The landscape is flawless, the trees majestic, the flora and the fauna are right and proper, the whole is picturesquely typical of rural England at its best.
Sir Giles, an MP of few principles and curius tastes, plots to destroy all this by building a motorway smack through it, to line his own pocket and at the same time to dispose of his wife, the capacious Lady Maude.
Sir Giles recruits to his side Hoskins, a corrupt local official, Lord Leakham, the environmental equivalent of a hanging judge, and Dundridge, a troublesome bureaucrat with an unhealthy passion for order.
Against this powerful lobby are ranged a mere handful of local residents led by Lady Maude.
Hardly at first sight a team to withstand the batteries of official inertia, Compulsory Purchase Orders and bulldozer blades.
But, Lady Maude enlists a surprising ally in her enigmatic gardener Blott, patriotism burns bright.
Lady Maude's dynamism and Blott's concealed talents enable them to meet pressure with mumicry, loaded tribunals with publicity and chilli powder, requisition orders with wickedly spiked beer. To every official ploy, Blott and Lady Maude oppose their own ingenious and unprincipled countermove until in a spectacular finale Blott, with four hundred tins of baked beans among his armoury, takes on the army single handed.