Saturday, 23 February 2013

Are We Losing Touch With the Countryside?

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


  1. i feed the rural foxes and they are so friendly

  2. I am shocked at those figures and find it really sad. I have always loved the countryside and thankfully my children do too. We love walking in the countryside and spotting the different birds and animals :-)

  3. I wish we could explore the countryside more by us, but as most of it is privately owned, we don't have the opportunity. We always go for longs walks up the canals when the weather is nice though and the kids love feeding the ducks.

  4. Just shocking statistics. But we are all so insular these days. Need to spread our wings and go exploring.

  5. Thats shocking, I have always tried to take my kids to the countryside. There is lots around where i live. Camping in the country has always been a firm fave in our house but unfortunately the Weather here in Scotland isnt much to be desired any more

  6. I live right near the Yorkshire Dales so you would think there was plenty of places to have a walk with the dog & take in the countryside but there isnt it just buildings & more building sites it is getting spoilt.

  7. Numbers are scary, but... I blame parents of today. Most will rather have peace and quiet and let kids play on PlayStation or Wii than take active role and show them the world
    Such a shame...

  8. This is a great way to spend some time out in the open air. It will allow the children to find out where their food come from at least.

  9. I live in the countryside, in Rural Norfolk and it is lovely. There is always something to see and do. It's a wonderful place to take your children on a nature walk. They learn so much.