THE Lake District’s enviable landscapes and stunning scenery are proving to be a pull for people flocking to now settle there.

During lockdown people have been searching for a new place to live - and the Lake District has been named among the most popular destinations for relocation.

The physical and health benefits of living in an area with World Heritage Status has seen the Lakes named as one of the top ten places people are thinking of moving to. The area ranks at number four on the list, behind Cornwall, Devon and Yorkshire, says new research from online mortgage broker Trussle.

“Since Covid-19 and the lockdown, some people working from home are appreciating the benefits. It’s not just reducing time and cost of a commute; it’s about reducing stress and improving the work/life balance. Working from home has significant gains and there is an enthusiasm for spending more time outdoors, with its associated physical and mental health benefit,” says Chris Edmunds, director at Rural Surveyors, Davidson and Robertson, based in their Cockermouth office.

Enquiries are now coming in, says Mr Edmunds, for properties that sit within a few hours of major cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle. “In the last couple of weeks alone, we’ve had calls from potential buyers looking for rural properties in Cumbria, Northumberland and Dumfries and Galloway. The desire to relocate is unlikely to be short term, and moving forward, digital connectivity is going to become more important so they can cut their commute and work from home. Connectivity is something we’re always asked about and it’s improving all the time across the Lake District.”

He added: “At the start of this year, demand for lifestyle property in Cumbria and the Lakes continued to be steady, especially those with manageable amounts of land and well located with good access. We have been acting for buyers and sellers of open market and privately available property and last year, saw offers averaging 28 percent over asking price for all properties sold. Row Farm at Cleator is a prime example, the 15-acre smallholding attracted very strong interest from lifestyle buyers in West Cumbria and was sold for 15 percent over the guide price,” said Mr Edmunds.

Douglas Chalmers, chief executive at Friends of the Lake District said there seemed to be a growing appreciation of the great outdoors, the benefits of physical exercise, and the feeling of freedom and of spiritual renewal gained from open-air recreation. “This was also felt in the early 20th century in response to widespread industrialisation and urban lifestyles, and then the privations that World War Two imposed, all of which led to the creation of our national parks,” said Mr Chalmers.

He added: “We have all been reminded how important our connection to nature really is. Our countryside has been out of bounds to so many, just when their physical and mental wellbeing would benefit most.

“If the idea of relocation does indeed materialise, new families do move into rural communities and become properly involved, they may bring much needed additional vitality and energy, especially if they are generating income by working remotely that has little or no impact on the environment.

"Our hope is that when our national parks are fully open again, welcoming visitors or those looking for a more permanent relocation, people will retain this appreciation of the landscape, what it does for us how much better it can make us feel. There may be less of a cry for more artificial attractions within these special areas, and a rekindled understanding that the place itself can thrill in its own way and enhance our health and spirits”.