When we imagine life in the countryside, we often think of beautiful summer days, meadows of wildflowers, and fields full of fluffy white sheep. Rarely do we consider what living in the countryside means when the darker, colder days of winter arrive.
While living in a rural area in the depths of winter can mean lots of evenings curled up next to a roaring fire, it pays to fully prepare for the winter and ensure your cosy evening isn’t upset by a leaking roof, broken heating, or running out of supplies unnecessarily!
As soon as the trees start to drop their leaves, it’s time to start doing your pre-winter checks.
All through the summer, your boiler has been resting, quietly idle. Before you need to use it on full whack, turn it on for a few hours just to check that it works and get it serviced. There’s nothing worse than turning on the heating on a freezing cold winter’s day to find that not only is the boiler broken, but that there’s a waiting list as long as your arm for repair appointments.
Countryside roads can be susceptible to the weather, becoming impassable if there’s excessive rain or snow. If you’re used to city dwellings, you probably don’t think twice about using the bus as a backup. Unfortunately, rural public transport can be a lot more sporadic, so it’s worth ensuring that investing in a car that can cope with all weather and doing a few basic maintenance checks.
Before you head back inside, check that your gutters and any ground-level drains are clear of mud, leaves and debris. Better to do it now before the rain sets in and causes a leak or flood somewhere in your home!
Okay, so you’re not living in deepest, darkest Antarctica, but there’s no harm in being ready for anything. The weather conditions that towns and cities seem to shake off with minimal fuss can cause rural homes to struggle with securing even basic living essentials.
Many rural homes are not connected to the main gas grid and rely on alternative fuels, such as oil central heating. Not only does it make sense to stock up on heating oil supplies, but it’s also a neighbourly thing to talk to your neighbours about bulk buying oil together. It can save you all quite a bit of money in the run-up to winter.
Similarly, if you want to make use of your cosy fireplace (which was probably what attracted you to your property in the first place, right?), then you’ll want to have plenty of supplies of firewood. Make sure you only buy seasoned wood and if it’s your first winter in your home, talk to the supplier to find out how much you may need. It’s also a good idea to save up plenty of newspapers, egg cartons and boxes to use as tinder.
Be sure to stock up on your favourite food essentials in your freezer and grab a few pints of long-life milk, in the process. You never know whether you might wake up to a snow blizzard that blocks your route to the shops, which is also likely to detain any online shopping deliveries you thought you could fall back on.
While you’re at it, check your candle supplies and make sure you’ve got a torch handy, just in case of a winter blackout.
Wrap Up Warm
One of the best reasons for moving to the countryside is to enjoy the feeling of getting back to nature. Rural locations are idyllic and the perfect places to enjoy a weekend ramble through the country lanes. But make sure you’ve got the right gear!
High-quality outdoor clothing is a must when you’ve emigrated to the outskirts of civilization! You’ll find a warm, windproof and waterproof coat is your best friend for everything you do in the wintertime, even for everyday tasks like taking the kids to school or doing the weekly shopping.
Check your footwear to ensure you’ve at least got a pair of sturdy shoes and wellies. Both are vital for getting around the often muddy and slippery country lanes. Walking gear may not go amiss, either – trekking poles can help to ensure you get where you need to, without risk of falling.
Embrace Winter Living
There’s no doubt that living in the countryside in the winter can be an extremely pleasurable experience. Steaming hot mugs of cocoa by a roaring fire, brisk walks in the crisp winter sun, and snuggling under a cosy duvet as the sun sets, are all part of winter’s wonders out in the sticks.
So, grab a snow shovel and a warm winter coat, take note of our suggestions and get ready to enjoy your best rural winter!