Nick Owen's photograph of the view to Tuthill from the Wallington riding, shows a landscape that is far from cut off.

Nick Owen’s photograph of the view to Tuthill from the Wallington riding, shows a landscape that is far from cut off.

The plain fact is that in the 18th century country houses weren’t cut off. We imagine things and deceive ourselves.The point here, which answers a note from Dr Q of Harwich, is that turnpikes, like ‘navigable rivers … foot-paths, mills, and all other moving objects …  animate and add variety to the landscape,’ and far from excluding the outside world, that redoubtable gardener, Capability Brown, welcomed public roads. Lady Mary Coke was abreast in 1768: ‘as a road is now the fashionable prospect, I shall see from it everybody who goes the Acton way…’ and Brown had opened the view of the lane at Wrest, fully ten years earlier.

The terrace on which the Newport road is carried across the front of the house at Audley End

The terrace on which the Newport road is carried across the front of the house at Audley End

Anyone who regards Brown’s landscapes as exclusive and isolated might want to take the Stansted road (B1383) and slow down where it passes Audley End on a high embankment. Then they could dawdle up the A49 trunk to Ludlow which is terraced up above ground level where it runs through the park at Berrington. After that travel north  via Swynnerton, Chatsworth, Aske, Alnwick,  or go south through Coombe Abbey, Castle Ashby, Cowdray, – chase any point of the compass in fact, and you’ll hardly find a place Brown worked on that does not have a road running in sight of the house.