I was born, grew-up living next door to a cotton mill, and went to school in Hyde on the eastern edge of the Manchester conurbation. Attached to the local Victorian public park and ten minutes walk away was an area of woodland that seemed like a magic dreamland where a group of us at primary school lived-out adventure fantasies, often to the annoyance of the local ‘parkies’. A short bus ride away was surrounding countryside: farmland giving way to moorland where later we went rambling and enjoying the country. It was also the focus of cross country running at the local grammar school (no matter what the weather). Somehow all this implanted in my mind a relationship with landscape and country.
The relationship was strengthened by reading geography at Sheffield in the late 1950s, in particular human geography and physical geography, and by taking up rock climbing and mountaineering. Graduate planning studies in Town and Country Planning at Manchester reinforced whatever was going through my mind and the move to landscape architecture and teaching at Manchester Polytechnic entrenched things.
The move to Australia in 1975 (to what is now University of Canberra) was further reinforcement (including a research degree at University of Melbourne on cultural landscape meanings and values). During the mid-1980s I realised somehow or other the potential for cultural landscape study. As the years progressed the potential for work and research in Asia dawned on me. With deep relief I retired from UC at the end of 2002 and moved to the Research School at The Australian National University as an Adjunct Professor where blissfully I spend my time writing, researching, going to Asia, including graduate/postgraduate teaching and supervision at Silpakorn University, Bangkok. Involvement with ICOMOS, UNESCO and ICCROM has been rewarding. In between times my wife and I find time to go to our beach house on the NSW South Coast. The surf is pretty good.
I was appointed as a Director of Landscape Research Group in 2005. I have been an overseas Associate Editor of Landscape Research from 2006 to the present.