Why does the countryside look like it does?


Your class has the opportunity to develop their understanding of why our countryside looks the way it does and how that has been important for farming and the people living there. Our countryside was transformed from the 1600s when the Enclosure Acts of Parliament divided up land into enclosures. Today we see these enclosures as fields bordered by hedgerows, fences and ditches. While our countryside is changing all the time through intensive farming, new developments and changing land use, the countryside’s general shape and patterns have been here for hundreds of years.

Themes and topics:

  • Changing landscapes and environments
  • Physical features in a landscape
  • A study of British history after 1066

Suggested age range:

Upper primary, lower and upper secondary

Links with other activities:

This activity could also be used in conjunction with the ‘Where have all our songbirds gone?’ and ‘What is the future of the countryside?’ resources.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of the activities students will:

  • have a better understanding of how land ownership has changed over time and how it has shaped what our countryside looks like today
  • be more aware of how land ownership has affected different people in different ways over time
  • be able to use historical evidence to examine land enclosure
  • be better informed to discuss and debate reasons for and against land enclosure.