New research shows that an overwhelming number of people are “incredibly proud” of the British countryside.

The results of a survey conducted for the Future Countryside conference – which takes place at Hatfield House today (Tuesday, June 6) – highlights that 93% of people believe that the British countryside should be regarded as part of the country’s “national heritage”.

The survey of over 2,000 people also revealed that 54% do not think that the countryside has been taken seriously enough by the government, and three-quarters (75%) want more political debate around the challenges facing rural areas.

The research also showed that 59% regard the protecting of the countryside as “very important”.

Future Countryside said today its inaugural event will bring together people with many different voices and views with one “shared ambition – to make sure rural Britain plays a positive part in the lives of all of the people of Britain”. 

According to Future Countryside, which was created by Julian Glover and Nick Herbert, the survey also suggested that 36% of people believe those who live and work in rural areas are better placed to run the country than politicians are

Chair of the Countryside Alliance, Nick Herbert, said: “The public clearly treasure the countryside yet they also believe that politicians don’t take it seriously enough.  

“These findings should be a wake-up call to our political leaders who need to pay far more attention to what people feel is part of our national heritage.”

Julian Glover, who is also chair of the government’s Landscapes Review, said: “Today’s event will tackle some of the key problems facing the countryside but will also start to address how we can make the countryside not just survive but also thrive. 

“The British countryside should be treated as nationally important by the government, but there is a lot to do and the choices we make now will shape our country, and its health, for centuries to come.” 

Meanwhile the results of the survey conducted for the Future Countryside conference also found that people said the countryside makes them feel relaxed (89%), happy (68%) and hopeful (35%).

One key issue identified in the survey suggested there is an urban/rural divide, but one which relates to how they feel rather than conflict between town and country.

Survey respondents said British towns and cities makes them feel anxious (39%) and indifferent (32%).