Yes, you read that correctly. Our children don’t know basic things that we all naturally understood when we were young – because their childhoods are completely different to what ours were.
Perhaps less surprising is that many wouldn’t recognise a stile, according to national park chiefs who want to educate the public about the countryside.
The admissions were made by Peak District National Park Authority members during a discussion of the National Parks for Everyone paper, which aims to make green spaces more accessible to the wider public.
One councillor said: “A lot of children spend most of their time looking at a computer rather than looking at the countryside.
“I’ve heard children say they don’t know where eggs come from. A relative of mine didn’t want to have eggs from our hens because they came out of hens, they wanted them out of Morrisons.”
Another added that even children surrounded by the countryside knew little or nothing about the Peak park: “The children from my local school went out for a walk across the fields and in a school of 30, six of them didn’t know what a stile was because they’d never walked across the fields.
The authority has been working on the Generation Green project, designed to give children and young people access to high quality learning resources about the Peak District, as well as the opportunity to visit and stay.
Lorna Fisher, project manager for Generation Green, said: “This is the start of someone’s journey, these are the people who don’t know what a stile is – haven’t seen a sheep before.
“It’s that inspirational activity. It’s that little thing that plants the seed for their budding journey into the outdoors.”
To that end, the authority is working with partner organisations including the YHA England and Wales, Scout and Guide associations, the Outward Bound Trust and Field Studies Council.
What a fabulous project. We take a lot for granted – one thing being that, while we might not know the answer, we at least understand why the question is asked: what came first, the chicken or the egg?