Gate against fields and skyI took this picture mainly for its visual impact, but looking at it in greater detail (yes, I know there’s not much detail) generated some reflections about the way that the countryside has changed in relatively recent times.

It was the lack of detail that struck me. In a recent exhibition of 18th and 19th drawings, the countryside was typically full of activity – people working and doing things – driving carts, moving animals, operating machinery. Another thing that you would have seen are hedges.

By contrast, this looks bleak and lifeless (although there are a few nice sheep off camera) – more like a wind-blown prairie than the heart of England.