7.1 Natural beauty
Apart from the towns and villages and isolated buildings, the railways, roads, airfields, factory sites, mines and quarries, most of the British lowlands are occupied by farmlands under arable crops or fields of' permanent' grass, much of which has been ploughed up during the war. Scattered among these, however, there are woods, and here and there commons covered with heath and wild grasses, mostly on land which did not repay cultivation, at least in earlier times, and was used by the ' commoners' for pasture and, where trees and shrubs were present, for the collection of dead wood. As the result of these uses and of the not infrequent fires the commons are often considerably altered from their original condition, though they still bear 'wild' vegetation, including stretches of bracken fern, scrub of gorse and other shrubs, and sometimes isolated trees. At one time most of this common land, like that which has long been farmland, was covered with forest, except on the poorest soils where only heath can flourish.