The Ap­peal of Coun­try Life

Spec­tac­u­lar views, wildlife or peace and quiet? Archie Hume of A Hume Out­fit­ters uses data to an­a­lyse what we re­ally love about the coun­try­side

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A t this time of year, when I’m after a bit of think­ing time I’ll wan­der out to the gar­den. Our small slice of Kelso lopes lazily down to the Tweed, where it flows slow and wide. In the evening, the air above the river is alive with in­sects, draw­ing in swal­lows, swifts and house martins who swoop and dive as they feast. This nightly aer­o­batic per­for­mance is the long­est run­ning show in town.

The spec­ta­cle never fails to lift my spir­its. I feel bet­ter sim­ply for be­ing there in view of the Tweed even if I’m not al­ways a con­scious spec­ta­tor. Even if my thoughts are a mil­lion miles away, liv­ing in close prox­im­ity to the sights and sounds of na­ture works its peace­ful magic.

Mo­ments like this help ex­plain what I love about life beyond the bright city lights. And it seems I’m not alone. Re­cently, at A Hume, we con­ducted a sur­vey to find out what’s driv­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of Brits out of cities and into ru­ral ar­eas.

We asked 10,000 peo­ple what they love most about coun­try life. Our re­sults re­veal that re­spon­dents prize, above all else, ex­actly this com­bi­na­tion of idyl­lic scenery, wildlife and tran­quil­lity. Our sur­vey found: • 52% of over­all re­spon­dents said peace and quiet was top of their agenda. • 45% of all par­tic­i­pants said they love a coun­try­side view. • A third said the chance to get up close with the wildlife is what draws them to the coun­try­side. • For many, it’s the ap­peal of the coun­try pub, with one in four peo­ple say­ing this is what they love most about spend­ing time in the sticks. • 20% said a lack of traf­fic is their favourite thing about es­cap­ing ur­ban ar­eas.

Per­son­ally, the re­sults res­onate with all I love about coun­try life. It was heart­en­ing that an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for na­ture and the coun­try­side tran­scended both age and gen­der. Both 45% of men, aged 25-34 and 55% of women, aged 45-54 said the chance to get close to na­ture draws them to the coun­try­side.

The sur­vey also of­fers in­ter­est­ing in­sights for any­one with an in­ter­est in sus­tain­ing a vi­brant so­cial, cul­tural and eco­nomic fu­ture for ru­ral ar­eas. There’s ev­ery rea­son for coun­try pub­li­cans to feel op­ti­mistic about re­spon­dents’ at­tach­ment to coun­try pubs. And good news for lo­cal food pro­duc­ers too, with 17% of all re­spon­dents say­ing the avail­abil­ity of good lo­cal grub was a top pri­or­ity. Over­all,there­sultsindi­cateth­een­duringap­pealoflife­inthe­coun­try which­canonly­be­good­forallo­fus.

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