"I looked on it and saw that, whereas it had once been green and fair, it was now filled with pits and forges."
Sarehole Mill
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSarehole Mill - Credit: Oosoom/Wikimedia Commons
Tolkien was dismayed by the industrialisation of England and the spread of the cities, with the resulting loss of many traditional rural areas. During his childhood he lived in an old-fashioned village near Sarehole Mill, an idyllic location that inspired him many years later when writing Lord of the Rings. It was just such places that he mourned the loss of:

It was a kind of lost paradise ... There was an old mill that really did grind corn with two millers, a great big pond with swans on it, a sandpit, a wonderful dell with flowers, a few old-fashioned village houses and, further away, a stream with another mill. I always knew it would go — and it did.

 – Interview with Guardian journalist, John Ezard, 1966. The mill has since been restored.

This theme will be picked up further in The Two Towers when Saruman will learn the price of cutting down the trees and destroying the land…