The countryside, or rural environment, covers 80 per cent of the land mass of the United Kingdom, and houses 20 per cent of the total population. As Tim Pateman, for the National Office of Statistics, pointed out, there is a neat symmetry, then, in terms of habitation, as 80 per cent of the population lives in towns and cities, occupying the remaining 20 per cent of the land. 1 This kind of population ratio between city and country is common in many other countries of the developed western world. 2 Simply in terms of numbers, there are implications here for education and learning. Should the land mass of the countryside be of majority interest, or is it relevant only to the 20 per cent who live there? Does it need a generic approach so that everyone learns about it wherever they live, or is it best to be celebrated for what it offers in a specialist way to the creation of distinctive local populations?