A new survey carried out by YouGov shows that rural dwellers are more likely than their city counterparts to count their neighbours as good friends. Could country living be more sociable than you thought?
The possibility of quietude, wide-open spaces and pastoral scenes makes life in the countryside an appealing prospect, but house buyers often worry that moving to the sticks could leave them isolated. However, according to new research, 39% of people living in the countryside consider their neighbours to be good friends, and 51% said they know all their closest neighbours – compared to just 32% of those in cities. In this article we examine the intricate differences of how your environment affects your interactions and how finding a home in the right area might revitalise your sense of community.
A helping hand
In a city, inhabitants are surrounded by tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people in a condensed area. However, that does not necessarily guarantee a reliable support network around you – even though, of course, many cities have rich, vibrant and diverse communities. Some city dwellers crave the hubbub and choice offered by urban living and could not imagine living beyond the city limits in more rural locales. Nevertheless, many people report having strongly positive experiences of village life due to the sense of camaraderie that arises from shared, familiar spaces. Rural areas have a tradition of neighbours helping each other out because the quick access to services can be limited compared to the faster pace of city life. This means people can have a tendency to be warm and welcoming, often prepared to really get to know each other. When you need a hand with DIY, feeding the cat or watching the kids – it’s reassuring to have neighbours that you can rely on.
A sense of community
Having friendly neighbours means it’s easy to invite people round to enjoy your home, even at short notice. There’s nothing like an evening stroll through picturesque surroundings en route to dinner at a neighbour’s house. Rural communities often can have well-established village halls that host all sorts of events ranging from the local garden club meetings to antique fairs. Historic pubs offer country charm and gastronomic feasts from local produce, drawing in regulars from your community and offering a great way to connect with those that live nearby. Check out any village Facebook groups for local supper clubs, cinema nights and BBQs.
A shared appreciation for the great outdoors cultivates a sense of community, too. For children, rural landscapes are an invitation to adventure, and they’ll quickly befriend other local youngsters as they play. It’s far easier to feel comfortable with them spending time outdoors and doing their own thing when you don’t have busy roads to worry about. Similarly, adults that enjoy recreational activities outside – such as hiking, kayaking or cycling – can use the internet to find local groups with the same interests as them, and share in the pursuits that they are passionate about.
On your doorstep
In urban areas it’s easy to maintain the same social bubble wherever you go because moving around is easier, but that can mean missing out on potential friendships right next door. Getting to know neighbours also means mixing with different kinds of people, providing a richer social experience. None of this means that you can’t have good neighbours in the city, of course. Wherever you are, they’re a real blessing. A recent study from earlier this year found that our well-being is drastically improved when we feel included in a local community.
Why not explore some of our fantastic rural properties if you are yearning for a sense of countryside community? These spacious homes are ideal for families and are located in great local neighbourhoods.
Our pick of the best country properties:
- Mizen Court is situated on the south west side of the village, within walking distance of all village amenities, Bamburgh Castle and of course Bamburgh beach. The village offers many local shops and services including Carters Butchers, one of Rick Stein's Food Heroes, coffee shops, restaurants including the Award Winning Potted Lobster which has been selected for the 2018 Michelin Guide, delicatessen, village store, greengrocers and public houses/hotels.
- Field House Barn lies within the picturesque village of Chalfont St Giles which boasts a traditional village green, a good selection of essential amenities as well as schools, pubs and restaurants. There is tremendous community spirit in Chalfont St Giles with numerous sports clubs including tennis, bowls, football & cricket. Also to be found are a variety of societies and general interest clubs. One of the eagerly awaited events is the Chalfont St Giles Show held each year at the beginning of September.