It has only recently struck me just how hard it is to imagine a landscape that has been unaffected by a human presence. In-between agriculture, separation of land through ownership, warfare, aesthetic alteration and evidence of human settlement there are few places that can truly boast such a wild and untamed status.
Merridia, the primary land within my current project Kin, is such a land. The idea is that Merridia is a wild land, filled with many different species of plant and animal. It is a thriving land full to brimming with life but, as a result, is also a very dangerous land. No human has been able to safely settle within the land, except the Merans, a race of people who have the innate ability to read nature and use it to survive in such a harsh land.
Today I took a reconnaissance trip to the Ashdown Forest, a location I have not visited before. I took plenty of photos while I was there as reference (some 50 odd). Combining open heathland with wooded areas the landscape certainly matches my initial ideas for a variety of locations within my story. But most importantly it has that untamed wild feel about it, despite also having seen the hand of man many times over the years. I may well return to other parts of the forest for further inspiration. Sometimes you just need to see something to better understand it.