Urban children spend an average of just two days a year in the countryside compared to 17 days a year watching TV.


Rural living and livelihoods hold little appeal, according to a YouGov poll. Only 6% of city children expressed any interest in becoming farmers.

Research from a poll of 1,000 city parents shows that children living in the south of England most frequently escape to visit the countryside.

But one in ten children in Midland conurbations such as Birmingham have never left their home city to visit the countryside.

The study was commissioned by breakfast cereal producer Weetabix. It is working with children’s community charities to give city children a day on a farm and an insight into the world of agriculture.

Bedfordshire farmer Brian Shaw is the fourth generation of his family to supply wheat to Weetabix. A group of children from London travelled to Mr Shaw’s farm on Monday (8 August).

They saw the combine harvesters in action before the grain was sorted, cleaned and packed before being made into breakfast cereal.

“Modern farming practices are so sophisticated,” said Mr Shaw. “I think the children were impressed with the power of the machinery and the staggering pace of harvest.”

It was sad that so few urban children expressed an interest in a career in agriculture, he said.

Weetabix marketing director Sally Abbott said the initiative aimed to give children an experience outside of their everyday lives.

“Many children growing up in cities have a limited understanding of the countryside, so to take such an active part on a farm has been wonderful.”

The survey was carried out among 1,000 adults with children between five and 14 living in UK cities. Fieldwork was undertaken from 29 July to 2 August