In opening our review of nature conservation in the 1980s, we could do worse than to consider the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. Here, at the start of the decade, was an Act heralded as a comprehensive and effective measure to safeguard Britain’s natural heritage. Here, indeed, was a concrete manifestation of how far the conservationists had instilled their message in the national conscience; how far in practice, in cruel reality, Britain was willing to go in the interests of its flora and fauna, its landscape and environment.