Wiltshire is a county of great antiquity. Its prehistoric
monuments at Stonehenge, Avebury and
Silbury Hill – some of the best in Europe – bear witness
to the settlement of early man on its hills and
downs. Wiltshire has developed as a largely agricultural
landscape of farms and woods, but the great Salisbury
Plain at its heart, the training ground of the British
Army for generations, has remained a semi-wilderness,
precisely because farming has been so restricted there.
Wiltshire’s many attractive market towns and
villages, built over the centuries from the profits of
farming and its allied trades, especially wool, are
dominated on the one hand by industrial and commercial
Swindon (historically part of Wiltshire although
today its own unitary authority) and on the other hand
by historic Salisbury where the cathedral’s spire soars
over the city, still medieval at its core.
The county’s historic wealth is also reflected in the
many mansions and landscape gardens for which it is
famous. Longleat, Lacock Abbey, Bowood, Corsham
Court, Wilton and Stourhead are all, for various
reasons, among the most celebrated in the land.
Wiltshire lay on the vital trade route between London
and Bristol, for centuries the gateway to Atlantic
commerce. The Kennet and Avon Canal provided an
important waterborne link at the end of the
eighteenth century until it was superseded by the
Great Western Railway in the nineteenth century.
All of these features become even more dramatic
when seen from a “bird’s eye” view. The fascinating
aerial photographs in this book by internationally renowned
photographer Jason Hawkes are selected
to provide the reader with an overview of this great
variety of landscapes and settlements, with historic
sites included. There can be no better way of appreciating
the many glories of Wiltshire than to view the
county from above.
Jason Hawkes is one of the country’s
best-known photographers specialising
in aerial photography. From his base
near London he travels worldwide to
produce images for books, advertising
and design. Since 1991 he has provided
photographs for major international
companies including Nike, HSBC, Ford,
Rolex, Toyota and BP. The images in this
book and the sister publications in the
series were specially commissioned by
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 004 6, hardback, 214x230mm, 144 pages. Published September 2010.