Traditional landscape features were made of local materials: walls and buildings were built of stone that was found on or near the site, quarries were generally small scale and buildings were made of stone and slate from the quarry. Tracks and roads hugged contours and natural landscape features: they fitted in, they became part of the landscape.
Modern field boundaries are fenced: straight lines of wire and posts, buildings in the landscape are now made of concrete and metal, and farm and access roads are carved across the contours and made of imported slate waste, leaving scars on the landscape. Modern quarries are big enough to change the shape of the mountains and require roads and buildings to transport and process materials.
What is the difference? Why does the modern intrude where the traditional became part of a landscape? Is it just a question of scale? Or design? Or materials? Or time?
A landscape has a general character in the wider sense, and different individual features within it. When the different components complement each other, the integrity of the landscape remains intact. Unity of function is demonstrated when different landscape features are all orientated towards a common activity or interest which is appropriate to the setting, e.g. farming and small-scale quarrying in a Snowdonia landscape. Therefore a landscape which has indigenous natural beauty, and a variety offeatures which show unity within that landscape, can sometimes tolerate the introduction of sensitively sited, artificial features constructed of local materials.
Conversely, the modern tendency to introduce features constructed of alien materials, with straight lines, and on a scale incompatible with the local, natural features, can have adevastating impact on the landscape. A landscape will tolerate change, but the change must be carefully engineered to preserve the functional and visual unity of the area.