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Call of the country fuels exodus from urban Britain

As key motivators in their escape to the country, three in ten ex-townies cite friendlier people and a stronger sense of community. Some 37% believe it’s a good place to bring up children. Others sought peace and quiet (64%), better quality of life (53%), open spaces (48%) and closeness to nature (36%).

And it’s not just life-long urbanites who are seeking rural solace. A fifth of those moving there in the last five years are born and bred country folk returning to their roots after experiencing urban living.

Britain’s much sought-after community spirit is far from urban myth, NFU Mutual’s research reveals. Some 60% of urban exiles say they talk to their neighbours more now that they live in the countryside.

Meanwhile, 62% use local shops more than when they were living in urban areas, 31% go to the local pub more and 17% attend local meetings and are involved with local communities.

And the stereotype of townies as village outsiders is outdated too, it seems. Four in ten rural residents who have lived there over five years think their urban neighbours make an effort to integrate into the local community – a quarter say they raise money for local and rural causes and a fifth believe they are good for the vibrancy of the countryside.

Lindsay Sinclair, Group Chief Executive, NFU Mutual said: "The attractions of rural life for many urbanites are clear with almost 2.4 million Britons moving to the countryside in the last five years. Those we surveyed detailed the raft of personal, well-being and lifestyle benefits that rural living brings. They also appear to be embracing rural life enthusiastically, from getting involved in their community, teams and clubs to supporting local businesses, organisations and good causes."

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