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From the editor: Post-lockdown offers chance for rural Britain to shine

Lockdown and the glorious sunshine have sometimes made for uncomfortable bedfellows.

And, as Dominic Cummings’ sojourn to County Durham hit the headlines, so scores of people in England flocked to the countryside clutching disposable barbecues and summer wear.

 

In a precursor to what could potentially happen across the rest of the UK as the different lockdowns start to be relaxed, the ignorance of a minority was on show as their barbecues sparked moorland blazes, and their litter was left strewn on beaches and beauty spots.

 

But what did we expect to happen? For all the talk from more liberal commentators about lockdown leading to a reappraisal of the way people lived their lives, two months cooped up in urban homes was bound to lead to a release of tension in one form or another.

 

For farming communities enjoying an unexpectedly quiet spring, the return of day trippers has, in certain places, been a shock to the system and led some to vent their frustration on social media.

 

Yet despite the stupid actions of the few, the majority of people head for open spaces in search of relaxation and to enjoy the beautiful landscapes farming shapes.


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While there is a real need for people heading to rural hotspots to be aware they are in working environments and respect that fundamental fact, the influx of tourists has also shown how rural areas are a valuable and, therefore, monetisable commodity.

 

With Covid-19 stalling people’s foreign holiday plans, there is every chance our rural locations can reap some of that spend as the year progresses.

 

This will not sit well with all farmers or rural residents, especially those who enjoy the tranquillity of tourist-free days, but rural Britain has a fantastic opportunity to grab more of people’s holiday spend in these strange times. Once things reopen, of course.

 

From a brand perspective, an industry that not only feeds the nation, but also shapes the landscapes they love and provides them with great places to stay, should be a marketing dream. It is one that should be seized upon.

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