The Independent has an article bemoaning the decline of the rural way of life and countryside (which has been going on for a couple of hundred years really) and it reminds me of a theme in Tolkien and the new Steve Augarde series.
Industrialism has changed the landscape irrevocably and to some extent the pastoral ideal is, as Clute has it in the Encyclopedia of Fantasy, a dream of an already lost time. It is a reminder of the changing nature of the land and its associations. It is easy, living in a city, to forget this and become used to the urban rush.
However its also very easy to recreate a glossy past, a time when everything was perfect and we change this each time that we recreate this dream. Tolkien’s rural idyll s very different to Augarde’s. It is, to some extent, a perfect, happy, beer-drinking time which is abruptly shattered by the intrusion of several dwarves and a pesky wizard on two occasions. Auguarde’s is wistful but allows the necessary nature of change. The Various need to change and realise this and the humans begin to remember what needed to happen and be preserved but not in aspic.