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Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

19th September 2013

When discussing where we would live next, my partner and I both agreed it would be somewhere we could get places without a car. Though living in a rural idyll is wonderful in a multitude of ways, it poses a constant ethical dilemma. Our nearest town is a ten minute drive away, but cycling it is a lot tougher with a steep, stony track on the way out and a quad-crunching climb on the way back. In our pre-child days, we cycled more regularly but the paraphernalia of babyhood means we resort to the car much more than we’d like to. Looking at our monthly accounts, we realised through our petrol consumption just how much we’d come to rely on our car.

Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

19th September 2013

Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

19th September 2013

My partner takes our son out on the bike seat when the weather’s nice, but the rest of the time…it’s back behind the wheel. And, according to our country-dwelling friends, we’re not alone.

World Carfree Day on 22nd September is an opportunity to take a long, hard look at how much we rely on our vehicles. This annual event is a chance for people from around the world to get together and celebrate a car-free day – a time for street parties, pavement games and pedestrian power. As our world becomes increasingly car dominated, days like this are an important reminder to see how our towns and cities might feel like sans cars. It is also intended as a powerful message to governments to take notice and create permanent change to our cities’ infrastructure.

Thinking about World Carfree Day has given me the impetus to try and implement a few changes for us rural folk too. I’ve decided to take five steps to make country living less of an environmental quandary this September (and beyond) – any advice from other country-dwellers gratefully received!

Five car-free ideas for country-dwellers:
1. Get a veg box delivered. We’ve been meaning to do this for ages and keep putting it off but the excellent article in a recent issue of the Green Parent reminded me of the great veg box schemes out there and how we could minimise shopping trips by using one.

2. Walk as much as possible. We do a lot of walking anyway, but now my son is able to walk himself (and is currently into running!), we can feasibly make the 40 minute trip into town on foot at least once a week.

3. Group visits to town to do laundry, get shopping, go to the tip, visit friends etc. into one or two days a week. We don’t have a rubbish or recycling collection where we live (just too rural apparently), so spend a lot of time driving rubbish and recycling to the tip. Without electricity, we rely on our launderette for all our washing needs. My plan is to have one day a week for getting these menial tasks sorted – and I know one little person who’ll be very pleased not to be making those little trips in on a daily basis!

4. Enjoy our natural surroundings a lot more. Sometimes the place you live in can become ordinary old “home” and we forget how lucky we are to have beautiful countryside on our doorstep. My new pact is to really celebrate it and avoid taking car trips to other places instead of enjoying what we have in all its seasonal glory.

5. Get folks to come to us! This is the clincher in my new plan as we spend quite a bit of time visiting friends. We live in a really lovely place, so now I’m going to actively encourage people to come to us. The fact we don’t have to drive is a massive bonus!

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