Cottenham Landscape Questionnaire - Introduction

As well as recording the plants, animals and history of the landscape we want to find out what local people think about the countryside around them, what uses they make of it, and how they see its future. We compiled a questionnaire which was distributed in the village newsletter and at local events.

The number of completed questionnaires we received back was relatively small, around fifty. There must also be some question over how representative the sample is - certainly it contains a high proportion of people over 40, and only one under 20; 20% of respondents describe themselves as retired. A high proportion of respondents seem to have professional occupations, including four teachers, but the sample does include a range of occupations, including a smallholder, coach driver and stone carver. We may also suspect that those who took the trouble to fill in the questionnaires probably had a greater than average interest in the countryside.

Bearing this in mind, the results still have interesting things to tell us about people’s perception of the landscape, the use they make of it, and their aspirations for it.