Philip Larkin’s famous poem, ‘Going, Going’, a gloomy lament originally commissioned for a government report in 1972, anticipated the dangers to the English countryside of its dwindling heritage as more people sought to transport their modern lives there, travel about in cars, lay roads. He imagined it would survive in museums and galleries, but otherwise be dominated by ‘concrete and tyres’. 1 The history of the countryside alternates between pride in its pleasures and anxiety at its loss. The second half of the twentieth century was, for the countryside, a time of the biggest changes ever experienced, marked by an increasing rush for development. The decade after Larkin wrote saw a further trend for suburbanisation of village edges to increase desirable housing stock, and the building of more and more industrial zones at the borders of small towns. Was he proved right in his assumptions that such development would override all moves to conserve what remained of the fields, meadows and guildhalls?