A particularity of Arcadia is that it seems more or less uninhabited. The north-eastern coast between Benoit and Philadelpho harbours only a few fishing ports while the vast hinterland is dotted with only a few regional towns, the exception being the major regional capital, Hubcaster. This is because, for some reason, the province, in its historic past, was subject to relatively little forest clearance, half of it remaining to this day covered in deciduous forests – oak, beech, ash and elm. To further the sense of wild naturalness, Arcadians tend to build their cottages low and to hide them behind thick hedges or banks, with the result that trotting in a pony-trap down some of the remoter country lanes, the only evidence of habitation is the greyish whorl and mellow odour of peat or wood smoke curling above a thicket of honeysuckle or eglantine.

The farms are small and such clearings and meadows as exist among the woods are irregular in shape, not unlike the bocage scenery typical of western Normandy in France. Also as in Normandy, the farm buildings and cottages are built of timber and white- or pink-painted plaster, a style that is retained even on the most recently constructed buildings, the vernacular style being preserved, in its local variations, consistently throughout the country. Pigs, hens, geese, ducks and goats are allowed to range more or less free within the farm enclosure so the region is famous for the flavour and tenderness of its meat. It is also famed for the game that is plentiful in its woods and in the wilder moors that stretch across the north-western part of the county. Here many sheep are reared on the purple heaths and have made Philadelpho an important wool-processing centre. Arcadia is a favourite place for the hunting, shooting and fishing that are still widely practised throughout Dynamo, although there are strict controls on the use of fire-arms and the quotas of game or animals that can be killed. The province is also rich in pasture and noted for its cheeses and milk products, as also for its paté de foie gras. The local towns, dreading to appear too urban, tend to straggle along one or two lengthy streets, much interspersed with ponds, thickets or other pockets of countryside. The streets themselves are seldom fully built-up, consisting rather of clumps of houses or buildings, the inns, workshops, retail stores and bicycle repair shops (standard throughout Dynamo, even in the smallest towns) remaining proudly detached from each other.

Since there are no cars in Dynamo, the need for horses and ponies, and thus blacksmiths, saddlers and cart-wrights, means that much of the inner part of the province appears today much as it would have done in the 18th century. Only the telegraph poles that follow the lanes (that insist, often idiosyncratically, on the direction of the villages they connect), cycle-paths and the electric train or tram-lines that cast a thin web across the province, attest to modernity.


Related Entries



Province of Arcadia


Small scale agriculture