Visiting the British countryside has improved the physical and mental health of people living in towns and cities across Britain over the past year, a new survey has revealed.
The survey, conducted by Censuswide, spoke to more than 2,000 British people living outside of rural areas in England and Wales. 87% of respondents who visited the countryside and farmland said that visits had improved their wellbeing, while nearly half (47%) said they valued the British countryside and farmland more since the pandemic began.
It also revealed that 84% felt that their visits had made them appreciate the role farmers play in creating our rural landscapes.
NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said: “The results from this survey clearly show the public’s huge appreciation of the benefits the British countryside offers to the nation, and that they recognise the valuable role farmers play in creating our iconic landscapes.
“British farmers not only produce our food, but they play a vital role maintaining, protecting and enhancing the landscape that has helped all of our mental health. It’s fantastic to see that those who actually live furthest away from rural areas have directly benefitted in this way from the work of farmers.
“More people than ever before have been visiting farmland over the past year and the appreciation we’ve seen from the public for the respite the farmed landscape has provided has been fantastic to see.
“As farmers, we love to see walkers out enjoying our landscape and asking questions about what’s happening in the fields or what food we’re producing from our farms. In particular, more people are visiting for the first time and beginning to truly understand how farming works in this country.
“It’s this patchwork of food and farming landscapes that farmers and their families work hard to maintain and care for that is providing the backdrop to these visits. I hope this increased appreciation leads to a better long-term understanding of what the countryside delivers for the nation.
“Recognition for the role farming plays, and importantly as government sets new agriculture policies, is essential if we are serious about levelling up rural Britain and truly valuing the role rural Britain plays in the overall health and wellbeing of our nation.”