Grass grows almost everywhere. To most of us it is a common everyday thing, scarcely worth a mention. Yet its influence on the life and character of an island people has been more profound than that of the seas around our shores.
As Britain's first farmers herded their cattle across the lonely hills, they made a momentous discovery. Working with stone axes to clear the ancient forest they found that in its place grew grass.
For more than five thousand years Britain's grasslands have brought wealth and prosperity, building a powerful overseas trade. They fed the fast-growing towns of Tudor Britain, were the foundation of modern capitalism and, with parks and lawns, they "civilised" the city. Cricket, football and rugby - now played around the world - have their origins on the grass turf.