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July 17, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

National Countryside Week, 14-21 July 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2014-07-14, Spain (4) - view over valleyApley Farm Shop is set in rural Shropshire, epitomised in this photo. Without viable farms, our countryside wouldn’t give our customers the lovely environment in which they live, which they enjoy seeing everywhere, everyday. This week is National Countryside Week 14th-20th July.

We were in Spain recently, where it’s the same story. Just as in the UK, the countryside is shaped by the farming of olives, oranges, lemons, almonds & rice (hence their national dish, paella). Just look at this amazing view (ignore the big road in the middle !) which we saw as we descended last night from a mountain walk.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund undertakes amazing work throughout Britain to secure a sustainable future for our countryside through tackling the key problems of:

  • Rural Isolation
  • Decline of rural communities
  • Low farm incomes
  • Lack of access to training

Without vibrant & viable farms, the countryside so many of us love is at risk. To be blunt you can’t be green if you are in the red. For instance many livestock farmers rely on tax credits to meet their cash needs as their profits are not sufficient to live on. In the near future under new universal credit arrangements all self-employed people are deemed to be earning the minimum wage otherwise they would go and get another job. But many farmers are not and will lose these credits. We therefore need to do all we can to build more productive businesses that support existing farmers, encourage the next generation to enter farming and enable farmers to provide the environment we enjoy when visiting our most cherished landscapes. One project the Prince’s Countryside Fund supported was the Fresh Start Uplands Academy which provided a mini MBA course for aspiring hill farmers – 4 of the 12 participants from one course now have tenancies of their own .

Do you now feel you want to do something about it ! ? If you would like to support the work of the Prince’s Countryside Fund, we have a friend who is spending 3 days in National Countryside Week cycling through the uplands of Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham with some friends. They will be covering between 50-64 miles per day – well beyond her comfort range over hilly terrain. She’d be so happy if you felt you could sponsor her. It will be a great motivation when she’s feeling saddle sore ! You can give at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=JuliaAglionby

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