NFU Mutual says 70% of rural Britons are city exiles

Zardoz tony at
Sun Jan 10 01:46:43 GMT 2010

followed by a comment piece

The grass is greener in the countryside as 70 per cent of rural Britons are city exiles

By Steve Doughty
Last updated at 8:16 AM on 07th January 2010

Seven out of ten Britons who live in rural areas are former city dwellers who have moved to the countryside in search of a better life, research shows.

Many are either urban couples who have retired to the country or younger families seeking better schools and lower crime rates.

Some wealthy couples also find themselves spending more time in rural second homes as they grow older.

The study by an insurance firm found the new arrivals are welcomed - despite alarming stories such as new residents seeking noise abatement orders against crowing cockerels.

Most of those who have migrated to the country make an effort to fit in with their new neighbours, use the local shops pubs and businesses, and find friends, the survey said.

It is also fresh evidence that the historic shift of Britain's population from countryside to city may be going into reverse.

Lindsay Sinclair, of the insurance firm NFU Mutual, said: 'The attractions of rural life for many urbanites are clear, with almost 2.4 million Britons moving to the countryside in the last five years. Those we surveyed detailed the raft of personal, well-being and lifestyle benefits that rural living brings.'

The report found three out of every ten residents in rural areas originate from cities. Another group of nearly four out of ten have moved from cities over the past five years.

One in five of those who have switched to the countryside were born and brought up in the country and have now returned.

The report dismissed the idea that townies moving to the country behave as outsiders.

Six out of ten of new arrivals say they talk to their neighbours more and 40 per cent of established rural residents say new residents try to fit in. 

Wet dogs, log fires, a joint in the Aga and the village pub a tipsy stroll away. Real country life? No, just this townie's oh-so foolish fantasy

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