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A study by Louise Elliott, a land agent for Savills, suggests that the parents of about half of people in farming communities met via Young Farmers and a quarter were introduced by a farming friend.
Young Farmers is still going strong: Anna Skilbeck, 23, a farm conservation adviser, has been a Young Farmers member since she was 14 and met her boyfriend Jamie at a Young Farmers party.
It turned out my parents knew his parents and I was friends with his brother." However, in the past five years, social networking sites have revolutionised rural dating.
"When I think of traditional dating agencies in the countryside, I imagine women in spectacles wearing tweeds and lots of underwear," says Sarah Beeny, founder of dating website My Single Friend.
When I moved back to the country it occurred to me how hard it is to meet people."It was very refreshing to be sat next to two people I didn't know," Charlotte says."But that kind of event doesn't happen every month; it takes a lot of effort to arrange." Determined to improve the chances of fresh encounters in the countryside, Lucy Reeves, 30, from Northamptonshire, founded rural matchmaking website Muddy Matches with her sister Emma in 2007.As soon as everyone starts to couple up and have children, meeting new people gets harder," she says.
Muddy Matches is an online community designed to bring together rural lonely hearts (see below).
"The downside of hunt balls and race meets is they can be cliquey," Lucy says.