Countryside Survey

Countryside Survey

Countryside Survey

Countryside Survey is a unique study or ‘audit’ of the natural resources of the UK’s countryside. The Survey has been carried out at discrete intervals since 1978. The countryside is sampled and studied using rigorous scientific methods, allowing us to compare results with those from previous surveys. In this way we can record the quantity and quality of change in our landscapes and detect even the most gradual and subtle changes that occur in the UK’s countryside over time. The latest in this UK-wide series of Surveys took place in 2007 and the results and analyses are available.

Company details

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Lancaster Environment Centre Library Avenue , Bailrigg , Lancaster LA1 4AP United Kingdom
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Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Ecology and Nature Protection
Market Focus:
Nationally (across the country)
Year Founded:

Why is Countryside Survey important?

Countryside Survey provides scientifically reliable evidence about the state or ‘health’ of the UK’s countryside today. We can compare 2007’s findings against the findings of previous Countryside Surveys from 1998, 1990, 1984 and 1978. We can then identify change (and the relative rate of change) in the countryside. This evidence is used to help form policies that influence management of the countryside, both now and in the future.

What does the Survey do?

There are two parts to the Survey: the Field Survey and the Land Cover Map. The Field Survey involves an in-depth study of a sample of 1km squares in the countryside. The Land Cover Map uses data from satellites to form a digital map of the different types of land and vegetation across the UK.

A new benefit from the 2007 Survey:

Previously, Countryside Survey was reported at UK level. The 2007 Survey was increased in size so that we are able to report by country as well as for the whole of the UK. We have now reported for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

How are the findings used?

The findings of Countryside Survey are used to:

  • improve scientific understanding of the countryside’s landscape, vegetation, freshwater and soils
  • assess changes in the area and distribution of broad habitats* and some habitat types of special interest (e.g. Hedgerows, Arable Field Margins and Upland Heath)
  • examine how the countryside’s natural resources respond to changes in land use, climate change and government policy
  • contribute to Government’s reporting of biodiversity
  • assess progress against target indicators in Biodiversity Strategies for the UK and the devolved countries