and Kent to the Cotswold brash soil grazed by sheep.
To walk through the glories of the British landscape is to pass through layer upon layer of history: in part the result of natural evolution of millennia, but also the work of human hands — much of it is owed to altruistic landowners, despite it being closely fought over down the ages.
Remarkably, discoveries are still being made. And, with a swelling population, we are still arguing over its use, due to the modern-day pressures of national self-sufficiency in food, green energy and public access.
Country Life: 125 Years of Countryside Living in Great Britain, by John Goodall and Kate Green, is out now (Rizzoli, £65)
Picture credits: Getty; Alamy; Drew Buckley; Charles Rutter/Future Content Hub; Sarah Farnsworth