Key dates

1604-1914
Parliament passes a total of 5,265 enclosure Acts (of these 3,828 were passed during 1750-1819)

1800-50
Parliament passes over 700 private estate Acts

1875 - Agricultural Holdings Act
Provides limited compensation to tenant-farmers for improving their holdings, but is not effective

1882 - Settled Land Act
Gives landowners the freedom to sell their lands regardless of estate 'settlements'

1882 - Ancient Monuments Protection Act
The first legislation concerned with heritage sites in Britain

1883 - Agricultural Holdings Act
Recognises farmers' rights to compensation for improvements

1906 - Agricultural Holdings Act
Allows farmers to farm their holdings without interference from landlords

1907 - The National Trust Act
Incorporates that organisation as a charity

1913 - Ancient Monuments Act
Introduces 'preservation orders' for monuments in danger

1917 - Corn Production Act
Prohibits landlords from raising rents

1947 - Agriculture Act
Guarantees minimum prices to farmers for produce

1947 - Town and Country Planning Act
Begins first programme of listing buildings

1948 - Agricultural Holdings Act
Gives tenant farmers security of tenure for life (further legislation in 1976 allows relatives to continue to lease the holding on the same terms)

1949 - National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act
Establishes 10 national parks and begins the processes of mapping and securing access to areas of countryside where it is needed

1953 - Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act
Established the Historic Buildings Councils for England, Wales and Scotland

1968 - Town and Country Planning Act
Introduces system of listed building control to prevent the demolition of buildings of historical or architectural interest

1983 - National Heritage Act
Establishes English Heritage through the merger of the Ancient Monuments Board and the Historic Buildings Council

1995 - Agricultural Tenancies Act
Establishes business tenancy agreements

Related information

Current parliamentary business on the topic of the countryside