Pros & Cons of Living In A Village(32 Posts)
Your insights please?
This is more for a friend (who is considering moving to a village outside London) but it will be useful for me too, in a few years.
I live and work in London ATM - and apart from the cosmopolitan vibe, I feel - irrationally - that I'll be missing out on something if I do move now. Good jobs, eligible men , meeting friends on the spur of the moment etc.
I grew up in the sticks - hated it.
Cost a fortune to get a taxi home from anywhere, can't get a chinese or a pizza delivered, 10 mins drive to get milk when its snowing, totally reliant on car - I used to feel like I was under house arrest when mine was in the garage.
Currently live near a town centre and would rather live in a nicer area but still on the outskirts of a town really.
Moved to a smallish village in SW from London 12 years ago.
I hated it for the first two years and found the way of life very difficult to fit in to - fortunately having children and dogs helped that process.
Youngest children had freedoms we could never have let them have living in Hackney - and could join cubs (and other groups) without having to go on a waiting list for 4 years!
Gossipy - everyone knows everyone elses business, and discusses it in the playground, shop, pub or whereever else
Travel distance to secondary level school - a problem if you don't want to local option
Only 1 supermarket within easy travelling distance (4 miles) and one small village shop
No-one delivers takeaway food here - that was probably the hardest!!
Running up fields with dogs at your leisure, in pyjamas, full privacy, like I just did.
Having a very pretty horse in the yard
Fresh eggs for a good price sold from quite a few peoples properties. Ppl just have egg boxes at the front of their garden where you take the ones you want they trust you to put your coins in.
The local nursery and school seemingly having all the time in the world to deal with whatever DCs needs are.
losing car keys, and the world come to a halt because of it.
Again, waiting on DH to drive you to shops if you don't drive.
Nearest bus stop 3 miles away.
Everyone knows everything about you.
I grew up in a small village. Headed for the bright lights of the city as an adult and then headed back to the sticks.
I was very lucky, my parents had a big house with a massive garden, there was a primary school in the village that I could walk to, the garden would occasionally be invaded by cows, the odd donkey, sometimes a deer would venture up to the house. The flora would explode into life come spring. There were certainly transport issues, and some of the neighbours were arses, but overall I wouldn't have changed it for anything.
Living in the big city was great as a young man with spare cash, but ultimately I felt I wasn't seeing any real change in seasons other than the weather, it felt claustrophobic, the streets were dirty and it took hours to get out into the green fields and woods that I loved.
Seeing my daughter 2.5 run joyously into wide open spaces and wade through swathes of bluebell carpeted woodland, exploring bug filled tree trunks, and choosing the stick of the day fills me and her with joy.
I think where in the countryside one moves to makes all the difference. I'm sure it can be very isolating for some. But get it right and it can be idyllic.
Is it a real village i.e. lots of people who live and work locally and lots of families who have lived there for generations. Or a commuter village? If the former:
great sense of community
lots of people who help each other out
Everyone knows your business
Lots of gossip about everyone including you
You will be seen as an outsider.
I read that children who live in the countryside walk less than children who live in the City. Basically because of rural roads that some people tear down at such a speed that it is very dangerous for pedestrians walking on the road - no footpaths remember.
Our nearest big village is three miles away so the delivery of takeaways is possible happen here (our chinese takeaway know our name and address by heart).
Agree with others about the kids being freer to roam at will, build dens, etc.
No public transport or shop here but we soon got used to it and do the weekly shop accordingly.
Sainsburys/Tesco/Ocado all deliver here now so that's no longer a problem.
Kids were bussed into and out of school, that can make you feel out of touch with what's going on at school.
Our electricity and water supplies are both at the end of the line so can be tempermental sometimes. Ditto the phone line, we've only just got broadband, it's probably not the fastest speeds ever but by God do we love it!
We've only got one road into and out of the village, if that's blocked for some reason it means a 19 mile detour to get home. Not great when it's late and night, you're tired and dying for a wee.
GSter has it exactly right with "I think where in the countryside one moves to makes all the difference. I'm sure it can be very isolating for some. But get it right and it can be idyllic."
I do definitely appreciate that a great many people find village life isolating, depressing, suffocating, and lots more negative "ings"...but our experience has been the exact opposite. It's been only the most positive "ings" - liberating, welcoming, relaxing...
Maybe that's because it's not an English village...? <waiting for the flack emoticon>
Oh, and just as an aside, as it's not really part of the original discussion at all, but prompted by lesley33's comment - my kids walk far more than any of their city dwelling friends! Ds2 was 2.5 when we moved from the city - the next Spring, at just turned 3, he was happily walking 10 km walks (by choice - we carried the empty back-carrier the whole way!) Ds1 is 11 and his class are getting ready to go on their school camping trip; hiking the Berg Lake trail (22km each way, and 2,380' elevation gain!)
Living in the country is essentially far more time consuming. Take the last village i lived in .....
10 miles to nearest petrol station
8 miles to GP
20 miles to dentist
cinema - 1 hour drive
didn't have a take away the whole time we lived there .... would be far too cold by the time it got home or got soggy in the cool box .... yuk!
No gas supply
frquent power cuts in stormy weather
car use was essential
But DS loved it. Plenty of space to run around, village orchard for free apple supply, a beck for playing pooh sticks.
I really miss it now I'm living in a town
Everyone doesn't have to know your business if you don't tell them... but they'll probably make something up. It depends on the village, the way I approach it is to mock.
All the cons listed are perfectly right, but I LIKE it!
We're lucky where we are though, there's 2 major cities within an hour, and two smaller ones within 20 minutes but we feel like we're in the middle of nowhere... we have a great pub in the village so night's out are still a decent standard foord wise (the decor is something else) we're still close enough to civilisation to be there quickly, but I haven't had the urge since late March as I've been too busy with my veg patch. I'm not looking forward to wearing real shoes either, I spend my life in flip flops.
I grew up in a village, was great when we were small and at the village school, but once we were at the secondary school miles away it was rubbish - virtually non existant bus service meant relying on endless lifts. my dad spent most of a decade just driving us about.
It depends on the village. Some are extremely insular. Some more cosmopolitan. You would have to research the actual village...
Thank you all ....
Lesley33 - Orsett, Grays in Essex? Is that a village proper or commuter village?
I think it's important to find the right village. If you get one with a great sense of community, stunning countryside and a nice bunch of friends, then you put up with having to drive everywhere and all the other cons.
We've lived in various villages for the last ten years or so and are starting to feel that we would benefit from being in a small market town. One where we can walk the kids to school, go to the cinema (without it having to be an hour's round trip) and just have a bit more around us. It's quite a hard choice to make tho' as our DSs enjoy nothing more than charging around in the fields behind us.
The village we live in doesn't have a strong sense of community and our friends are a fairly disparate bunch of people that sometimes socialise together.
I don't know Essex so I can't answer that question. But I think it makes a difference. Some people would prefer a commuter village as potentially more people like themselves. But I think they will have different characteristics.
I wasn't saying everyone who lives in a village doesn't walk miles,of course some people do. My statement was based on research the government did about exercise and children which found overall children who live in villages walk less than children who live in cities. But of course it will vary for individuals.
I think village life can be tough if you are different from those there e.g. hippy alternative in a traditional village, transgender, etc. If you fit in though, you are much more likely to feel part of a community.
Lots of cons can also be pros and vice versa - it depends on what you are looking for. For example, pro - a slower way of life with for example assistant in village shop happy to chat away for a while with whoever she is serving. Con - being in a queue in a village shop trying to control 3 under 5's whilst assistant spends ages talking to an elderly woman she is serving.
I would think about any activities YOU like doing. I have to drive 70km to get to a decent choir. I don't mind because it's an easy drive.
You have to drive EVERYWHERE. Would it be unthinkable to consider boarding school for senior school kids?
You really have to plan your shopping and you need space to store the food.
You come to appreciate the city more.
Just because people are friendly, doesnt nec follow that they want to be friends.
If you travel a lot think about time it'll take to ge tot railway stations and how good the connections are.
I grew up the in the back end of nowhere, and if my parents didn't fancy acting as taxi drivers all weekend we would go out anywhere and hitchhike to the nearest town, get pissed and hitchhike home again. Then when someone finally passed their driving test and was given an old car, we would drive out to the nearest town, get pissed, and end up being cut of aforementioned car by the fire brigade. Villagey life is great for little children, but hell for teenagers.
Winter weather seemed magnified a hundred-fold, affecting your ability even to walk to the village store.
Summers as a small child were glorious, but only because I had the sort of parents who didn't fuss about where I was, and were rather good about my many visits to casualty. (Falling off horses; burning myself with impromptu camp fires; standing on a broken bottle hidden in gorse; gashing my face swimming in a river - you get the picture.)
I think it also depends on the size of the village. Remember village is a technical definition as to what it has / has not got, rather than size and so, in Oxfordshire for example - you could live in a small village like Alvescot with a population of about 400, or you could live in a larger village like Chinnor which has almost 6,000 people living there. There's even Kidlington, still technically a village but with a population of over 13,000.
I live mid range (technically market town, but rural and population of 3,000). For us we have the advantages of having all the main essentials within the village - we have a village shop, which is open until 9pm. But it is 10 miles to the supermarket and 5 miles to the petrol station, so big trips like this have to be planned.
With younger children, I have found that they seem to have a lot more freedom compared to the town we have not long moved from. Here, there is still a culture of going out to play, kicking your child out at 10am, and not seeing them again until tea time. If I'm lucky, she may come home for lunch. That sort of thing would never have happenned in the town. Most of the children there were not even allowed to play out in the road (It was one of the main reasons why we moved). You never saw children out playing there. However, when they get older, the children become very dependent. Our bus service is limited (two hourly at present, and is being cut further). All facilities are outside of the town, so there's a lot less for teenagers to do. Be prepared to be a taxi service - particularly in the evenings!
As for other things, I like it depends on the village and how close to civilization you are. We're not too bad, only about 10 miles from a large town, but it is still a 25 minute drive. Some villages can be smaller, but closer to town, and so have better services and so on...
We moved to a big village (pubs, proper high street and so on) We can walk to pub and shops, takes 10 mins to drive up to horses, it's big enough to not be too gossipy, but we've got to know loads of people and the children have made load of friends and have loads of freedom. I couldn't cope with a tiny village though
We live in a small town in the countryside, no busy traffic, but beautiful green hilly countryside 10 mins away, 15 mins away from the coastline, 5 mins from the high street, supermarkets, local pubs. i do feel we've got the best of both really
*It's beautiful and with a calming atmosphere.
*There is virtually no crime.
*The community is close and supportive.
*Where I live you can get fresh vegetables and fruit from nearby.
*There is virtually no noise.
*The parks/open green areas are great for children.
*Without a car you are pretty much stuck. Public transport is a nightmare and can be expensive. Getting a taxi is extremely expensive.
*There are virtually no shops, and in my village there is no cash machine.
*Sometimes news can travel fast, even if it's news you don't want to tell/people to know.
*In particular in my village religious people are the majority, and if you aren't religious it tends to make you feel somewhat uncomfortable.
That's about all I can think of at the moment.
alizee- sounds perfect.
Care to give us a clue as to where you are
so we can all come and live there?
Don't do it - villages are hell - you won't be able to fart without everyone knowing it. Villages are dying on their arses anyway - no shops, pubs, schools.
We are moving back to the beautiful much-maligned London suburbs in a few weeks after 5 years in the arse-end of nowhere and I cannot wait. Sick of the inbreds and their racist crap. Sick of the lack of amenities. Sick of having to get in a car in order to do anything. Sick of the boy racers in the country lanes. Winters are interminable ....etc etc.
Join the discussion
Please login first.