Farms with tourism enterprises are reporting a drop off in enquiries because people seem to be assuming they are closed because of flooding and storms.

Farm Stay UK said reports coming in from its 1,200 members showed it needed to get the message out that the countryside was “open for business”.

If people continued to stay away from the countryside, the effects for rural communities would be “terrible”, it warned.

See also Flood-hit farmers – see how you can help

“Ninety-nine percent of our farms are open for business and none of them are closed due to the weather, although a number of Somerset properties are supporting local families as a priority over business,” said Andy Woodward of Farm Stay UK, the leading farm holiday accommodation group.

“That means farms up and down the UK are waiting to welcome guests, serve them local food, give them a real farm experience and start the season off properly.”

“If there is one thing we would ask of the British traveller this year, on behalf of our farm members, it would be to pledge to stay in Britain for one short break this year – put some of your holiday budget into Britain and make a positive difference to rural communities”.