The British public value the countryside but have no idea about its scale and importance to the economy, according to research from The Princes’ Countryside fund.
The survey, conducted ahead of the first ever National Countryside Week (11-18 July), found that 93% of Brits value the countryside for relaxation, fresh air and peace and overwhelmingly agreed (94%) that it is important to protect the countryside.
Yet when asked to estimate the countryside’s value to the economy, three quarters said less than £1bn a year when the actual value is £80bn a year.
When questioned about what percentage of the UK’s total area is agricultural land, 60% thought it was less than half, when it actually makes up 75%.
Launched in July last year by HRH The Prince of Wales, The Prince’s Countryside Fund is a collaboration of brands and businesses committed to caring for the people who take care of the countryside.
To date, the companies involved in The Prince’s Countryside Fund have contributed over £1million and already nearly £500,000 has been given in grants to 13 projects throughout the countryside.
These include an apprenticeship scheme to train young people to become hill farmers in Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales and the development of 50 new school farms.
The next round of grants will be announced at The Great Yorkshire Show, where £250,000 will be given to more projects across the country.
The projects which are supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund focus on improving the sustainability of British farming and rural communities, reconnecting consumers with countryside issues; and supporting farming crisis charities.