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Simon Reeve claims ‘rural, white working class’ is being driven out of the countryside by the middle class

BBC adventurer Simon Reeve reveals his new battlefield exposes the plight of the ‘rural, white working class’ driven from the countryside by the middle class buying second homes they don’t live in

  • Simon Reeve, 49, explores class in his new BBC series, Touring the Lake District
  • It is said that in a village near Ambleside only two of the 28 houses are occupied full time
  • Investigating the financial problems of hill farmers and the lack of job opportunities


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Simon Reeve has claimed that his new series on the Lake District exposes the plight of the ‘rural, white working class’ who have been driven from the countryside by the middle class grabbing second homes they don’t live in.

The BBC adventurer, 49, who lives on the east side of Dartmoor with his wife, Anya, and their son, Jake, 10, focuses on the issue of class in his new show, Touring the Lake District.

“The biggest realization for me in the series was that there is a big risk that the countryside will become primarily or only for the middle class,” he said in an interview with The Telegraph. “It’s definitely getting harder to be poorer in rural Britain.”

He went on to explain how properties in national parks are about 20 percent more expensive than those outside the area – noting shockingly that in a village near Ambleside, only two out of 28 houses are occupied full-time.

Simon Reeve, 49, who lives on the east side of Dartmoor with his wife, Anya, and their son, Jake, 10, focuses on the issue of class in his new show, Touring the Lake District.  Pictured, in Haweswater, Lake District National Park

Simon Reeve, 49, who lives on the east side of Dartmoor with his wife, Anya, and their son, Jake, 10, focuses on the issue of class in his new show, Touring the Lake District. Pictured, in Haweswater, Lake District National Park

In his latest adventure, the bestselling author and broadcaster also explores the financial problems of mountain farmers.  Pictured, with Farmer, David Thompson and his Fell Ponies in the Lake District National Park

In his latest adventure, the bestselling author and host also explores the financial problems of mountain farmers.  Pictured, with Farmer, David Thompson and his Fell Ponies in the Lake District National Park

In his latest adventure, the bestselling author and host also explores the financial problems of mountain farmers. Pictured, with Farmer, David Thompson and his Fell Ponies in the Lake District National Park

In his latest adventure, the bestselling author and broadcaster also explores the financial woes of hill farmers and hears of locals angered by the rapid increase in second homes and cottages in the countryside.

He also visits Whitehaven and Barrow-in-Furness – towns outside the national park – where he learns that jobs are few, meaning a potential struggle for younger generations.

‘We want functioning communities in rural Britain, and we really need to address how the countryside is a space for all,’ said the BBC travel presenter.

“We don’t want a situation where the worker bees are in small towns on the fringes of national parks and commuting to serve the tourists and the wealthy.”

The adventurer appeared on ITV's Lorraine on 14th October 2021

The adventurer appeared on ITV's Lorraine on 14th October 2021

The adventurer appeared on ITV’s Lorraine on 14th October 2021

The adventurer used Switzerland, where they limit the percentage of second homes in a community to 20 percent, as a role model, suggesting the issue should be discussed in Britain sooner rather than later.

“These are bits of Britain that we don’t always get to see,” he added. “And certainly one of the most deprived, under-reached parts of the country is the rural, white working class.”

Reeve, who reveals that he quickly lost his West London accent when he started working at a newspaper to ‘fit in’, also urged his son to follow in his footsteps so that he too can be ‘seamless’ flutter between different situations.

He went on to question whether the nation has become so self-obsessed.

‘What would Britons say today if they were called up to fight the Nazis?’ he added. “I really wonder if we’ve been so brainwashed by individualism and ‘because you’re worth it’ that we’d say, ‘Well, damn not.’

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