Wood & Water
Sylvia Crowe


Sylvia Crowe, 1987

©Monica Pidgeon

Long ago almost the whole of the British Isles were covered with vast forests. They weren't forests of spruce which come from North America. They were forests of oak and birch, of hazel and of alder in the wet places. And amongst this great forest there were lakes, great stretches of water, there were rushing rivers far bigger than any of the rather sluggish streams we see today, and there were marshes, great undrained marshes. Well, Man came along and he put an end to all this. He started making places for his agriculture, making places to live, he cut the forests, he drained the wetlands and he left us, in some places, with a travesty of the landscape which we originally had. And in the rest of this century people have begun to think about this and to worry about it and, now, to do something about it. And that's really the chief thing that landscape architects are now concerned with. We are trying to make again a land which people can enjoy, a land which is fertile and a land, too, where the wild life can flourish. We can't, and I suppose we don't really want to, get the wolf back but we would like to keep the fox and the badger and all the birds of the forest. And what I have been working on for the last 50 years or more, is trying to do just a little bit to bring this into the realms of possibility.


Remains Of Caledonian Forest, North Scotland

©Sylvia Crowe

This slide is taken up in the far north east of Scotland which thank goodness is still comparatively wild. And these three trees you see are the sole survivors of the great Caledonian Forest which was once covering so much of the land. They are now, I am glad to say, cared for and protected, with preservation orders on them, and all the rest of it, and it is, I think, important that we go on preserving what remnants we have of our old heritage.

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