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Old 09-15-2010, 11:56 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Britain is so small that most places in the country are no more than a half an hour drive from a major city. I'm wondering if the country way of life - village greens, quaint dialects etc is dying out. Is living in the country just like living in the city with prettier scenery and less congestion? Do most rural areas feel more like low density urban areas than more remote parts of the US and Australia?

I still have this dream of living in an ivy-covered cottage somewhere in rural England, so I'm hoping the rustic charms of rural England and the rest of the UK aren't disappearing.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:41 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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Not at all. As an American who moved to England, I was shocked by the lack of "sprawling suburbs" that are so common in the US and I'm always raving about how beautiful the countryside is here. The country side is not congested at all - although it's spotted with little towns and villages, they are often beautiful, quaint and historic. Camping, walking and hiking through rural areas is a common hobby for many and a great way to see the country side. Check out: www.go4awalk.co.uk and Landscapes and scenery - English countrysides : Enjoy England

There's also dozens of flickr groups for English/UK countryside pictures - check out:
Flickr: English Countryside (http://www.flickr.com/groups/1393020@N23/ - broken link)
Flickr: Countryside pics (http://www.flickr.com/groups/1054366@N23/ - broken link)
Flickr: British Countryside (http://www.flickr.com/groups/british-countryside/ - broken link)
Flickr: English Landscapes (http://www.flickr.com/groups/377537@N21/ - broken link)

Here's one specifically for English cottages:
Flickr: Cottages, English (http://www.flickr.com/groups/83967163@N00/ - broken link)
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:23 AM
 
Location: England.
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Probably depends where you look.

Not many quaint dialects in my part of the country thanks to the influence of estuary English and television, although you do hear the occasional elderly person up north or out west talking in a disappearing accent.

My large village once had a dozen shops ranging from front rooms selling a few nick nacks, to butchers, a tailor, and even a flea-pit cinema. Today there is one shop/post office, and one pub/restaurant, both doing quite well. Many villages don't even have that. Probably the biggest change is housing pressure from nearby towns because everyone (like me) wants to live here to raise children, so any central farms and gaps between houses are developed for housing, giving a slightly suburban feel. Very few people work on the land due to mechanisation, so they commute to nearby towns and industrial estates. We have a huge recreation ground and play area for kids and the primary school is very popular. There is an OK bus service due to being between two big towns, but again many villages don't have this any more. The church is a Victorian chapel, while the pretty quaint church building in the next village is maintained by a charity. When I grew up every village had a vicar in a large rectory, but now one will cover several villages.

Times change and every generation longs for the near past, but the countryside remains a great place to live, with public footpaths criss-crossing fileds, and stuff to do if you look for it. A few minutes walk in any direction leads to open fields. Total strangers say hello in the street and help each other in a way that has disappeared from towns. I loved London but am now at an age where I would never leave my village. But if you want quaint chocolate-box picture-postcard village life, be prepared to pay a lot for it, especially if you are anywhere near London.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:07 AM
 
Location: UK ex-pat in Lanzarote, Spain
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There's a huge problem in many of the old fashioned 'chocolate box' villages in the UK with the wealthy buying up places in them as second homes. This is pricing out the local people who are farmers etc and therefore can't afford the high priced houses. It is also killing the tradational village shops as a large portion of the population only use their second home for a small part of the year. I saw a program about a guy and his family whose family had lived in Wensleydale (pretty yorksire dale village and where the cheese comes from) for over 200 years but he couldn't afford to buy a house and was also strungling to rent a house there.
There's even been debates in parliament about how the rural communities can be protected.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richt71 View Post
There's a huge problem in many of the old fashioned 'chocolate box' villages in the UK with the wealthy buying up places in them as second homes. This is pricing out the local people who are farmers etc and therefore can't afford the high priced houses. It is also killing the tradational village shops as a large portion of the population only use their second home for a small part of the year. I saw a program about a guy and his family whose family had lived in Wensleydale (pretty yorksire dale village and where the cheese comes from) for over 200 years but he couldn't afford to buy a house and was also strungling to rent a house there.
There's even been debates in parliament about how the rural communities can be protected.
We have the same problems in the Cotswolds. Too many people buying their weekend cottage or family home to commute from and driving the prices up. Oxfordshire is now one of the most expensive places to buy in England.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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If you can do without the thatched cottages (very expensive to keep roofed) and the roses round the door type stuff, there are lots of good places all over Britain, but they get costlier the nearer you are to a big town/the more well-known the scenery.
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:16 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Bit of a shame, those rich people who want a weekend getaway buying it up for 'investment', familiar story. I guess being Australian the UK seems so small: I live in the country myself, in an area reminiscent of rural England, and I drive the same distance from London to Manchester up to once a fortnight. I expected that urban influence would be so strong that these rural areas would be losing their character.
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:31 AM
 
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I have done some work in Norfolk, it may have the issue of the rich buying a second home but the villages and countryside around there are probably just what you are after. As long as you don't mind being surrounded by predominantly pensioners that is.
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:36 PM
 
14,256 posts, read 16,701,796 times
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This should give you a fuller understanding of country life in England:

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2d0phypLrg&feature=fvw
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Birmingham, UK
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Personally speaking, I would say that village life is very different to how it was a few years ago. Many chain stores have now practically killed the classic "corner shop" outlook at villages used to offer. Before moving to Birmingham for university studies I was living in South Devon, in a place called Buckfastleigh. Having lived there since 1996 it's quite amazing how many shops have closed down simply because they cannot get enough business to survive. It's sad really, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's a story replicated throughout the country. The big supermarkets like Tesco and Asda I would say are mostly to blame, as if they go and park themselves on the outside of a few villages, that then makes the stores in the communities pretty much redundant.

As for the countryside, it's magnificent. Devon is fantastic, as is the whole of the South West. Really picturesque. Not too tourisy either. Despite this i'm looking to live in America when I graduate, but that's only because I feel there are far more opportunities for me in my chosen career.

Hopefully that answers your question a bit.
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