International Journal of Cultural Property

Special Issue: Hunting as Heritage

“What more were the pastures of Leicester to me?” Hunting, Landscape Character, and the Politics of Place

Jonathan  Finch  a1
a1 Department of Archaeology, University of York. Email:

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The debate leading up to the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales in 2005 focused on the practical aspects such as the possible economic and social affect and issues of animal welfare. The relationship between hunting and the landscape was not prioritized, nor was it acknowledged that hunting contributed to regional and social identities. This article explores the relationship between hunting and landscape in the “shires” of the East Midlands, where modern hunting developed as part of the radical landscape changes experienced from the late eighteenth century. It examines why hunting is not recognized within national initiatives to map historic landscape character and suggests that the lacunae is the result of established academic agendas, which focus on long-term processes of change, to facilitate the creation of a common European landscape heritage. As a result distinctive regional identities and landscape character are ignored and the modern landscape is depoliticized.