Online House Hunter: Where the grass is greener
I HAD to give a wry smile when I saw Graham Norwood’s article in today’s Independent about the Dark Skies campaign. This is the fight by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and others to cut down on light pollution. My wry smile arises out of the fact that I’ve just written to my MP about my nine-month battle to have the street lights repaired outside my house.
Like most town dwellers, I equate pitch-black streets and alleyways as an invitation to vandals and criminals to come visiting. So when the lights went out in February I put all my hard-nosed investigative journalistic skills into action. But nine months later I still can’t find out who owns the lights, yet alone how to get them repaired.
I’ve not always been a townie but my short stays in the countryside have taught me it can be noisy, expensive – and lonely. Town centre noise stops when the pubs shut. In the countryside there is no licensing panel in charge of the dawn chorus or night-time terrors voiced by the wildlife. Can you imagine a life with minimal public transport, poor internet access, erratic TV reception and being cut-off from everyone in the winter? It seems many people can – and indeed dream of moving to the countryside (just think of the TV property programmes along those lines).
Graham Norwood’s article will point you in the direction of those darkest corners of Britain. They include Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Quantock Hills, Salisbury Plain, part of Lincolnshire, the Black Mountains, Yorkshire moors, parts of Northumberland and huge chunks of Scotland.
But those townies thinking of a move to the countryside need to be sure it’s right for them. First visit in the winter, is the usual advice. Calculate how much it will cost to live in the countryside (the Commission for Rural Communities has highlighted the extra cost of countryside living at ten to 20 per cent over city dwelling). And if you’re of a certain age or health consider what life will be like there in another ten or 15 years’ time.
Below are some links to websites offering advice on countryside living. Oh, and take a torch.
- Independent online property search
- Independent House & Home section
- Independent Property section
- Campaign to Protect Rural England
- Commission for Rural Communities
- Minimum Income Calculator
- Rural Stress helpline
- Communities and Local Government
- Countryside Alliance
- Natural England
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