From prehistory to the present day, our landscape has been transformed by successive periods of human activity, triggered by the rise and fall of populations and their need to be fed, housed, and employed. These changes have built up layers of evidence which offer historians exciting insights into land use through the centuries and how rural communities of the past lived their lives. In this ground-breaking study - published in hardback as The English Rural Landscape and now available in paperback - Joan Thirsk and her team of distinguished contributors, many of whom live in the places they describe, invite us to explore the historical richness of the English landscape. Each chapter synthesizes the latest thinking and provides fresh perspectives on its subject. It is the first book since W. G. Hoskins' definitive study The Making of the English Landscape, published nearly 50 years ago, to do so. The first ten chapters describe the characteristic features of the main landscape types, including fenland, downland, woodland, marshland, and moorland. However geographically scattered areas of a particular landscape type are, they have often been moulded by successive generations in ways that have produced strong physical similarities. The second part of the book is made up of five cameo features, each exploring an individual place in detail: the people and the distinctive histories that shaped them. These include the Land Settlement experimental village of Fen Drayton, set up during the Great Depression in the 1930s, and surveys of the very different settlements of Hook Norton in North Oxfordshire and Staintondale in North Yorkshire. Rural England: A History of the Landscape shows us how much of the rural past is still visible if we choose to dig for it. It illustrates how we might go about exploring it for ourselves. It is the definitive work on the history of the English landscape for all would-be landscape and local history detectives, professional and amateur alike.