Country tourism sees drop in enquiries
Rural accommodation businesses will need the customers the most as the UK comes out of winter and into the weeks leading to Easter.
“We are in contact with all our 1,200 members – and they are a gauge of the real situation out there in the countryside," said Andy Woodward of Farm Stay UK.
"99% of our farms are open for business and none of them are closed due to the weather, although a number of Somerset properties are supporting local families as a priority over business.
"That means that farms up and down the UK are waiting to welcome guests, serve them local food, give them a real farm experience and start the season off properly. If people stay away then the effect will be terrible for so many rural communities. Of course we also have farm members in Somerset and we are ready to support them and get them back on their feet.
"But, if there is one thing we would ask of the British traveller this year, on behalf of our farm members, it would be to pledge to stay in Britain for one short break this year – put some of your holiday budget into Britain and make a positive difference to rural communities."
Weather observers at the University of Oxford have confirmed that January 2014 was the wettest since their records began in the 1760s.
Dr Ian Ashpole, Radcliffe Meteorological Observer based in the University's School of Geography and the Environment, said: "This January has had a very high number of "very wet" days rather than a few "monster" ones. People who live in the Oxford area endured consistently wet weather all January this year, with only one rain-free day."
The CLA said it was vital the government recognised the economic importance of the countryside.
The records show that this January was the wettest ever of any of the three winter months (December to February), beating the previous high of 143.3mm in December 1914. The most recent December and January combined total of 244.6mm of rainfall was also higher than for any other December–January period recorded by the Observatory.
In the 45 days following 18 December, more rain was recorded at the Radcliffe than for any other 45-day winter period in its history, with total rainfall at 231.3mm. This is way ahead of the next highest total of 209.4mm from 1 December 1914 to 14 January 1915, according to records of nearly 9,000 such periods.
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