Smargill Viaduct

Published 31 May 2015

Smargill Viaduct

Much of what we believe as a nation makes beautiful countryside has actually been guided by human hand. All those rolling fields wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have animals to graze on them, or crops to harvest. Likewise too, why would we have drystone walls or hedgerows dotted all over the place if we didn’t have this concept of land ownership. This is my bit of field and I’m going to mark it out as such. Britain without both these two things would most likely consist of a lot more forests.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t manage the landscape of course. Just that great scenic views often include something put there by man. Defining features as you were. Take this photograph of Smargill Viaduct for example. Try to imagine the picture without it. Would it have the same dramatic impact without that bold stone structure in the middle? The water does its best, but there’s not enough of it to provide a major focus.

No. Without the viaduct it would just be three hills. Almost like a child’s drawing of hills in fact. Two in the foreground, one behind them. For me, without the viaduct, it would be a lesser view.

In this case human hand has enhanced the landscape. It’s added a bold vision, a dramatic sight. And long may it continue to do so.

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