Mention of the British countryside commonly evokes visions of pastoral contentment; but the nature of rural Britain has changed dramatically since 1945. The declining importance of farming as a source of income and employment in the course of this century has undermined the simple identity of the rural economy with the agricultural sector. The social composition of many villages has been transformed by incomers who commute to nearby towns and cities for their work. And EU policy is playing an increasingly important role in both the regulation of the countryside and the promotion of development through structural assistance programmes. The Rural Economy and the British Countryside offers critical perspectives on the changing profile of rural Britain by leading contributors in the field. It considers the meaning of the term rural' and what might constitute a sustainable rural economy; present and future patterns of rural development; the role of markets; natural resource management; agricultural pollution; marketing policies in the a 'cultural sector; environmental valuation techniques; rural policies and politics; and the future of the rural political economy. Written by a team of experts at the Centre for Rural Economy, which took a leading role in the debate surrounding preparation of the 1995 Pural White Paper, the book is ideal for students of rural and environmental policy, countryside management, planning and recreation, rural geography, and agriculture and environmental studies courses.