If the civilised world were to come to a sticky end, what would you do to survive? Head for the countryside, urges Joe Pontin
Where would you go to find safety if a catastrophe struck Britain? We asked the experts to offer their advice on the best hideouts and havens in the British countryside.
Suppose the day came when the world as we know it fell apart. What would you do? Where would you go? That’s the premise of this rather unusual feature in
BBC Countryfile Magazine.
We’re asking the question now because it seems more relevant than ever. We live in anxious times. The political world is in a febrile state. And warnings about planet’s health are as ominous as ever. “Intensive farming will destroy soil fertility within 40 years,” claims Environment Secretary Michael Gove. “The world is facing an antibiotic apocalypse,” warns England’s chief medical officer.
Sounds bad? We haven’t even got to catastrophic computer viruses, climate change, economic meltdown, or the risk of an avian flu pandemic. All this provides the most fertile ground for apocalypse tales since the Cold War, and helps explain the popularity of dramas such as The Walking Dead.
Before we go any further, let me assert that the chances are – I sincerely hope – that the apocalypse is not
nigh. The fact that I am sharing this
with you now shows that I really do believe that peace and prosperity will continue to bless our islands. Otherwise, I’d be giving away all my secrets, which would be most unwise.
But even so, it’s instructive to consider our predicament, should our safe and comfortable world suddenly come apart at the seams. What is the best way to survive, protect your own, and give them the best possible start in the ashes of the old world?
This conundrum might even change the way you look at the countryside. Suddenly you see it as your ancient ancestors might have – not just a place of beauty, but as a source of essential security and the means of living.
Before we start, one major ground rule. Let’s assume this apocalypse isn’t triggered by nuclear attack – at least not in Old Albion. Let’s imagine instead an event that is worldchanging but survivable by a lucky few – with some canny decision-making and swift action.
If you’ve been wondering what all this has to do with the countryside, here’s