The way we live our lives is changing, and this has had an impact on, amongst other things, the way we engage with place and with the landscape we inhabit. Accepting that many people now commute or travel by car or on public transport, and that this is a means (sometimes the only means) by which many of us experience the landscape, this project is exploring ways in which historic environment information can be made freely available to people, and people typically 'on the move'. Our project is using the coarse-grained information about the historic landscape deriving from Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) projects, to create simple maps and descriptions of landscape character types from which those passing through a landscape can develop a basic understanding of it. Initial work has focused on the railways, and specifically the Chiltern Line between London Marylebone and Aylesbury (Bucks.).
This local area has considerable landscape diversity, strong local identity, and has completed its HLC. There is also historical precedent, as this was the line featured in the celebrated John Betjeman BBC film Metroland (1973) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro-Land_(TV_film), which itself included black and white footage of the line from a film of 1910 (online at http://www.ltmcollection.org/films/film/film.html?IXfilm=FLO.0002&_IXSESSION_=oYhZnCPdWOs). This initiative is closely allied to projects undertaken by the Centre for Transport and Society based at the University of the West of England (http://www.transport.uwe.ac.uk/default.asp), with whom some collaboration is anticipated. As well as these map-based products we will be assessing the potential for using new mobile technologies for presenting broad-scale historic landscape information for travellers.