Gransnet forums


Rural Retirement

(16 Posts)
RuralMediaJan Wed 13-Jun-12 13:11:04

I am campaiging to raise awareness about the issues of rural retirement and would be interested to hear from Gransnet members about their perceptions of growing old in the countryside. For those currently living in the city or urban areas, is rural retirement something they aspire to? For those who are currently living in rural areas, do they forsee their futures being spent entirely in the country?

We've developed a whole range of free resources on our website, including eight 'best practice' case studies, a drama short film depicting some of the hardships of rural living, a fact sheet for those contemplating rural retirement and an in-depth report. Please visit

Looking forward to hearing your views.

crimson Wed 13-Jun-12 14:03:38

A friend of mine [rather well off herself] has always pointed out to me that the rural poor are as badly off as the urban poor, but it doesn't seem to be recognised in the same way. Public transport is terribly important, especially when driving becomes an issue. I'm very concerned about things like free travel on buses being stopped by the time I reach the correct age.

Pennysue Wed 13-Jun-12 14:13:58

We are doing the opposite, having lived the rural life for 27 years we are moving back into a town (only 2 miles) as once we are unable to drive we would be very isolated, no buses, one small shop. Just to far to walk for shopping, doctors etc. especially in the winter.

However, that has always been our plan, when we purchased the property we are leaving we did so as part of our pension plan. Having done the property up we have got a really good return on our 27 year investment. Much better return than our pensions have done.

mollie65 Thu 14-Jun-12 13:54:22

for the last 10 years I have been a 'country dweller' and god willing if I am spared I hope to remain one until I am circa 70 when I suspect the effort will be more than I can justify. That said - I am a farmers daughter and spent my first 18 years on a farm so I am aware of the pros and cons of rural living as it requires a different sort of outlook.
Forget dinner parties in your lovely bespoke kitchen, forget lots of friends visiting and needing numerous spare rooms for them to stay and forget peace and quiet in the farmers busy time! but I am happy to do my weekly shopping and visit grandson (and son) who live around 15 miles away and of course potter in the garden.
not for everyone
will move to a small town when the years catch up with me and gently fade away.

tanith Thu 14-Jun-12 14:09:54

I'd love to live either in a rural or coastal setting but we have near enough ruled it out precisely for the reasons some of you mention. Not being able to drive anymore being the main one and lack of rural transport.. OH lives in hope that we'll still do it but in 3yrs when he also retires I think we are going to have to stay put where we are on the outskirts of West London where our family live its a shame but once we go we'd never afford to come back.

Mamie Thu 14-Jun-12 14:21:39

We live deep in rural Normandy, seven km from a shop, 15km from doctors, banks etc. We love our home, the peace and quiet and the close community in our village. The spring, summer and autumn are great as we enjoy our large garden, walking and trips to the coast. I find the winters difficult (DH doesn't mind) as we rarely see anybody; all our visitors from the UK come in the summer, sometimes all at once. Nothing prepared me for how quiet rural France is in the winter; I go to a keep fit class with people from the village, but apart from that, nothing happens and adult learning only seems to be available in the largest towns, which are all too far away. We will stay until we approach our seventies, but then we will move, probably to the UK to be nearer family. I miss theatres, art galleries and shopping and have to visit other places in France or the UK to "top up" every few months. With hindsight we would have bought a smaller property nearer to a town, but like many others we fell in love with a beautiful, stone property that needed some love and attention. We are glad that we did it, but we realise that it won't work for ever.

Butternut Thu 14-Jun-12 15:30:28

Apart from location, your situation sounds very similar to mine, Mamie. We're closer to a small town - about 7 mins. drive away which has all the amenities - but it is very rural nevertheless.
The winter's are hard here, but fortunately I have a wide network of ex-pat friends - not all English either, but Mexican, Swedish and American. It's in the winter when we tend to get together more, because as you say, the Spring, Summer and Autumn are beautiful, and that's when family and friends like to come and stay. We do have French family here as well, which makes a big difference.
I certainly like to 'top-up' too in the UK, and also miss cultural events, but on the whole it is a good life here.
I'm not sure if we'll end our days here or not. I know I'll return to the UK if I find myself alone here, but for the moment our stone cottage is a great place to be.
Pity you're not a bit closer! smile

Butternut Thu 14-Jun-12 15:37:16

From a practical point of view, retirement in the country keeps us busy, I suppose. We have to keep a good log pile to feed the wood burner in the winter, which means cutting and stacking and bringing into the house. We do have central heating but oil is expensive. We are not on mains drainage, and have gas bottles for the stove, the roads are lethal with all the muddy tractors going back and forth and it's all just grubbier generally! It's just different than urban living, which I've also spent many years doing. I most definitely prefer rural living for as long as I am fit and able.

glassortwo Thu 14-Jun-12 16:01:35

We are in the process of doing just this, we are renovating a farmhouse close to the borders of Scotland.
DD,SIL and DGC will be moving with us and DGC will attend the village school. The house is isolated in the hills, winters can be difficult especially the last two. But we knew this before we purchased the property, we went through all the pros and cons and it still won hands down.
As we are moving as a family the isolation in our advancing years is not a problem.
The house is approx 20 minutes from a small town which has a hospital and 40 from the centre of Newcastle.
I have not yet look at the web site but I intend to.

Mamie Thu 14-Jun-12 16:10:50

I read your post about the log pile etc and thought for a minute I had written it myself, Butternut. We do seem to be in the same position, even down to the autistic grandchild living in another country.

Butternut Thu 14-Jun-12 16:45:03

Mamie smile

merlotgran Thu 14-Jun-12 18:54:44

Rural living when you're getting on a bit is certainly a challenge but we hope to be able to carry on for a few years yet. We are both in our sixties and life is not without it's problems but we find the commitment required when caring for animals and maintaining a large garden gives us structure to our days. Whenever we stay with friends or relatives who are also retired we tend to get bored very quickly. I don't know what on earth I'd do with myself if I lived in a town but deep down we know we can't stay here for ever as we are two miles from the nearest village and DH can no longer drive so that puts a lot of pressure on me. Our elder daughter suggested building an extension for herself and her two sons so they could support us when we are physically unable to do everything but although it's a lovely idea, we don't like or trust her partner so are unlikely to go down that route.

Mishap Thu 14-Jun-12 20:09:22

We live in a very rural setting - a tiny village with a pub and small school with about 45 pupils.
I hope to be carried out from here in a box to be buried in the beautiful old churchyard that I can see across the field from my home.
I do not worry about rural isolation as I get older (I am now 63) - small this community maybe, but it is vibrant and caring and none of our old people go short of anything.
There is so much going on here - book club, poetry group, eco group, live performances in our tiny village hall, arts festivals, history group, WI, an archaeological dig - I could go on. There is nothing boring about living in the country - I rejoice in it and rush home to my green fields whenever we have been away.
If I became too ill to get to the nearest tiny shop (c. 3miles), I can buy stuff on the internet and friends and community would help out.
We might finish up not able to get to town, but we will be nourished by the views and the community and nearby family - I have no fears for the future here.

tanith Thu 14-Jun-12 21:50:18

Mishap can I ask how long you've lived in your splendid isolation? It sounds like a wonderful've been lucky, I have a friend who lives in a semi-rural situation and she's found it very difficult to integrate with the local community always feeling on the outside..

Mishap Thu 14-Jun-12 22:19:54

Since 1994 tanith.

It is sometimes true that it takes a while to integrate in a tiny village - but most people who decide to retire to the country do so at an age when they are still relatively fit - and they need to get out there and join in everything and offer their services.

Maybe this community is untypical - I do not know - but we have always felt welcomed and in our turn have gone out of our way to contribute where we can.

We have wonderful neighbours - always someone willing to help - and as OH has PD (and that news went round pretty fast!) people ring up and check all well, keep an eye on our drains etc when the rain is heavy, and are always telling me that they are ready and willing to help if OH not well. There is genuine care and concern there. We are so blessed.

Sorry to hear your friend is struggling - I hope she manages to find her niche.

merlotgran Fri 15-Jun-12 16:15:43

You are indeed lucky, mishap. We have no near neighbours but I have to say that when DH had a stroke two years ago there was a steady stream of people offering help even though they had to drive down a very bumpy farm road to get to us. Our daughter lives in the village (two miles away) so we have family nearby. We return favours with eggs and vegetables and now DH is recovering he is able to take on tractor repairs which goes down well with our smallholding friends.
tanith We moved here in 1975 and although our children were primary school and pre school age, it took a long time to make friends. Local people were unfriendly and my first real pals were mums who had also moved to the area and were finding it lonely. I think you just have to tough it out although I know it's hard when you have moved from a lively community.