Scotland’s country community is still growing

Archie Hume of A Hume Country Clothing reflects on the positive side of the rural population boom.

Over recent years, the Scottish countryside has experienced a bit of a population boom.

Nothing on the scale of a wholesale exodus of our towns and cities, or a tipping out of the inner cities. More a consistent trickle of hardworking folk beating a slow but steady path to the villages and huddles of houses within striking distance of urban centres.

Almost a fifth of the Scottish population now live in rural areas. Country living is the fastest growing lifestyle choice in Scotland. The opportunity to work from home, and flexible working has made this previously unsustainable move possible for a lot more people.

People are moving to the countryside to enjoy more space. On average house prices aren’t cheaper than urban areas, but they are bigger. Houses, as opposed to flats. Outdoor space. And room to breathe.

More country residents describe their area as a ‘very good’ place to live. More people volunteer and feel part of their communities. These are things that if you live in the countryside, you probably feel intuitively but it’s good to know that these truisms are backed up by the figures.

At its heart this trend is all about the enduring appeal of country life. The sense of community, the closeness to nature, the wildlife, an opportunity to be outdoors and witness the seasons passing.

There’s nothing I love more than a brisk walk along the Cobby followed by a visit to the pub knowing I’ll find someone I know there to have a blether with.

This trend helps keep our rural communities alive and viable. It supports our farm shops and rural businesses. Incoming populations can play an important part in buying local and supporting their town high street.

It also brings growing interest in traditional countryside pursuits and furthers the countryside agenda. There’s been a particularly notable increase in the number of women taking up shooting.

Here in the Scottish Borders, Tracy Ferguson at Roxburghe Shooting School, is a great example of somebody who’s doing an enormous amount to promote country sports.

The hope and aspiration for those of us in the country business community is that the trend will help us sustain a vibrant social, cultural and economic future for rural areas.

Of course, not everybody moving to the country will take up country sports. Very many of them are simply here to add to the 127% growth in gin distilleries – these people are especially welcome.

Click HERE for more details on A Hume.