Much of our countryside is parcelled into fields. Some were first ploughed four thousand years ago, many have been farmed for hundreds of years, many have been built on, but the memory of them can be read in the street names and patterns of the city. They chance season by season and have been through many transformations – they are out record of unwritten history.
How much do we know about the fields we see as we journey to work or school or during visits to the countryside? From the train or car window, fields may look deceptively beautiful. A close look could reveal fields devoid of history and empty of wildlife because of land drainage, deep ploughing, hedgerow and tree removal and the use of pesticides and herbicides.
Fields are where most of our food comes from and traditionally where much of our wildlife lives. They have rich history, of only we can learn to read it , but their future is a precarious one, constantly under threat from development and intensive farming. Fields are part of our culture. We needs to know more about them, to celebrate their richness, to recreate them and to use them better.
Common Ground has created a Field Days pamphlet with lots of ideas for field investigations and celebrations that schools, communities and families can use to explore their local landscapes. They are fun way to get out and about, which also provides practical ways to help research and conserve places near you.