Survey: Britons ‘confused by the countryside’

The British public are blissfully unaware about nature and wildlife according to a new survey conducted by farming charity LEAF.

A poll carried out last month revealed that 15% of adults don’t know that a dairy cow is female, one in five are unaware that acorns come from oak trees, while a quarter of 18-24 year olds don’t know that tadpoles become frogs.

The survey also showed that the general public has little idea about the role farmers play in caring for the countryside. 95% did not know that farmers manage over three quarters of the UK’s land, and less than one in four knew that farmers were responsible for looking after most rural hedgerows, walls and fences.

Farmer and TV presenter Adam Henson said: “As a farmer I am passionate about the great British countryside, and like most farmers I spend a considerable amount of my time in looking after it – along with all the wildlife that lives there too. I’m disappointed to see that so many people seem to be confused about the countryside and the role that farmers like me play in nurturing wildlife and tending the land.”

The results have been released just ahead of the sixth annual Open Farm Sunday (12 June) – a nationwide event that sees hundreds of farms opening their gates to the general public.

“Farmers play a vital role in caring for the countryside,” said Caroline Drummond. “They are responsible for nurturing the soil, the plants and the trees and protecting and caring for all the animals, insects and birds that live there.

“Open Farm Sunday is a great opportunity for all the family to get out onto a farm to discover more about the link between food, farming and nature. With hundreds of farms opening nationwide you’ll be able to meet the farmers who care for our beautiful countryside and its wildlife, and find out how your food is produced.”

More results from the survey

• Four in 10 didn’t know that a deciduous tree was one that loses its leaves in autumn

• 50% weren’t aware that robins live in the UK all year round

• 50% thought that bees made honey from pollen, not nectar

• Three in 10 could not identify the correct meaning for a “frogs or toads crossing” road sign

Open Farm Sunday

Last year more than 184,000 people took part in Open Farm Sunday, making it a bigger event than Glastonbury. This year farmers up and down the country will be opening their gates on Sunday 12 June. Search for participating farms, find out how to get involved and get access to free event materials at