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 results to be compared with those from previous surveys. In this way the quantity and quality of change in our landscapes can be recorded and even the most gradual and subtle changes that occur in the UK’s countryside over time can be detected. This evidence is used to help form policies that influence management of the countryside, both now and in the future.
The Survey is a very detailed study of a sample of 1km squares, located all over England, Scotland and Wales. Individual squares are chosen so that they represent all major habitat types in the UK And enough of each type are selected to ensure that the statistical analysis for that habitat is robust and reliable. The location of study squares is kept confidential to avoid any deliberate influences that could affect them or the features within them. In this way the sample squares will remain a true reflection of changes in the wider countryside and they will continue to provide a reliable comparison for future Surveys.
Within each 1km square, teams of trained field surveyors record a range of information including:
* Broad and Priority habitats
* Linear and point features
* Vegetation plots of different types (29 per square on average)
* Measurements and samples from streams and ponds
* Soil samples