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If you're thinking about relocating, whether permanently or just a holiday home, the countryside has something to offer everyone. From clean air to fresh local produce, here's our glimpse of the life that awaits you.
A BREATH OF CLEAN AIR
When it's a beautiful day, a brisk walk in the countryside really lightens the mood. As you inhale the fresh air, you feel your body relax and your mind start to clear. Walking outdoors has many benefits for your physical and mental health. Did you know fresh air improves cardiovascular health and can improve energy by 90 percent? And being in nature also provides an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connect with the world around us.
Many country-dwellers have a dog (or two) to accompany them on walks, plus their delight when out walking is a real motivator for you to get going too. The countryside even offers different scents depending on the time of day - the morning may offer a misty, cool air to enjoy as the sun rises over the dewy fields, the afternoon air can be warm and still as you smell the fresh hay or grass cuttings, and the evening offers a crisp, smoky scent, especially in the Autumn.
The countryside has an abundance of wildlife which can be admired while on a peaceful walk. Hearing birds chirping in the hedgerows or spotting pheasants in the fields is a simple, but very lovely, treat.
You will often get chatting to fellow walkers while out and about. This is a great time to talk about your favourite walking routes, share photography and make friends. If you prefer alone-time while on your walk, there are plenty of places to rest and read a book in the sun or find a quiet spot near a stream to listen to the gentle flow of water. Often, you can spot a pair of ducks paddling by (if you're lucky the ducks will be replaced with swans), or the occasional fish swimming down the current.
Many parts of the countryside offer trails which you can follow to get the most impressive views or take you to routes to other villages where you can stop and explore.
BEAUTIFUL HILLS AND STREAMS
The countryside can provide many opportunities for exercise that's not available in an urban environment. Biking is a popular activity that can be enjoyed, allowing us to get all the fresh air we mentioned and take in the beauty of our surroundings. It also offers a chance to get your heart rate up and burn some calories. And there’s no better place to do this than in the countryside. With its winding roads and scenic views, it's a cyclist's paradise. Conquering the outdoors can also be a challenge, especially if you’re not used to riding in hilly terrain. This is where the real fun begins.
Pushing yourself to conquer a tough climb is an incredible feeling, and it’s one that can only be experienced by taking on the challenge of cycling on the open lanes. For those of us that need a helping hand, electric bikes are becoming very popular for a little help on the extra tough hills. And don't be afraid to take breaks along the way (there's always a welcoming pub or tea shop on the main routes) and be sure to bring plenty of water. In addition, one thing to love about our countryside is it’s less busy than neighbouring urban areas, meaning you won’t be disturbed by traffic lights, long queues or pedestrians crossing the road without looking (meeting new people is great, but not while cycling at 20mph on a road!).
Basking in the sun has long been known to have a positive effect on mental health. The sun is a source of Vitamin D, which is essential for brain health. In addition, the sun's rays can help to improve mood and reduce stress levels. Spending time in the sun can also help to increase levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that is linked to happiness and well-being. Even if you don’t want a tan, people in the countryside can get the benefit of more sun because there are no towering buildings to block out the rays (please don’t forget to wear sunscreen though).
Greenery is also known to have a positive effect on mental health. Studies have shown that spending time observing nature can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Being around plants and greenery has also been linked to improved concentration and memory. In addition, exposure to nature can help to increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, brain chemicals that are associated with happiness and well-being. As a result, spending time in the sun and around green spaces can be an effective way to improve our mental health.
DELICIOUS FRESH PRODUCE
There's nothing quite like the food in the countryside, with a variety of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables to tempt your tastebuds. And, when you're craving something delicious, there's nothing better than a trip to your local artisan food store to indulge in some fresh baked goods with a cup of tea in the garden. A member of our team buys extra mature cheddar every week from the local store but maybe you have more of a sweet tooth and prefer a batch of freshly baked scones with cool clotted cream. Plus, you have the added benefit of supporting local businesses and farmers.
The countryside is the perfect place to get away from it all and unwind. There are so many benefits to exploring the great outdoors, from improving mental health to getting a workout. And, after a long day of fresh air and adventure, nothing beats relaxing by a cosy fire with a dog or cat (or both) at your feet.