Not so many years ago, playing outdoors was the staple pastime of children of any age.
I remember spending day after day playing in the fields, building dens, climbing trees, looking for frogs in the pond and playing with friends at the park.
As I got older, outdoor activities would include walking in the hills, cycling, climbing, running and playing cricket on the local sports field, using our jumpers as the wickets.
Back then, if the weather was terrible we might watch television or read a book. But the days indoors were long, there wasn’t much to entertain you.
I am a firm believer in the old adage that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. So whatever the weather, I’m outside every day.
For my children’s generation, things are so different. If the weather isn’t great, it’s tempting to stay inside. There are iPads and games consoles to provide entertainment without getting damp and muddy.
Quite often, when I take my children out to the park or for a walk, we don’t see any other children. This never really surprises me because it’s usually a weekday.
But this Saturday, we didn’t have much on so we decided to head to the park. We have a favourite park that is a little bit further from home than our local park, but it is set in beautiful countryside.
We spent a good hour there because the girls were enjoying it so much.
The park is perfect. It has a zip wire, a selection of swings, a slide, see-saw, roundabout, and a toy train. Just outside, there are trees to climb and a field to run around on. Everything a child could want.
And yet, during the time we were there, no other children arrived. There were a couple of dog walkers but nobody under the age of about 50.
The parks in town are usually quite busy so I know that people do still venture outside with their children. We also go to National Trust properties quite regularly and there are always plenty of children in the parks there.
But the National Trust can’t save every piece of countryside or provide facilities everywhere for people to use. They are a charity and in order to carry on, they do rely on public money, including memberships and entrance fees.
And it is a sad fact of life that the urban sprawl is creeping out into the countryside. In Worcester, outlying villages are set to become attached to the city due to the housing estates being built on the open spaces in between.
And when planning applications are submitted to build on our beautiful countryside, there are inevitably objections. But if the children of today don’t see views like this, will they grow up to appreciate them as adults?
In years to come when my generation are dead and gone, I’m sure a planning application will be submitted to turn this beautiful area into a supermarket, housing estate or car park. And will anybody care enough to object?
If we’re not bringing up our children to appreciate the countryside, what will they, in turn, teach their own children? And will the countryside die with our generation?
I hope not.