A new reality TV series is hitting our screens next year - and it’s all about finding romance in the country.
Love in the Countryside will screen on BBC Two and follow eight singletons living and working in the country. It will bid to match them with ‘urbanites’ seeking their perfect partner - and a dramatically different lifestyle.
Being in the heart of rural Britain, this got us thinking about just how people find their true love in the most remote parts of our county - and I’m not talking about going on Tinder and Facebook.
BBC Entertainment, which has commissioned the programme, says: “A reliance on the land for their livelihoods, and being based within small rural communities, has limited their chance of finding someone to love.
“From farmers to rural vets, the singletons, isolated from the urban dating pool, are ready to not only see if they can meet their match but also to introduce a potential partner to the true realities of life in the countryside.”
So thinking about how hard it must be for our local rural workers to get out on the social scene I wondered if this was a niche the dating websites had already looked at. After all, it’s not so easy to leave Dolly the sheep behind for a night out at Loaded nightclub when you’ve got to be up early to feed the animals in the morning.
After a quick Google search I was surprised to find out just how many dating websites are out there for countryside dwellers. Muddy Matches is one. It boasts of having 130,000 members “who all have one thing in common - they love the countryside.”
We found 26-year-old farmer Will from Spalding and lead tractor operative Henry (24), also from Spalding, among those looking for love on the site.
Lucy Reeves set up Muddy Matches with her sister Emma Royall. They both come from a farming background. She said: “I think nowadays we just live such busy lives both in the city and rural areas. People in the country are doing jobs that can be quite solitary. If you are a rural vet you spend a lot of time with the animals and not so much with people.
“Traditionally, people would meet through groups like the Young Farmers and people are now settling down later in life.
“It can be quite difficult going out and not knowing who is single. Especially now when you go out. It is harder to approach people because everybody is looking at their phones.”
Other dating sites out there helping country dwellers find romance include Country Loving and Countryside Love.
Sarah Cox will present TV’s Love in the Countryside and join the couples along their way as they negotiate getting to know each other, whilst the urban love seekers grapple with wellies, the wild outdoors and woeful Wi-Fi.
Hannah Wyatt, Managing Director of Boundless (part of Freemantle Media) which has produced the programme, said: “Love in the Countryside is an engaging, warm and funny format about real people looking for love. Through their romantic adventures we’ll also explore the differences between town and country life in modern Britain.”
Among the eight men and women looking for love on the programme are Mark (52) a farrier from Norfolk.
He said: “My ideal type is someone bright, bubbly and adventurous.
“They don’t have to be a gym person, just enjoy doing things. I’m looking forward to being able to sit down and kiss and cuddle somebody, to find that one perfect, special person.
“I love living in the countryside. I haven’t got the hustle and bustle of living in the city.
“After working hard all day I love to sit in the garden, have a beer and listen to nothing apart from the countryside.”
Dairy farmer Ed (25) from Lancashire, said: “My alarm goes off at 4.30am. The cows don’t know if it’s a weekday or the weekend so it’s a seven day week. The person I’m looking for isn’t materialistic, but prefers to do things; someone who likes adventure and is comfortable in their own skin.”
Pig farmer Wendy (59) runs a smallholding in Herefordshire.
She said: “I love my life. It is almost complete but I miss the company of a partner. Everybody needs somebody. Top of my list is probably sense of humour, he can laugh a lot and is well-motivated.”
Meet the rural singletons looking for a perfect match: www.bbc.co.uk/love and for details on how to apply to take part in the show as one of their potential dates.