Friday, 1 March 2013

Are We Losing Touch With the Countryside?

Worth posting as it bears out what a lot of us (birders) know!

One in four of us have never been to a river and one in 10 couldn't identify a badger, according to new research from the youth hostelling charity YHA (England and Wales).
Many of us look back fondly on youthful days spent climbing trees, exploring woodlands and looking for bugs in the great outdoors, however it seems many of us are losing touch with the countryside. With school holidays just around the corner, YHA is now urging families to get out and explore the UK countryside.

The *survey also found that nearly four in 10 UK adults have never climbed a tree, while nearly a quarter of respondents claim to have never even been to a lake and 16% have never been to a woodland!
As for flora and fauna, many of us have little idea what's out there. Eleven per cent of those polled believe they might bump into a wolf or a skunk on their ramble through the British countryside, while one in 10 wouldn't recognise a badger if they saw one. Additionally, 60% of UK adults are unaware our coastal waters are inhabited by sharks, whales and dolphins.

In total, 38% of respondents have either never been to the countryside or go only once a year or less - something that YHA wants to change.
YHA (England and Wales) Chief Executive Caroline White said: "This survey shows that a large part of the population are losing touch with the countryside - and missing out on so much. England and Wales has an abundance of things to explore and discover – better still; most of it is free or low cost, which, in the current economic climate, can only be good news.

“Giving people the chance to experience the great outdoors means more of us can find out all about what is out there and is also good for our health and happiness."
For more information about YHA, or to make a booking at any of its hostels, visit

Another example of how some (most) of us view the outdoors is:
No wonder litter is a problem, a friend of mine when walking his dog in Wantage recently came across a couple of 11 year olds with a carrier bag full of rubbish, they were just about to throw it in a ditch when he questioned them. They said their Mum had told them that their rubbish bin was full so go and take it and dump it in the ditch.

You can’t blame the kids but what the hell is a parent like that thinking!
What’s the answer?

“If you don’t engage with it you aint gonna fight for it!”

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