Change in rural settlements

Villages have changed over time. In the past, most functions were connected with farming and countryside services. People lived and worked in the countryside.

Today, some villages are close enough to urban areas for people to commute to work in the city, while still living in the countryside. This has changed the function of some villages.

A comparison of villages in the past and villages today

PastToday
People lived and worked locallyMost people travel to work by car
Farm buildings, eg barnsBarns converted to expensive homes
Farm workers' cottagesNew housing estates
SchoolTea rooms
Local pubRestaurant pub with car park for day trippers
Church or chapelChapel converted to home
Village shop and post officeLocal shops closed as people drive to supermarkets on the edge of towns
Village green and duck pondInfilling with new developments removes communal spaces

There are conflicts within rural areas.

  • If the area attracts people who are moving from large urban areas then there are sometimes conflicts between the established residents and the new residents.
  • People may buy second homes in rural areas. This pushes house prices up, making it less affordable to locals.
  • Income from farming and other rural activities may fall causing people to move out (rural depopulation). Other people may try to diversify or start up new businesses (eg running a bed and breakfast from a farm).
  • Local services may decline (eg village shops, post offices or transport), making it harder for less mobile members of the rural population to access what they need.
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