If the civilised world were to come to a sticky end, what would you do to sur­vive? Head for the coun­try­side, urges Joe Pon­tin

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents -

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

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