The urge to flee the crush and anxiety of the city life is as strong as ever, in spite of the recession. As you strap-hang on the tube, squeeze onto the bus, struggle to park the car near your house, remember that one in three city dwellers are dreaming of moving to the countryside.
Fear of crime looms large in the pantheon of anxieties which lead to this point, according to recent research carried out by Halifax Home Insurance. But there are other reasons to long for a better lifestyle, such as worries about poor schooling and the price of property, says Moveme.com which carried out research on 22,000 customers this year. It adds that this could lead to a “massive exodus” from the top 10 cities in the United Kingdom, especially London.
Country dwellers are well used to the sight of new arrivals. Between 1981 and 2000 the Countryside Agency saw the population of rural areas grew three times faster than urban areas. Many are middle class and middle aged, some with young families wanting the pony paddock and the pink wellies, some in search of a plot on which to grown their own fruit and vegetables and live the simple life. But increasingly the influx is becoming more ethnically diverse.
Recent trends show that people are now prepared to commute further in search of tranquillity so the 60-minute belt has extended to 90-minutes or even 120-minutes. To compensate, they are working from home one or two days a week, which is good for the local economy and a way of saving carbon emissions. Getting up with the first song of the thrush and leaving the house as dawn breaks is obviously worth it.