LETTER: Commitment to the countryside

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The Independent Online
From Mr Martin Golder

Sir: Your leading article concerning "non-country folk" (26 January) makes a good point about renewed faith in the benefits of urban living, if the quoted research is to be believed. However, the suggestion that people belong in the towns and cities, not in the countryside, has obviously not been thought through.

Of course people belong in the countryside but they should live and work in the community, accepting the hardships of rural life as well as its pleasures and, above all, they should care for the land.

A society which disassociates itself from the land which has always supported it is a society headed for big trouble, and unless our woods and fields are left to return to wilderness, they must be managed by people to provide food, fuel, recreation and wildlife habitats.

Rural society is already in trouble and current agricultural practices are inflicting serious damage on our soils, water, forests and wildlife. Inevitably, this social decline and physical damage will be felt by us all, no matter where we choose to live.

Our cities need vitality, as you say, and perhaps those flocking back from failed rural experiments will contribute to urban regeneration.

But there is an equally urgent need for caring and committed people to repopulate our emptying landscapes, in order to restore the health of rural communities.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Golder

Rural Revival Trust

Bristol

7 February

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