Couple’s ‘Escape to the Country’ as Covid Drives Property Shift

4th October 2021

THE pull of rural life following two decades in the city was too much to resist for one couple.

Deborah and Mervyn Grant have joined thousands of homeowners in a mass exodus from urban life amid the pandemic.

They are the first residents to move into Woodland Heights, a brand-new development at Bullbridge, near Crich.

Deborah, 65, and Mervyn, 64, and their Sprocker Spaniel, Beau, moved to the Peter James Homes site from Leeds, where they lived for 21 years.

They moved to Leeds for Mervyn’s job, but now he is semi-retired they have relocated to the picturesque setting in Derbyshire, closer to their daughter, Deborah’s mum, brothers and sisters.

Deborah and Mervyn, who also have a son and two grandchildren, have bought The Poppy, a three-bedroom detached home.

Deborah, a retired receptionist for Land Rover, said: “Like many people, we wanted a more rural way of living, and my husband just loved the area and the feel of the site.

“The greenery around the site and the River Amber at the bottom of the development is a huge draw for us, as well as the woodland nearby.
“They are even doing up the local pub here, too! What more could we want?”

Coronavirus has prompted a shift, with city dwellers moving en masse to rural locations as the pandemic exposes the shortcomings with people’s living arrangements, with many wanting more space as they work from home, or wanting to be closer to family.

A report by insurance company Royal London earlier this year found 40 percent of potential buyers in Leeds were looking to move to rural locations.

A further 28 percent of home hunters want to move to a village, according to the survey of 1,000 home movers.

Last summer, the number of buyer inquiries to property website Rightmove from people living in 10 cities increased by 78 percent compared with the same period the previous year.

And there was a 126 percent increase in people considering properties in village locations, compared with a 68 percent rise in people searching for towns.

The couple began looking for their perfect home in January this year, and started renting nearby before moving in with their daughter and grandchildren, shortly before completing on The Poppy.

“That brought us all even closer together, which has been really lovely,” said Deborah.

“The team at Peter James Homes have been marvellous and kept us updated throughout the process and the pandemic has not been a hurdle for us.

“We even made the stamp duty deadline and for that we are delighted. It has been a terrific experience.”

Tastefully designed by the experts at Claude Hooper Interiors, The Poppy is a detached family home with a spacious kitchen-diner, three double bedrooms and one en suite. It forms part of Phase One of the 148 luxury home development, nestled in the verdant Derbyshire countryside overlooking the picturesque River Amber.

Once construction is completed on all phases of the development, it will boast 12 different home styles, including the two-bedroom Amber and Bluebell and four-bedroom Birchfield.

Cassie Barnes, Senior Site Sales Executive for Woodland Heights, said: “We are delighted to welcome Deborah and Mervyn as our first occupants at Woodland Heights – our grandest development yet.

“We are sure they will enjoy not only the luxury finish of their home, but also the beautiful countryside that’s outside their front door.”

To find out more about the Woodlands Heights development, please visit To book a site visit, contact our sales executive Cassie on 07783 771178

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