Marion Shoard | Writer : Broadcaster : Speaker

Landscape Tastes

Why particular landscapes appeal to particular people has long been a subject that has fascinated me. In 1977 I wrote an essay about the peculiar appeal of moor and mountain landscapes based on lengthy interviews with moorland enthusiasts who have been highly influential in shaping public policy on countryside conservation and access, such as Tom Stephenson and Kate Ashbrook. In my book The Theft of The Countryside, I sought to counter the dominance of moor and mountain in Britain's landscape protection system by urging the designation of a string of new national parks in lowland England.

More recently, I have explored the appeal as well as the distaste prompted by the landscape of the 'edgelands' - the netherworld neither urban nor rural which has taken over great swathes of land on the urban fringe. The rough, unkempt wasteland of the edgelands shares many of the characteristics of wild land in urban areas, and I have also written recently about urban wildscape. I am also interested in the ways in which landscapes of all types have served as a source of inspiration for artists, not least Dylan Thomas and the World War One 'Dymock poets'.

Chapters in Books

Why Landscapes are Harder to Protect than Buildings Why Landscapes are Harder to Protect than Buildings (Our Past before Us: Why do we Save it? eds. D Lowenthal and M Binney, Temple Smith, 1981)

The Lure of the Moors The Lure of the Moors (Valued Environments eds. J Burgess and J Gold, Allen and Unwin, 1982)

Edgelands 'Lie of the Land' (Green Belt - 1) (Remaking the Landscape ed. J Jenkins, Profile Books, 2002) (Winner of the Outdoor Writers Guild’s Award of Excellence for the best one-off feature about the environment, 2003)


Children and the Countryside’ Children and the Countryside (The Planner, May 1979)

‘Now the Call of the Tame Demands to be Heard’ (The Times, 28 April 1990)

‘Stop Fencing in Nature’ (The Times, 23 March 1991)

On the Poets' Path’ On the Poets' Path (The Times, 2 November, 1993)

‘A Month in the Country: a Personal View’ (Country Living, October 1994)

‘ Britain's Changing Places’ (The Guardian, 2 November, 1994)

‘My Bay of Old Memories’ (Isle of Thanet Gazette, 27 January 1995)

Marion Shoard Never Travels Without’ Marion Shoard Never Travels Without (The Guardian, 7 October, 2000)

‘The Edgelands’ (Town and Country Planning, May, 2003)

‘A Call to Arms’ (Urban Wildscapes ed. A Jorgensen, Routledge, forthcoming)

‘On the Edge: What Future for the Urban Fringe?’ Countryside Voice, Summer 2004

‘The Strangest Town in Wales?’ Woman’s World 2008/9 (annual publication of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes


With N. Gallent, J Andersson and R. Oades, The Urban Fringe – Policy, Regulation and Literature (Countryside Agency, July, 2004)