People move to the country for many different reasons. Some may wish to close their door behind them and not integrate with the local community but, in my experience, the way to gain most from your move to the country is to throw yourselves wholeheartedly into local life. This is the advice I give to my clients moving here from towns and cities and, to date, without exception every one that has followed these guidelines has said their move has been the best thing they have ever done.
- Buy Local. Shopping in large supermarkets is fairly uniform throughout the country. Yes, the checkout staff and fellow shoppers may be more or less friendly in different parts of the country but the layout and food available will be similar whether you live in London or Wales. Part of the joy of living in the country is the bountiful local produce available; from meat, local cheeses, eggs, vegetables, jams, ice creams and cakes to fish and shellfish if you are lucky enough to live in somewhere coastal like Pembrokeshire. Visit your local farm shop, farmers’ market or village butchers, bakers or greengrocers and not only will you find the most delicious fresh produce, you will also find a fountain of knowledge on tap to advise you of the best cuts of meat, fish and how best to cook it, the tradition behind different shaped loaves, etc. In general local shopkeepers are interested in their customers and are happy to chat and provide you with local knowledge.
- Join in with community events. Every village needs keen helpers to organise things and this is one of the best ways to get to know people and make friends. Fundraising is an essential part of village life, whether it is to provide a new roof for the village hall or help support the family of an ill person in the community. Fund raising can be fun and brings people together so run a stall at the local bring and buy; volunteer with others to tidy the village green or go Carol Singing and you will find you make good friends and be welcomed into the community with open arms.
- Live with the Seasons. In cities seasons are barely noticeable apart from the inconvenience of extra clothing when the weather is cold and wet and the abundance of puce, sunburnt people on the tube after a hot summer weekend. Seasons in the country bring wonderful changes and perfect opportunities for foraging; for example pick wild garlic in the Spring, elderflowers for wine and mussels and shrimps from the beach in the Summer and mushrooms, crab apples, sloes and blackberries in autumn. Seasonal produce is also in the local shops– the first new Pembrokeshire potatoes; Spring lamb; local tomatoes straight from the vine; the taste is sublime.
- Explore the local Countryside. Walking, biking or riding in the UK gives one free access to some of the most beautiful countryside in the world so get out and explore. If you need motivation, then consider getting a dog who will not only offer you love and companionship but will need walking and therefore make you do it. In Pembrokeshire we are fortunate enough to have the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the coastal path which winds its way through 186 miles of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in Britain and gives endless opportunities to get out and explore. There are also an abundance of castles and other historic buildings, beautiful gardens and the Preseli mountains to explore and enjoy; or take the family rock pooling and crabbing on the beach which provides hours of free entertainment.
- Take up a Sport. The country offers an abundance of sports in which to participate from the more run of the mill to the new and more adventurous. Most villages have local cricket, tennis, football, and here in Wales, rugby club where you can not only join to play but also enjoy the social side of the club. There are numerous golf clubs; some of which offer you stunning scenery whilst you play like Tenby, Cardigan and Newport. Most days if you go to many of the beaches around the Pembrokeshire coast such as Freshwater West (where they filmed scenes for Harry Potter and Robin Hood), Whitesands, Newgale and Manorbier you will see the black dots of surfers waiting for the next big wave and kite and wind surfers skimming across the water and then there is Coasteering. Invented here in Pembrokeshire, coasteering is an adrenaline packed activity for all ages and there are a number of companies who lead guided coasteering tours round our spectacular coastline. All you need to do is squeeze into a wetsuit, safety helmet and lifejacket and then scramble, climb, swim and cliff jump your way around the rocks, cliffs and caves encountering seals and dolphins along the way; a totally exhilarating experience.
The country offers so many opportunities. Community spirit is Get out and embrace the local community and you will find country life offers far more for all ages than you can ever imagine.
If you are thinking of moving to Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Gower, West Wales Property Finders would be delighted to help you find your dream home. Please contact Carol Peett on 01834 862816, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.