"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.

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You need to be relaxed to flirt." In an ideal world, rural dwellers would go on dates in a local town and take a taxi home, she says, but in reality it's not that simple.

Driving is an unavoidable part of living in the country and something that people like Vittoria have to accept.

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.

When I moved back to the country it occurred to me how hard it is to meet people.

As soon as everyone starts to couple up and have children, meeting new people gets harder," she says.

"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.

"The internet has opened up a fun and less embarrassing way for people to meet new people in their area." Young country dwellers also organise their social lives on Facebook. I tell as many people as possible about the website now." But the internet can't solve the problem of geography.

Tickets for the event cost from £60 and there will be a live band, three-course meal and casino.

Traditionally, the under 26- year-olds living in the country met through their local Young Farmers club.

"Find a dating buddy; someone who is in the same situation as you," she says.