Coun­try Mouse

Save ru­ral life

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

TIME will tell whether the po­lit­i­cal up­heavals that have taken place in 2016 are for good or bad, but, ei­ther way, it’s cer­tainly been an ex­tra­or­di­nary year. Our farm­ers have four years re­main­ing un­der the Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy and the sub­si­dies that are pro­vided for them by the EU. After that, the coun­try­side as we know it will be in un­charted ter­ri­tory. Cer­tainly, it will be dif­fer­ent.

The Bri­tish coun­try­side has never been more pop­u­lar. Walk­ing re­mains the coun­try’s num­berone pas­time and the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of TV pro­grammes such as Coun­try­file and this mag­a­zine demon­strate that, as a na­tion, we’ve never been more in love with it. The dan­ger is that the coun­try­side we love to­day may dis­ap­pear— it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine it stay­ing the same. With­out sub­si­dies, for in­stance, up­land sheep farm­ing will not be able to con­tinue and, if we were to lose that in­dus­try, the stone walls and green fields that shape that part of our beau­ti­ful land would also dis­ap­pear.

What we need is a proper de­bate on its fu­ture, in­volv­ing all the var­i­ous rel­e­vant bod­ies, so that the in­ter­ests of ru­ral Bri­tain can be pre­sented co­her­ently to Govern­ment. If not, our land­scape will be changed for ever. MH

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