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Prince Charles tells of fears for future of rural life

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 11, 2013

By Adam Walmesley

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The Prince of Wales has spoken of his concerns for farming communities in a special edition of a flagship rural affairs programme.

Prince Charles, a high-profile champion of organic farming, highlighted some of the problems facing many farming communities such as those in the Westcountry.

The Prince, who guest-edited the 25th anniversary edition of BBC One's Countryfile, broadcast last night, said smaller family farms faced "enormous" challenges of uncertain sources of income and livestock diseases.

"I worry about the way things change all the time and sources of income are more uncertain," he told the programme. "The challenges are enormous, particularly the shortage of feed.

"There are diseases of every kind, whether it's Schmallenberg, TB and goodness knows what else – afflicting the farming community. And that's why it's important to have a means of helping to support very hard-working people."

In 2010 the Prince of Wales set up the Prince's Countryside Fund which raises money to support countryside communities. Last night's programme featured his own organic farm in Gloucestershire, where he spoke about his favourite countryside activities of walking and building hedges.

He said: "Walking is a terribly important thing for me. Rather like some people need a cigarette, I need a walk."

Speaking of his passion for hedge-building, he added: "I love it. I tell you why, because it's terrific exercise and at the same time it's a sort of hobby or interest to see if you can get better at doing it.

"When you first lay a hedge, if you do it well, it looks so marvellous and then the fun is to see three or four years later, it looks like a hedge that's always been there."

The soon-to-be grandfather told Countryfile presenters Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker it was vital to "work in harmony with nature" for the benefit of future generations.

He said: "We need to think about what kind of world we're handing on to our successors, particularly grandchildren.

"If you think of it in those terms, it should make us reflect a little bit about the way we do things so we don't ruin it for them.

"That's why it's so important I think to work in harmony with nature rather than thinking somehow we can ignore, dominate, separate ourselves from nature."

He added: "Unless we take trouble and nurture, pay our respect and reverence to nature, she's a great deal more powerful than we are."

During the programme the 64-year-old was asked by Julia Bradbury whether the prospect of becoming a grandfather made him feel old.

He replied: "Of course it does to a certain degree because you can't believe that suddenly that is beginning to happen in your life."

"It's a lovely thought and I've looked forward enormously to that relationship with a grandchild."

The Duke of Cornwall also visited a South London school where he learned about an initiative to get pupils to take an interest in agriculture by growing vegetables.

He also spoke about his passion for wool and his role as patron of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Last month the Duke and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, came to Devon to visit the flood-hit village of Braunton.

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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6 comments

  • Jonny2010  |  March 11 2013, 6:47PM

    When are the people of the UK going to WAKE UP and get rid of this lot?

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  • sammy_cheese  |  March 11 2013, 4:25PM

    No, my view of what was being said would be the same. I just wouldn't be thinking 'what qualifications does this twerp have to lecture us on such things.' A bit like Piers Morgan lecturing us on morals or Gordon Brown lecturing us on honesty.

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  • ineedtherapy  |  March 11 2013, 12:19PM

    I'm not supporting Prince Charles or the rest of the Royal calvalcade bu... You might not like his life of priviledge...I don't You might not like the fact that he claims to understand how us Joe soaps feel an, more importantly how we manage in life.....I don't You might not like the fact that in some ways he seems to be talking down to us proles....i Don't...BUT Putting all that to one side can you argue with the fundemantal things he actually says....or put in this way if it were somebosy else saying these things would your view be radically different ? I can't

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  • sammy_cheese  |  March 11 2013, 11:03AM

    Like the church, the only people who give this man any voice in this country are the press, shame on you.

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  • nicold  |  March 11 2013, 10:35AM

    What a hypocrite! His 'working in harmony with nature' includes shooting birds out of the sky just for the fun of it?

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  • MisterDonut  |  March 11 2013, 9:46AM

    Yes Charles, when one lives in a palace, has servants and has never paid for anything one really gets to know about community problems. Just make sure ones champagne is from organic grapes treaded only by authentic peasants.

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