Ah, the rural idyll - eating locally raised or homegrown food, walks across the hills in the early morning dew, skipping through wildflower meadows, riding tractors, fresh flowers from the garden on the windowsill - this is what country folk all aspire to. Of course, the reality is perhaps a bit more soggy, sometimes lonely, often smelly, and involves a lot of time spent in the car!
We at the GWG have put together a list of websites that can help rural dwellers reclaim the dream and get the most out of country life.
Truth be told, it can be difficult to find love in the countryside; there are simply less people around! Thankfully, it’s Muddy Matches to the rescue - with over 130,000 members, this online dating agency will fix you up with a like-minded, rural-hearted soul with whom you can splash through muddy puddles and dry your wellies by the fire afterwards.
BRITISH HEN WELFARE TRUST
Did you know that when a commercial egg-laying hen starts to decline in egg production they are sent to the slaughter? The thoughtful peeps at the British Hen Welfare Trust have been finding loving homes for these poor, unfortunate fowl for ten years now - and the organisation continues to grow. Perhaps you are considering dipping your toe into the world of animal husbandry? Follow a few simple guidelines, give a donation and a batch of rescue hens could be yours.
They will arrive in a bedraggled and scrawny state - but a month or two spent in a happy, healthy environment will see them fattened up and providing you with daily, delicious, home grown eggs - with an eggstra feel-good flavour!
THE PONY CLUB
When you live in the country, you have to ride horses, right? Well, not necessarily, but if this is something your family might be interested in then this site is a good place to start. The Pony Club provides an excellent framework for youngsters (up to the age of 25) to socialise, compete and learn about the discipline of riding and looking after ponies and horses. Tap in your postcode and find your local club - you will be galloping off to gymkhanas in next to no time.
THE CAMPAIGN FOR PROTECTION OF RURAL ENGLAND
Thanks to intensive farming, the ever-growing need for housing, energy production and general urban sprawl, the beauty and wildness of the English countryside is constantly under threat. The Campaign for Protection of Rural England works hard to represent the needs of those that live in and off the land - whether that be the flora, fauna or the people. Get involved with the fight to preserve our green and pleasant land by volunteering, donating, campaigning and more.
Another organisation working tirelessly to protect our country’s wildlife and their habitats is the Woodland Trust. Use their website to find out where the best woodland walks are near you. Any minute now that Bluebells will be out in all their finery - the woodland trust can help make sure you don’t miss the spectacle.
The countryside is a treasure trove of free food - with hedgerows and lanes offering up an abundance of wild garlic, nettles, wild mint, blackberries, sloes, elderflowers and much more besides - while woodlands and fields are a mecca for mushrooming experts and truffle hunters. This site will point you in the right direction for foraging courses, foraging locations, wild food directories and recipes.
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
Tame and enhance your very own slice of the countryside with the aid of the redoubtable Royal Horticultural Society. Their website is a comprehensive go-to directory for the amateur gardener, where you can buy seeds, learn about sowing, growing, pruning, taking cuttings, pests and diseases and so much more. With help, advice and merchandise from the RHS, smug allotments will be able to feed the family throughout the summer months with delicious, homegrown veg from the garden.
22 April 2016