Nihal says Asians avoid ‘White & Middle Class’ Countryside

BBC radio host Nihal Arthanayake claimed that British Asian families avoid the UK countryside as they feel it is “white and middle class”.

Nihal says Asians avoid 'White & Middle Class' Countryside f

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"the countryside is inherently white and middle class."

Nihal Arthanayake believes the British countryside’s “white and middle class” image puts off Asian visitors.

The BBC Radio 5 Live presenter claimed that social media trolls have created the false impression that rural regions are unwelcoming to ethnic minorities.

This subsequently affects the diversity of visitors to some of the most famous landscapes in the UK.

Given the region’s proximity to South Asian populations in Manchester and Sheffield, he expressed surprise at how few Asian families explore places like the Lake District.

However, Nihal, who is Sri Lankan by heritage, said that walkers are genuinely “happy to see you”.

He said: “There is this barrier; a perception, often perpetuated by social media trolls, that the countryside is inherently white and middle class.

“I think it does have an impact because I’m often surprised by how few Asian families I see in the Peak District when the communities of Manchester and Sheffield are so close.

“But when you go out there, overwhelmingly you will find that people are just happy. Happy to be there and happy to see you.

“We live in one of the most tolerant countries on the planet, and whether I’m walking by myself or with the family, I’ve never felt anything other than welcome.

“The more people we can spread the word to, that walking is healthy and wonderful and normal, the fewer barriers there will be.

“And the more conversations people have when they’re outdoors, the more they will feel it’s a place where they belong.”

“Just little chats. But they make a big difference.”

In June 2020, Countryfile looked at independent research from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs.

It highlighted how long-held this impression of the countryside has existed within Asian communities in the UK.

The study discovered that because the countryside is a “white environment”, people from ethnic minorities feel uncomfortable there.

Host Ellie Harrison later claimed that the British countryside is racist and that white people need to accept the advantages they have had historically.

The Peak District, which spans Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, South West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, is thought to attract over 13 million visitors annually.

Fifty million people live within a four-hour drive of the scenic location, while 20 million people reside within an hour.

Nihal Arthanayake is the author, broadcaster and the star of BBC 4’s Winter Walks.

In 1999, he landed his first television position as the live host of BBC Two’s Webwise.

The radio personality then had the chance to replace Chris Moyles, who was hosting BBC Radio 1 at the time.

Ilsa is a digital marketeer and journalist. Her interests include politics, literature, religion and football. Her motto is “Give people their flowers whilst they’re still around to smell them.”