12th September 2019
It's oh so quiet.
Speak to anyone moving to the country and chances are that high on their list of motivations will be ‘peace and quiet’. But how much quiet can they expect?
The perception of many is the greatest intrusion to a sunny day in the garden will be bird song or the odd sheep calling. The reality is quite different as the country is actually a noisy place. Firstly it’s a working environment, not a leisure ground or theme park. Farmers have to make a living from the land and their machinery and livestock are facts of rural life.
Roads are the obvious culprit; increasing car numbers, satnavs taking even the unadventurous into the unknown, plus the enormous number of delivery drivers speeding along our rural byways. This can all make the most innocuous looking country lane seem like the M4 at times.
And buyers beware the sky over their heads; commercial shoots are big business, often five or six days a week and so noisy that it can seem like bonfire night and 4th July rolled into one. These also add significantly to traffic on local lanes. Ownership of private aircraft has also proliferated and most sunny days see coveys of these taking to the skies to drone over the heads of people trying to enjoy some peace below them.
Then, of course, there are the neighbours. Most people living in the country tend to be sensitive to others but even they have to mow their lawns and trim the verge. A couple of years ago we had an American client with the brief: ‘I don’t want to hear the neighbour's leaf-blower’, which he meant both literally and in the wider sense of him not wanting to be aware of outside intrusions. Not an unreasonable request but when we came to it surprisingly difficult to fulfil, although we did in the end and without having to go into the wilds. And it’s not just mowers that can be points of friction - church bells, cockerels and peacocks (to name but a few) have all ended up in neighbourly fisticuffs.
Thankfully, perceptions of what represents peace and quiet vary; what is rural bliss to one can be noisy to another. Our role as country buying agents is to brief people properly on what they can expect to hear as well as see when they arrive to view, which is why we spend a lot of time listening.