A part of a CEH data rescue project, habitat data from the first Countryside Survey in 1978 have been digitized and are now available to download from the Countryside Survey website.
The release of the data is accompanied by a short report which describes the data rescue procedure and the background to the dataset. Converting the 1978 Countryside Survey land cover maps into digital form effectively adds a completely new survey dataset for land cover to the existing surveys carried out in 1984, 1990, 1998 and 2007. For the first time, this allows us to extend the time series of matched vegetation and Broad Habitat data back to a critical period that coincides with the culmination of post-WWII intensification of agriculture. This increases the reliability and power of the entire time-series for estimating stock and change in Broad Habitats across the full thirty year period. It will also provide new information on the impact of land-use as a driver of ecological variation in plant species composition and soils in 1978.