A new survey by NFU Mutual shows that nearly seven in ten of today’s rural residents moved to the countryside from urban areas, looking for a better quality of life.

More than a third of the 750 people surveyed believe that the countryside is a better environment in which to bring up children, and three in ten said they were looking for friendlier people and a stronger sense of community.

Two-thirds added that they talk more to their neighbours in the countryside. They’re also more likely to become involved with their local community, with one-fifth attending local meetings, a third using the pub and a quarter raising money for local causes.

Other positive aspects of rural life include peace and quiet, open spaces and proximity to nature.

Of those surveyed, 37% had moved to the countryside from urban areas relatively recently, a strong increase from earlier figures, such as the 2001 census, when this figure was only 25%.

Lindsay Sinclair, group chief executive of NFU Mutual, said: ‘Those we surveyed detailed the raft of personal, wellbeing and lifestyle benefits rural living brings.

‘They appear to be embracing rural life enthusiastically, getting involved in their community, teams and clubs and supporting local businesses, organisations and good causes.’

The survey also showed that the urban newcomers are being viewed as a positive addition, with four in ten rural residents who had lived there for more than five years believing that their urban neighbours make an effort to integrate into the local community.

The CPRE welcomed the influx of urban dwellers, noting that improved broadband connections in rural areas allowed for more flexibility in working from home, but said that better services have to be provided across the whole of the UK.

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