Seven reasons why it's better to live in the country

Our definitive list on why being a bumpkin trumps city dwelling...

1. The air is cleaner

In 2015, some admittedly rather frightening research came to light that suggests that nearly 9,500 people die in London each year due to air pollution. Researchers at King’s College London compiled a report on the ‘mortality burden’ of NO2 and PM2.5 in London’ - perhaps the first study to examine how many people exactly have suffered the deleterious effects of NO2, a lung-affecting gas created by diesel-powered vehicles.

Of course, it’s not just premature death that’s the issue – the adverse effects of gases and particulates mean that others can end up taking time off work with sickness - or be made seriously ill.

But it’s far from just just a London problem – Birmingham and Leeds have also been in breach of EU safety limits for five years, leading to the supreme court ruling in April 2015 that pressed for a government clean-up plan before the end of the year. In our minds, the occasional whiff of manure is much more amenable.

2. Nature is good for your mental health

Studies have shown that your emotional state can have consequences for your health and overall wellbeing. An urban environment is fraught with stressors, from increased crime levels to inefficient transport and cramped conditions.

Immersing oneself in nature, on the other hand, is a great idea. According to a study conducted by mental health charity Mind, 95% of people interviewed reported a change in mood after spending time outside, going from depressed and anxious to calm. And a change in mood can mean beneficial changes in blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels, too. There is an abundance of information on Mind’s website about the practice of ecotherapy and how it can be used to treat depression.

3. A great education – in school and out

Not only are there some good private schools in the area, but superlative state education is available via The Cotswold School, named The Sunday Times Comprehensive School of the Year 2015-26 after four consecutive Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ inspections.

There are all sorts of benefits for children raised in the countryside. Unspoilt night skies with visible constellations, an appreciation for the provenance of food and the farmers who produce it, green spaces in which to play and explore, less traffic, exposure to wildlife other than pigeons…and with excellent rail links to Oxford and London, it’s never been easier for families to top up on culture at the country’s best museums.

4. It’s easier to keep healthy

NHS Choices’ guidelines set out the recommended level of weekly activity in order to stay healthy, and set out different ways in which to achieve this. You can achieve 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (such as fast walking or cycling) easily enough in the countryside by taking brisk walks or riding your bike around the villages or further afield – without running into heavy traffic.

A local gym can help you with muscle strengthening exercises and also devise personal workout routines (and mud runs for the more adventurous). Exercise is a vital component of a healthy, lengthy life – and with such beautiful scenery there’s little reason not to get out and about.

5. Award-winning pubs and restaurants

Say what you like about city nightlife – when you’re in the mood for comfortable catch-up with a spot of grub, only a good country pub will cut it – and some of the best are situated right here in the Cotswolds. We are truly spoilt for choice in tbhis part of the world.

6. Creative, cultural communities

The old stereotype of the countryside having little to offer in the way of entertainment besides rolling vistas of sheep and cows is, in this day at least, something of a fallacy: the Cotswolds has become a place where you can find just about anything to suit your cultural appetites.

From Chipping Norton’s own producing theatre to the RSC at Stratford and the lavish, community-restored art deco cinema at Evesham, there are plenty of venues where residents and visitors to explore the arts. Towns like Chipping Campden – where in bygone days was made the home of artisans and craftsmen escaping London – have benefitted from a creative legacy: a homegrown comedy club, Creative Cows, and a design museum are amongst the attractions.

7. History on your doorstep

From the grandiose Blenheim Palace where Churchill spent his youth, to the curiosity-stuffed Snowshill Manor and the immaculately preserved Jacobean estate of Chastleton House, the Cotswolds is positively choc-a-bloc with historic houses and gorgeous gardens.

There’s even the remains of a Roman Villa - replete with splendid mosaics - in Chedworth, and the Rollright Stones are the Cotswolds’ very own version of Stonehenge, inspiring their own myths and fables over the years. Let’s not forget the magnificent Sudeley Castle, either, with its many royal connections – not least to Henry VIII’s surviving wife Queen Katherine Parr, whose remains are still at the castle. Nearby, the beautifully ruined Hailes Abbey stands as a testament to the flurry of abbey-smashing under Henry’s reign.