sunset over crops

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Moving to the country

Each year, more than 100,000 people leave behind the stresses and strains of city life in favour of a move to the countryside.

There awaits a quieter, more relaxed lifestyle - but it can be too quiet for some. The tips below should help you make sure you know exactly what to expect from your move.

Visit in winter

It's easy to fall in love with the British countryside on a sunny August weekend, but winter weather can paint a different picture. Visit for a week or two in January or February - if you revel in the dark, wet conditions, happy to relax round a log-fire, then country life may well be for you.

If you are planning to commute to work in the nearest town or city, don't rely on your SatNav or route planner to tell you how long it will take. Country roads can be narrow and slow - practice runs in rush hour are the only way to be sure how much time you will need to allocate.

Investigate the facilities

The temptation to 'get away from it all' and set up home in a very remote area can be great - but you need to be practical. Find out what's on offer in terms of social activity, public transport and, if you have children, check the schooling options available.

Good planning is the key to a successful move - don't leave anything to chance. It could be a nasty shock to discover, upon moving in, that your nearest supermarket is 50 minutes drive away.

Similarly, if you don't wish to be cut off from the outside world altogether, check that your new area will provide you with mobile phone signal, television reception and broadband capabilities. Taken for granted in towns and cities, these can be considered luxurious in some of the more remote areas of the UK.

Enjoy your new surroundings

A move to the country represents a change of pace and lifestyle that can, for some, take a little adjusting to. However, it also offers peace and quiet and evenings spent lazily watching the sun set over the fields.

There are other benefits of country living too, including lower crime rates, a friendly community atmosphere and the chance to enjoy more locally produced foods. Enjoy all that the countryside brings - once you're settled you'll wonder how you ever managed with the pressures of city living.