UK countryside under threat, says Prince Charles

Prince Charles
Image caption Prince Charles has long been a vocal campaigner on rural issues

The UK countryside is "a national asset of incredible value" which could be lost unless greater care is taken of it, the Prince of Wales has said.

The prince told a conference in Cambridgeshire that farmers were the tourism industry's "greatest ally" because they preserved the landscape.

He also stressed the need to protect local pubs and traditional crafts in an age of "stultifying mono-culturalism".

Tourism Minister John Penrose said more Britons should holiday in the UK.

Prince Charles has long been a vocal campaigner on rural issues.

He told the meeting of tourism chiefs in Lode that "the delicately-woven tapestry of our countryside" was facing "unprecedented pressures".

"Start pulling at the threads and the whole thing could fall apart," he said.

"The greatest ally the tourism industry has is the farmer, who keeps the landscape looking as it does. This is especially true in upland areas.

Landscape beauty

"It is important for everyone involved in the tourism sector that our countryside remains a living, breathing place for everyone to enjoy.

"For me it is as important that those who live in urban areas have countryside to visit... as it is that farmers can continue to live and work on their land."

Mr Penrose told the conference that Britons were more likely that any other Europeans to underestimate the beauty of the landscape on their doorstep.

"[People in] other countries go abroad less than we do. They take more holidays in their own countries than we do," he said.

"We need to get out there and sell the heck out of it [Britain]."

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