It’s Easter weekend, there’s still plenty of snow around (one of our roads is still blocked with 5 foot snowdrifts) but the sun has made an effort which makes everyone breathe a sigh of relief and think of Spring.
This morning we visited Bakewell, one of our favourite haunts, for a couple of hours. Relatively quiet early in the day we had no problem parking, we wandered around for a while and had no difficulty securing a table in our favourite cafe for lunch. However, when we emerged everything had changed. The sun had stayed out and had drawn visitors in droves. The place was heaving! Cars were queuing through the main street and blocking car parks as they waited for a space to become available. Roadsides were lined with rows of vehicles and pedestrians were taking their lives in their hands as they attempted to cross from one side of the street to the other. We had enjoyed our morning but were glad to be leaving.
We live close to the Peak District boundary but tend to forget that it is a holiday destination where everyday life is regularly disrupted by the influx of thousands of visitors. What may seem a perfect, picture-postcard place to live when viewed off-season, or mid-week, can become a teeming anthill of humanity. And with many of the local shops and pubs catering primarily for the tourist trade it can be expensive – and annoying – for the locals.
This has to be true of many of England’s beauty spots, the places where you’re likely to see a charming cottage and think; I wish…
So, if you are seriously considering a move to the country, it is worth doing your homework first. We did. We don’t live in a particularly touristy location, we don’t have ‘open access’ on our doorstep nor footpaths crossing the fields near to us. But we aren’t pestered by visitors taking photographs of our house nor do we have problems parking in our local town at weekends. Of course, it isn’t the most highly sought after location, but neither is it the most expensive. We made a rational choice, but so many people fall in love with the dream, then wake up to reality. Visiting a busy Bakewell this morning made us pleased with the choice we’d made.