The enclosing of common land in the 18th and 19th centuries saw the privatisation of around 22% of the land in England by the aristocracy and gentry, leaving just 3% registered as commons in the present day. Enclosures were dubbed an economic necessity, taking no account for the future ecological impact of agricultural improvements. Today, of the 3% of registered common land, 57% are registered as sites of special scientific interest, a conservation designation given to places which have rare species of fauna or flora, demonstrating the strengths of communal interest in land as a mean of ecological preservation. These spaces appear as oases, filled will the ecological diversity that today eludes much of England’s rural landscape.
Adam Bennett • Ilona Denton • Adrian Fear • Matthew Keenan • Justin Keene • Paul Railton •