Changing Rural Environments


Urban sprawl is when the population of an urban area increases and the area gets bigger.

Impacts of out-of-town retail outlets, leisure provision, suburbanised village and transport developments

Developments of rural urban fringe often include

  • Out-of-town retail outlets eg. Trafford Centre, Nr Manchester
  • Leisure facilities eg. golf courses (North Manchester Golf Club), riding stables(Cheshire Riding Stables)
  • New transport links eg. motorways conntecting cities (Heysham-M6 link, or the M5 between Gloucester and Cheltenham)
  • Housing - more housing in existing villages eg. Houses between Gloucester and Cheltenham

Impacts of development of rural-urban fringe

  • Traffic noise and pollution increase as there's more traffic
  • Extra housing developments may spoil the area according to existing residents
  • Farmers may be forced to sell land to building companies, so can't earn a living
  • Wildlife habitats destroyed by building

The growth of commuting and commuter villages

Reasons for living in villages and commuting to work in urban areas - increasing the number and size of commuter villages (villages where there are lots of commuters)

  • Nicer environment - less crime, pollution and noise
  • Transport has become cheaper and faster - improved rail and road links mean people can live futher away and commute

Impacts of villages becoming commuter villages

  • Rise in property prices as village becomes more popular
  • Increase in traffic congestion, so noise and pollution

Characteristics and factors significant to a village expanding in size eg. Dunton Green, Kent

  • Lots of services eg. shops, restaurants
  • Lots of middle aged couples with children, professionals and wealthy retired people who have moved due to the nicer environment
  • Lots of new detatched houses, converted barns or cottages and expensive estates
  • Good public transport links
  • Some jobs eg. in local shops

Case study: UK Rural Area - Cumbrian Villages

Reasons for and consequences of rural depopulation and the decline in rural services in remote areas Population in Cumbria decreased, especially in Western Cumbria

Reasons for and comsequences of depopulation

  • Fewer jobs - decline in agriculture and manufacturing (big industries in Cumbria) means people have to move away to find work eg. in Cumbria between 2000 and 2007 over 700 agricultural jobs were lost
  • Growth in second home ownership - the popularity of second homes increases house prices so young people can't afford to live there so are forced to move away. 

Reasons for and consequences of decline in rural services

  • Smaller population means there's less demand for services eg. shops, schools, pubs
  • Services close due to lack of demand eg. 35 Post Offices closed in Cumbria in 2008, Welton School which had 9 pupils closed in 2011
  • This means there are fewer jobs so people move away and so on...

Characteristics and factors significant to a declining village

  • Elderly population as young people move away and leave older people behind
  • Few jobs (often badly paid) and relatively high unemployment
  • Few services due to lack of demand - often no school or shops
  • Little or no public transport due to lack of demand
  • Some poor quality housing that may be quite basic, some second…


Mr A Gibson


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