A new study suggests the majority of Britons think the work that farmers do is important, but, only 12 per cent of the nation can claim to be well informed about what they do for the countryside.

Indeed, research found 71 per cent of Britons have no idea that farmers are responsible for looking after almost three quarters of the countryside. 

The new study commissioned by sustainable farming charity LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), organiser of the recent Open Farm Sunday, suggests people aren't familiar with the essential work that is carried out on a daily basis. 

More than a third don't know farmers plant and maintain hedgerows and woodland and 62 per cent had no idea they plant and manage wildflowers, while 69 per cent don't know they create ponds for wildlife. 

Over three quarters don't know they create habitats for beetles, feed birds, and install bird and bat boxes .

The majority had no idea farmers maintain footpaths, the research also found. 

But, the Open Farm Sunday research shows there is an appetite to learn with four out of 10 reporting that they want to learn more about the work farmers do.

Half of Britons want to see more food labels indicating sustainability of products and 26 per cent say they are more worried about sustainable food production than price with 45 per cent buying British when possible.

The rise of farming TV shows like Clarkson's Farm has also impacted consumers’ knowledge, the research suggests.  Almost four in ten (37 per cent) get their information about farming from TV documentaries or celebrity farmers like Jeremy Clarkson, Matt Baker, and Kelvin Fletcher.

But, 20 per cent still don't get any information about farming. 

Annabel Shackleton, LEAF's Open Farm Sunday Manager, said: “Farmers really are the guardians of the earth, but are often unsung heroes, who go to great lengths to protect the natural environment around them whilst producing nutritious food for us all to enjoy.  

 "Farming with nature is a vital battleground on which our heroes live, thrive and sometimes struggle - there are challenges we don’t see, threats that are ongoing, victories that aren’t recognised.