NOW it's official: Briton's do love their days out in the countryside, whether it is to walk, have a pub lunch or go shopping in our small market towns.
The Countryside Agency yesterday released the results of a nationwide survey about the great British Day Out and it proves statistically what most people in the Yorkshire Dales have known for years.
According to the survey, the British make more than five billion leisure day visits' a year to all destinations – cities, the countryside and seaside, spending some £71 billion, a staggering sum of money by any calculation.
Going out for a meal or a drink, often to country pubs, is the most popular day out enjoyed by 18% of the population. Next comes walking, hill walking and rambling (15%), and shopping – often in country towns – logs in at 11%.
Says Pam Warhurst, the agency chairwoman: "These visits play a particularly vital part in rural communities. The countryside is part of our national heritage - it remains a popular destination, where people can go to enjoy themselves, with a simple walk, a good pub lunch, some shopping in country towns or simply to sit and enjoy the view.
"It's particularly pleasing to see that walking, with all its benefits for the nation's health, was more popular with the British than going out to shop."