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1.5.1 Landscape Character A844

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1.5.1 Landscape Character A844

Read the description of rolling estate farmlands given on Suffolk Landscapes, and view the inset graphic for the ‘Composite of Characteristic Features’ which shows the key features. ‘Estate’ is not defined here, but you should take it to be a unit of land ownership (usually centred on a core of house, gardens and parkland) which sits above individual tenant farms and has a diverse range of habitats relating to the production of timber, game birds or fishing.

·        What are the designed aspects identified within this landscape type?

It depends how ‘design’ is characterised but ‘human design’ enters with use of the land for human purposes (‘Landholding and Enclosure pattern’). Not everyone will equate these patterns as design. They are patterns built out of numerous variant contributions over space and time. In so far as there are patterns, they are likely to reflect usage and agreed or informal constraints on usage, but they will often reshape geology and the appearance of landscape to the eye. The issue of estate development is important because of the shift from more communal forms to those based on aggregated land ownership, exploitation or public and private objectives.  Issues of settlement and urban growth only involve design in a very complex way too. The way the piece uses ‘ancient’ in scare quotes is interesting since looking ‘ancient’ can be a matter of design rather than just tolerance or negligence of aspects of landscape with no known current human interests implied.

·        How far is this an interpretive statement?

What is ‘designed’ is always interpretive. The term was used as evidence for God’s hand in creation. Design that leads to ‘patterns’ need not be the product of a unified or even pre-meditated plan, although elements of planning may come together and some will have accidental similarities – just as ‘enclosure’ ridded us of common lands and the concept of commonwealth. When Suffolk County Council say that the whole has a ‘tidy estate countryside feel’, a very complex ideological judgement is made that has a lot to do with concepts of imposed human order (the ‘tidy’) rather than beauty or other aesthetic category. There remains a sense of ‘God’s in his Heaven/All’s right with the world’ (Browning’s Pippa Passes).

When an evaluative word like ‘good’ is used, we wonder how the values underlying it are formed – particularly in relation to the phrase, ‘good despite the post war modification of the field patterns’.

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