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Managing and owning the landscape

Parliament has been fundamental to change and development in the countryside in modern times.

In the 18th century legislation assisted landowners in running and expanding their estates, while enclosure Acts dramatically changed the nature of farming.

During the later 19th and 20th centuries legislation gradually improved the situation of the tenant-farmer and of agriculture generally.

Since the Second World War legislation has covered the protection of the countryside and access to it.

Case Study: Tufton Beamish and Wildlife Conservation

The Parliamentary Archives and The Keep worked with a college group to explore the life and career of Tufton Beamish. Find out more about this project here.

Key dates

Follow the landmark items of legislation through which Parliament has introduced major changes in the countryside


In the early 21st century Parliament continues to take a close interest in the countryside, for example, the status of village greens


Reference sources for more in-depth research into how Parliament has brought change and improvement to Britain's countryside


Find out how Parliament has helped to shape modern agriculture and extend public access to the countryside