Rural Living

Pross
Pross Posts: 39,908
I know it gets discussed in various other threads and there are viciferous proponents for urban and rural life on here but I'm not looking for a debate on which is best as we all have our own lifestyle preferences. I prefer rural life having been born and raised in a small market town on the edge of the Black Mountains / Brecon Beacons and now living on the edge of the city where I can walk into open countryside within minutes. I enjoy getting out walking and running in the hills (even cycling when I can be bothered with the hassle of sorting out a bike!).

I've been browsing houses for sale over the last 6 months or so looking for something with a bit more land and / or a bit more rural where I can get out for long walks with the dog and basically get away from people (the biggest problem with the planet) and enjoy the peace and quiet. I saw a place yesterday that would be perfect for me. The house isn't the best I've ever seen but perfectly habitable and the location is superb. The only problem is that it is properly rural (not the Surrey Commuter definition), located in a dead end valley in the Black Mountains. It is somewhere around the dot here https://goo.gl/maps/XkH4YRUsD7bqdcrz7 but I can't even work out which house it is exactly from Streetview as I think it is set back from the 'main' road which is actually a single track lane. I showed it to the wife expecting a response that it is too isolated but she seemed to actually quite like it. She would be the one most affected by moving there though as she is about to start a new role that requires her to be in the office most days and while it would only be a 30 mile drive it would take an hour, public transport is non-existent whereas there is a bus every 20 minutes from where we live now and a 15 minute £3.00 journey. From my point of view as long as I have decent internet I'm sorted so it feels selfish.

Anyway, the main point in posting is to get opinions from those who live / have lived in properly rural areas on the practicalities. In addition to the wife's journey to work it would be around 8 or 9 miles to the nearest shop and 10 miles to the nearest supermarket. Realistically we would have less than 30 years before we would have to move back somewhere resembling civilisation due to age. My wife's parents aren't in great health and currently live a mile from us and would now be the best part of an hour's drive away (although my parents would be closer). The area doesn't often get heavy snow but I'm guessing something like we had in 2018 would leave us cut off for a few days unless the nearby reservoir is critical enough that access needs to be kept clear. In reality I suspect there's less than 10% chance that we will even view the place but it would be good to get an idea of the realities of genuine rural living.
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Comments

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,301
    Too rural even for me.
    There are only two opinions that count though.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 25,999
    Roads around there are appalling this year. Not sure what cycling round there would be like just now, but a few years ago it was lovely to go for an evening ride from Abergavenny.

    There's at least three really decent restaurants I know of within 30-40 minutes of there, plus whatever is still decent in Crickhowell so not completely cut off from civilisation (when you aren't completely cut off).
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,317
    My parents live very rurally, but they are retired so have lots of time to enjoy the area, grow veg and garden. If you are both working (even if only one of you needs to commute) it doesn't sound so good as you have the downsides such as a long commute and limited services, but less opportunity to enjoy the upsides.

    Also, if you are working and realise you have run out of milk for a cup of tea, what would you do? Be annoyed, wait for your wife to deliver or go for a lengthy drive?

    My parents still have a village shop/post office even though the population is tiny.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 39,908
    Yeah, I know the area really well. My main concern would be the things you don't even think about like going to the shop if you run out of milk or toilet paper. At present it's a 100m walk whereas this would be 8-9 miles on mainly country lanes. If there was a village with basic facilities within a mile of so it would be more practical. There are houses in the area where you on on a hillside with loads of empty space around you but where you could walk into the nearest town if necessary. Problem is there obviously aren't many of them, there was one I loved that was SSTC when I first started looking that was in my price range but nothing since.
  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 25,999
    Open a pack of UHT out of the cupboard.
  • Dorset_Boy
    Dorset_Boy Posts: 6,754
    That's proper rural (isolated).
    How long will your wife be happy doing a 30 mile commute in all weathers? Spending 2+ hours of her day commuting....
    Running out of stuff can be planned for by having a bigger freezer, so an emergency pint in there!
    Being that remote, will the internet connection actually be any good?
    Likewise the mobile reception.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 39,908
    Thanks both, all similart things to what I was thinking. Not sure what internet would be like out there but would probably be worth going for Starlink. I can't remember what mobile signal has been like up there when I've been walking, that said it's useless in my current suburban house, we can get texts and make calls but the signal drops all the time so we have to use Wi-Fi calling for any kind of consistency. The daily travelling is the main one, not a good place to break down either.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 39,908
    The other issue is it is a semi-detached place (I think the other half is also on the market but significantly more expensive so doesn't show in my searches). It wouldn't be great being that isolated if you don't get on with the neighbour!
  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 25,999
    Pross said:

    The other issue is it is a semi-detached place (I think the other half is also on the market but significantly more expensive so doesn't show in my searches). It wouldn't be great being that isolated if you don't get on with the neighbour!

    It's a no from me.
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    Strangely my in-laws did a similar move when they were 60'ish to proper rural Shropshire (similar distance from the border) and loved their time there but moved back to civilisation when 70'ish to forward planning about health and remoteness. hey lived there for 13 years and have no regrets.

    It was a 7 mile drive to a pint of milk but they seemed to do it most days for a change of scenery.

    I would be amazed if your wife could sustain a 30 mile (one hour) commute most days.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Horderley,+Craven+Arms+SY7+8HP/@52.4761222,-2.8925546,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x48701215f2572a4f:0xf2eed76a9f899495!8m2!3d52.476124!4d-2.875045!16s/g/1hjgj6ds9
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,709
    pblakeney said:

    Too rural even for me.
    There are only two opinions that count though.

    Ugo and Rick ?

    Personally I say go for it - we are only here once (possibly - depending on your religious view) and worst case is you move again in a few years.

    Smallest place I've ever lived was Colchester so I am speaking from a position of ignorance but I'd like to try something similar at some point - as with you elderly parents and wife's work being the major impediments.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 71,713

    pblakeney said:

    Too rural even for me.
    There are only two opinions that count though.

    Ugo and Rick ?

    .
    😜I think he meant him and the missus.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 39,908

    Strangely my in-laws did a similar move when they were 60'ish to proper rural Shropshire (similar distance from the border) and loved their time there but moved back to civilisation when 70'ish to forward planning about health and remoteness. hey lived there for 13 years and have no regrets.

    It was a 7 mile drive to a pint of milk but they seemed to do it most days for a change of scenery.

    I would be amazed if your wife could sustain a 30 mile (one hour) commute most days.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Horderley,+Craven+Arms+SY7+8HP/@52.4761222,-2.8925546,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x48701215f2572a4f:0xf2eed76a9f899495!8m2!3d52.476124!4d-2.875045!16s/g/1hjgj6ds9

    Yeah, I've done that sort of commute for much of the last 20 odd years but it feels different in this situation. I'm erring towards it not being the right move, if it was just me I'd already have booked a viewing but I'm pretty sure it would drive the wife mad and we'd be looking to move again within a year or so (and I always swore I'd never move again when we came to our current place 23 years ago).
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    Pross said:

    Strangely my in-laws did a similar move when they were 60'ish to proper rural Shropshire (similar distance from the border) and loved their time there but moved back to civilisation when 70'ish to forward planning about health and remoteness. hey lived there for 13 years and have no regrets.

    It was a 7 mile drive to a pint of milk but they seemed to do it most days for a change of scenery.

    I would be amazed if your wife could sustain a 30 mile (one hour) commute most days.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Horderley,+Craven+Arms+SY7+8HP/@52.4761222,-2.8925546,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x48701215f2572a4f:0xf2eed76a9f899495!8m2!3d52.476124!4d-2.875045!16s/g/1hjgj6ds9

    Yeah, I've done that sort of commute for much of the last 20 odd years but it feels different in this situation. I'm erring towards it not being the right move, if it was just me I'd already have booked a viewing but I'm pretty sure it would drive the wife mad and we'd be looking to move again within a year or so (and I always swore I'd never move again when we came to our current place 23 years ago).
    Assuming you are 50ish maybe the right move at the wrong time. Why not discuss with the missus it being something you could do when retired or semi retired. I (and the in-laws) have moved around a lot so ten years in one place is a long time.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 39,908
    She would have us down near the coast in West Wales (well, Cornwall preferably but West Wales offers a lot of house for your money) given a chance. The whole browsing houses started with her looking at that last summer. It was only that I pointed out that we would be moving away from her parents when they are starting to rely on her and that we'd be giving up what little social life we have which stopped us taking it further.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    I think the practical considerations of aging parents would put me off.

    Have experienced it a bit myself of late (only mildly) but am wary of how the next 10 years or so unfold.

    My boss was at her mum and dads endlessly in her parents last 2-3 years.
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,436
    I did proper rural living back in the 80s, when I was young. An hour's walk to the nearest pub or (crappy) village shop, and though the isolation and views (out over Dartmoor) were fantastic, after six years of being utterly reliant on driving to get anywhere at all, and planning food stocks carefully, so I didn't get caught out on essentials, I'd had enough.

    In Topsham, I'm right in the middle of the old part of the town, and though it's wonderfully quiet, I can walk to a good Co-op in five minutes, and have trains, buses, and the M5 is ten minutes away. In France I am in a tiny village, and though it feels like the back of beyond, its only ten minutes ride away from a decent town with three supermarkets and twice-weekly food market. I'd not even dream of living in some of the isolated villages further out and further up: again, they must be utterly reliant on cars, and the winters must get pretty grim.

    I'd not do the properly rural thing again, especially as I'm not as young and resilient as I once was...
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,301
    Pross said:

    The other issue is it is a semi-detached place (I think the other half is also on the market but significantly more expensive so doesn't show in my searches). It wouldn't be great being that isolated if you don't get on with the neighbour!

    That’s a nope.
    Main draw for rural would be detached.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    pblakeney said:

    Pross said:

    The other issue is it is a semi-detached place (I think the other half is also on the market but significantly more expensive so doesn't show in my searches). It wouldn't be great being that isolated if you don't get on with the neighbour!

    That’s a nope.
    Main draw for rural would be detached.
    Yes, it’s almost like the worst of both worlds.

    Massively magnified by there being no common ‘other’ to unite against.

    Any neighbourly frustration is going one way and one way only.
  • Sounds reasonably rural, not too bad with a small shop not too far away, loads of places like that here in the Borders. You need to be a bit more planned with your shopping and keep a wee stock of essentials and a back up for power cuts and getting snowed in.
    The main thing is accepting that nothing is a short walk or bike ride away.
    We have shops 4 miles away and a pub just over a mile away, so best of both worlds!
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,364
    Check who delivers to the door. If you can't get Amazon and goceries etc it will be a PITA having to travel 40 mins round trip for shopping. If one or other of you is out most days, that's when you get milk or emergency wine. You get used to asking before you get home....

    Only the two of you know whether you care about having conveniences within walking distance, or whether a long commute is tolerable.

    In Wales I can't see snow and ice being that common a problem, but if the place is high up perhaps it would be - in which case what sort of car have you got? If you need to go to the office do you have a plan B? In winter until a few years ago, my only plan B was studded mtb tyres and a hellish long cycle in, which is...um... tiring.

    Other things to consider - heating will be more expensive potentially much more if you are on oil, possibly you will also be on private drainage and what's that like. Is it leaky as all hell? Or are the bacteria dead so it needs pumping all the time? Who are you sharing with? You will also have to check the broadband speeds available, phone signal, that sort of thing. Because I can almost guarantee that the DAB and Freeview signal will be pish in a valley.

    Also, if you are in the cuntry your neighbours become disproportionately significant. That is what I have found the hardest. There is NO anonymity in the same way as you get on a residential street. It is gossip central even in our local village. There are people there who know me who I have never met.

    And farmers. Watch out for them. It is a condition of being in the NFU to be sociopathic, I think.
  • orraloon
    orraloon Posts: 12,540
    Pross said:

    The other issue is it is a semi-detached place (I think the other half is also on the market but significantly more expensive so doesn't show in my searches). It wouldn't be great being that isolated if you don't get on with the neighbour!

    Would be 'interesting' if the other half of the building gets sold to some 2nd plus homeowner who then turns it into an airbnb paaartay venue.
  • slowmart
    slowmart Posts: 4,468
    We moved to a cottage on the Welsh shropshire border in the late 90’s our nearest neighbour was just over a mile away and the country lane was 3/4 of a mile on a bumpy track.

    The benefits, no noise or light pollution.
    I can’t over empathise the peace and quiet and ho beneficial ,it was for the soul.
    Even though the homes were spread out geologically, the community spirt was the strongest we experienced and diametrically opposed to living on an estate.
    We had private spring water

    We had to watch supplies and ensure we stocked up before bad weather but it’s no big deal and once you adjust to the location it’s easily manageable and if you forget something you learn to make do.

    We moved back to village life due to young family.

    Would I go back yes, but we both have one surviving parent each who aren’t in the best of health and being geographically close is a massive benefit. Unfortunately that’s only the case with one parent..

    Oh and a top tip, don’t cut the grass in just your boots and nothing else as I can guarantee a load of walkers from the village will walk past. You’ll find there nothing you can do other say good morning and carry on cutting the grass thinking you’ll smile about the situation in a few years .
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • wavefront
    wavefront Posts: 397
    Apols for v long post……The year before last I moved from a semi rural location in Surrey, to a rural location back ‘home’ in north east Scotland an hour away from Aberdeen, on the edge of the Cairngorms. I can certainly say it’s been a brilliant adventure and my wife and I are loving it!

    Our context : We now live in the middle of a forest on the top of a hill, 2 miles from the nearest village which has a small parade of shops and a pub. My wife and I work from home (no kids) so we can often go a whole week with out going out the house but we’re lucky that we have a few acres so we don’t feel at all cramped or get cabin fever. The huge upside is the wildlife and setting - we have a family of deer living with us, and a menagerie of wild animals that all have names and we go for daily walks around the hill and forest or down to the river. As the access farm track is a mile long we did get snowed ‘out’ over the winter so have now bought an old defender to cope with the challenges the area throws up.

    What we’ve learnt:

    Prioritise essentials. If you have a wood burner get your wood dry. And keep on top of making sure it’s all dry for winter.

    Our water supply comes off a hill. It goes through a filter and a UV system, but as it is a direct feed, when the spring ran dry (first time ever last year) we ran out of water. Get a tank installed to act as a buffer so you don’t run out.

    Keep on top of your oil. Start to plan deliveries so you don’t get yourself in a stupid situation where you run out. Like we did. Twice.

    Check the septic tank and make sure it’s maintained. A good one will last forever and not need maintenance but be careful what you put down the sink.

    Managing and keeping on top of a few acres of land is time consuming and costly. Even replacing the odd fence post can use up a day.

    Make friends with the positie and couriers. They now take mail away for posting for us so it saves us a journey out to the village.

    It can be slightly lonely but my wife and I are best friends so it’s never a chore being together. When you find yourself chatting to the postman and telling him everything that’s happening then you know you need to get out.

    Internet can be fast in the middle of nowhere. We lucked out and have the fastest f/o connection possible, faster than when we lived just outside London.

    If it’s a rural property that remote it’s likely old and will need more insulation or heating. Budget for it.

    Playing loud music at midnight if you so wish doesn’t annoy anyone!

    You’ll plan your outings or visits so lists become important. You can’t just ‘nip’ down the shops.

    We can still get internet shopping so we make very good use of it…. Though when the snow comes they can’t. So get yourself stocked up with an emergency food cupboard.

    Taking the rubbish / recycling down the drive every other day can be a pain but we’ve now got a routine.

    If you don’t like animals in your house then don’t go rural! (Bats. mice, flying ants, bugs, pheasants….etc) And you’ll have to face up to removing the occasional dead animal on the grounds.

    Powercuts can be frequent. Plan for these. A bull in a neighbours farm knocked over our electricity pylon in the summer and left us high and dry for a day.

    If I didn’t have a car, I don’t think it’d be an issue to get to shops and back on my bike or walk, but it would be impossible if I had a commute to do to using public transport / cycling.

    Get to know the community - they’ll have your back when you need support.

    Check what you’re responsible for maintaining. Access tracks are often shared responsibility, and potholes appear really quickly after bad weather. If you have a car, is it up to a ‘hammering’.

    And expect more visitors. We’ve had more friends come and stay this past year than we did in 15years in Surrey!

    There is plenty more to add, and don’t know if I’ve answered anything for you, but we feel like we’ve won life’s lottery and pinch ourselves every day and haven’t looked back.But it’s not for everybody!

  • orraloon
    orraloon Posts: 12,540
    Far aboot are ye wavefront? (This from an Aiberdeenshire / Morayshire chiel). Speyside?

    I had 10 years in Central Scotland at university and first jobs, then spent more than half my life based in Oxfordshire. Approaching the 1st anniversary of buying my last? project / current house, in SW Homeland; on edge of market town, short walking distance to shops etc, grand views, easy access to v quiet biking routes. Ticks a lot of my boxes.
  • wavefront
    wavefront Posts: 397
    orraloon said:

    Far aboot are ye wavefront? (This from an Aiberdeenshire / Morayshire chiel). Speyside?

    I had 10 years in Central Scotland at university and first jobs, then spent more than half my life based in Oxfordshire. Approaching the 1st anniversary of buying my last? project / current house, in SW Homeland; on edge of market town, short walking distance to shops etc, grand views, easy access to v quiet biking routes. Ticks a lot of my boxes.

    Ye fae Aberdeenshire an na? Far aboots ? Div ye ken Aboyne in Deeside? I bide in a wee hoosey twa miles north fae Aboyne. I bided in Banchory as a bairn, afore I flitted tae London. (No clue why I’m writing in Doric as I’ve lost my accent completely!)

    Good to hear you’re back in the homeland and enjoying it!!!
  • orraloon
    orraloon Posts: 12,540
    wavefront said:

    orraloon said:

    Far aboot are ye wavefront? (This from an Aiberdeenshire / Morayshire chiel). Speyside?

    I had 10 years in Central Scotland at university and first jobs, then spent more than half my life based in Oxfordshire. Approaching the 1st anniversary of buying my last? project / current house, in SW Homeland; on edge of market town, short walking distance to shops etc, grand views, easy access to v quiet biking routes. Ticks a lot of my boxes.

    Ye fae Aberdeenshire an na? Far aboots ? Div ye ken Aboyne in Deeside? I bide in a wee hoosey twa miles north fae Aboyne. I bided in Banchory as a bairn, afore I flitted tae London. (No clue why I’m writing in Doric as I’ve lost my accent completely!)

    Good to hear you’re back in the homeland and enjoying it!!!
    Aye min, born in Torphins, lived in Aboyne until I was 3 so don't recall that much about the place. Faither wiz a local bobby and we bided in the upstairs flat o' the polis station. Did take him back for a re-visit some years ago.

    Accents do come back 😉
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,301
    orraloon said:



    Accents do come back 😉

    When I flew back from Canada for Christmas I physically felt my throat and vocal cords changing while chatting with the taxi driver.

    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • My SIL lives in Cushnie, some good cycling roads round there.
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 57,817
    Although I don't live somewhere 'properly' rural in the way you describe and never have, we made the conscious decision when we moved out of the burbs to be within easy striking distance of towns, amenities etc as the day to day issues of living well out of town were not what we were prepared to put up with long term. It's usually possible to get peace, space and the other benefits of not being in towns or cities etc without being miles from anywhere, even in the South East.

    I also need to be about 50% of the time which was also a factor.

    But each to their own as usual.

    Also agree with what others have said about not going for a semi detached if you want to do this.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]