The British countryside, particularly lowland England, is enjoying unparalleled prosperity. Newly thatched cottages, gleaming Range Rovers, 300hp tractors, and rolling seas of subsidised wheat and barley testify that the countryside harbours a great deal of wealth.

Yet this opulence is not shared by everyone who lives there; it masks an obstinate persistence of age-old inequalities, a significant level of what is now termed ‘hidden poverty’, and progressive gentrification of the countryside comparable to the ‘social cleansing’ taking place in wealthier parts of central London.

On the ...


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