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Facts About the British Countryside and Coast

The British countryside and coast is a treasure we all need to take care of, so we can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, fascinating wildlife and history that make it so special. There are many ways to enjoy what the countryside has to offer, from leisurely walks, hikes, shoots and our men and ladies country clothing are perfect for spending hours outdoors.

View of the countryside in Yorkshire

But how much do you know about our gorgeous countryside? Read on to find out some fun facts about the great British countryside and the wildlife found there!

  1. There are 10 National Parks in England; Dartmoor, Exmoor, New Forest, South Downs, The Broads, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Lake District and Northumberland.
  2. Wales and Scotland have just five National Parks between them; Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales and the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs in Scotland.
  3. The 15 National Parks have two constitutional purposes – conserving and enhancing their natural and cultural heritage and promoting the understanding and enjoyment of the qualities of the parks to the public.
  4. The Cairngorms National Park is a protected habitat for 25% of Britain’s endangered species.
  5. Britain has few endemic (native) species, due to the closeness to mainland Europe.
  6. In 1999, 47 species of flowering plants were considered endemic to the British Isles, and the majority are found in the most remote places such as the Scottish Highlands.
  7. Red grouse, classified as its own species or subspecies of a willow grouse, is only found in upland and moorland areas of Great Britain and Ireland.
  8. The Scottish wildcat is a subspecies of the European wildcat and native to Scotland, and extremely rare, with only 35 left in the wild.  
  9. Britain’s only poisonous snake is the adder.
  10. The number of magpies in Britain and Ireland has quadrupled in the last 30 years.
  11. There have been reported sightings of big cats roaming the countryside for many years, the most famous of which being the Exmoor Beast and Beast of Bodmin
  12. Yorkshire is the most Instagrammed location in Britain, followed by the Scottish Highlands and the Shetland Islands.
  13. Walking is Britain’s most popular outdoor recreation, with almost a third of the adult population walking at least two miles a month.
  14. Ordnance Survey measures the coastline of mainland Great Britain as 11,073 miles. Taking into consideration the many islands, the coastline rises to 19,491 miles.
  15. Nowhere in the UK is more than 70 miles from the coast, with 3 million out of 60 million living on the coast.
  16. The longest river in Britain is the Severn, at 220 miles, followed by the Thames at 215 miles and the Trent at 185 miles.
  17. The carving of white figures such as horses into chalk uplands can be seen in many places around England, with 14 in Wiltshire. The practice of making the hill figures is thought to date to the Iron Age.
  18. Dry stone walls that criss-cross over British countryside are some of the oldest structures in Britain. Some walls in Cornwall are believed to date from 5000BC.
  19. Stiles are a staple of the British countryside, and you are sure to come across several on a walk. The word comes from the Old English ‘stigel’ meaning to climb.
  20. Kissing gates are other gates commonly found in the British countryside used to keep livestock in or out of fields, and their name comes from the fact the gate ‘kisses’ the inside of the enclosure.
  21. Thatch used to be the only roofing material available to the majority of the countryside population until the 1800s, and examples can be found in rural villages around Britain.

Take a look at our blog posts to learn more about country pursuits and shooting, from gundogs to making jam!