Why Moving To The Country Might Be Wrong For You

Photo by Simon Godfrey on Unsplash

Many people are considering a move to the countryside. With city problems like air pollution, traffic noise, congestion, knife crime and now corona virus restrictions, it is hardly surprising. However, selling up and moving out of town may lead to a whole host of new problems.

I was brought up on a small farm in Cornwall, and although I now live in a coastal town, I am still only five minutes away from farms and fields. Being in this corner of the UK, I see quite a few people moving here from large towns and cities. Although a lot come to retire, there are now many younger families looking for a new life. Some have been to the south west before, usually on holiday or to visit friends, but others just decide to move without doing any research at all.

I guess the countryside looks great in brochures or on the television, but moving lock, stock and barrel is a lot different to a weeks holiday. I can only base my comments on Cornwall, as that is where I have lived all my life. However, moving to a house in the countryside of Wales, Scotland or the Lake District will still have similar issues to those I have listed below.

No friends or family

Unless you are returning to where you were brought up, it is unlikely you will know anyone. If you plan to work from home and if your new home is in the middle of nowhere, you could become very isolated. Even if you normally make friends easily, you may struggle to meet people, as many small villages no longer have a shop or a pub.

Weak mobile phone signal

If you have always lived in a city you are probably used to at least 4G at all times, and possibly even 5G. Things in the country are not quite so fast, and some areas have very poor reception with virtually no signal at all. It is often worth speaking to the locals, as some providers have better cover than others.

Slow broadband

Similarly to mobiles, broadband speeds vary a lot in rural areas. If you are near a town then it won’t be too bad, but if you choose a property out in the sticks, don’t expect to stream 4K movies. The telephone lines are gradually being upgraded, but many locations do not have fibre yet.

No motorways

Depending on your circumstances, you may have to travel back to a city for work or to see friends and family. This is not a problem, so long as you allow plenty of time. In Cornwall there are no motorways at all, and even the main A30 is not dual carriageway for it’s entire length, so travelling up country can take a while. Also, in the summer the little roads can become quite congested with holiday makers.

No city facilities

If you are the type who enjoys going out to a cinema, restaurant, theatre, gym, museum, club or such like, you may be disappointed. They obviously exist, but the choice will probably be smaller than you are used to, and it may involve driving a few miles to get to one of the larger towns to find what you are after.

Photo by Sam Barber on Unsplash

Strange noises and smells

The countryside is made up of lots of fields, which are owned and used by farmers. Depending on the type of farm there will be various noises and unusual smells. This may sound obvious, but there are some people who move to a property close to a farm, and then complain about tractors making too much noise or slurry spreading not smelling nice.

No choice of school

If you have children, you may be used to researching and then choosing which school to send your kids to. In the countryside there is often only one primary school which will be practical to get to, usually located in the nearest large village. Secondary schools and colleges are normally found in the towns, and again there may only be one which is close to you.

Fewer jobs, lower wages

A lot of people move to the countryside for the lifestyle and work from home, either for a large company or as their own business. However, if you plan to find work, it would make sense to secure a job before you move. Even before the current pandemic, jobs were fairly limited. Apart from some specialised industries, many jobs are linked to the holiday trade and because of this they tend to be seasonal. Also, the wages in Cornwall are very low compared to the national average.

Expensive properties

Some people may be surprised when they first look at house prices in the countryside or by the coast. Although there are variations across the county, some properties in Cornwall are among the most expensive in Britain outside of London. This is partly due to well off buyers purchasing second homes, and also rich pensioners moving to the area to retire. Unfortunately this has meant many locals can not afford to buy a house.

Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash

Quiet winters, hectic summers

Anyone thinking of moving to the countryside in a popular holiday location would be advised to visit once in the summer and again in the winter. I live on the north coast of Cornwall, and in the months from October to April it is very quiet. However, in Easter, the May bank holidays and then through the summer it becomes extremely busy. The narrow roads get clogged up with traffic, car parking is a lottery, supermarket shelves are often empty and you can never find a table in your favourite restaurant.

I am not trying to put people off, but moving to the countryside should not be done on a whim. Do your research, speak to locals and if possible, speak to someone who has moved from a city. Think about the next few years; will you have a family, what if you loose your job, do you socialise a lot?

I am used to the pros and cons of where I live, but overall I think the advantages outweigh the negatives. I appreciate the conveniences of city life may be hard to give up for some, but you can always go back for a weekend.

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