With the availability of the likes of solar geysers, water pumps and water tanks, rural living isn’t quite the huge sacrifice it once was. In fact, the only real disadvantage to it is being far away from fast-food outlets and convenience stores which are open 24 hours a day. It’s all relative of course and some people would gladly say that rural living is not quite as “rural” as it used to be. A drive into town every so often makes for a nice “outing” to occasionally look forward to, otherwise it’s really hard to miss the insane peak-hour traffic and noise pollution city-living has to offer.

Otters at Tophill Low Nature Reserve

It’s still a matter of preference though, but I can honestly say that rural living definitely improves ones quality of life. What rural living does best though is it puts your life’s quality control matters in your own hands, so you can be sure of the quality of the water you drink for instance and you can be sure of the quality of the fresh produce you grow (or buy from the nearest selling neighbours). You don’t have to pay more for organically grown vegetables for example and you can often taste the richness of the fresh produce you eat once prepared.

Rather ironically though, living in a rural area affords the likes of those living close to places like the Tophill Nature Reserve the opportunity to peep into the quality of life of city dwellers and those hiding out in the suburbs. In this particular instance it’s good news however, in that it has come to light that there’s a thriving otter population living in the nature reserve, which is located in the River Hull catchment near Driffield. This has emerged as one of the best breeding grounds for the otters, reinforced by a thriving population of lamprey fish and trout. The water-quality can subsequently be assumed to be good if it gets a thumbs-up from otters, animals which make their life living off the water and all which it has to offer by way of food.

Going beyond assumptions though, there’s actually some video evidence to affirm the good quality of the water. A two year study was carried out by zoology students from the University of Hull, which is what revealed the presence of the three wild otters living at the Tophill Nature Reserve. Otters are notoriously very private animals and while it took some hidden cameras and visitor snaps to confirm the presence of the otters, for those of us who live in rural areas spotting otters and other such treats happens quite often.

Getting back to the water-quality issue however, the otter population had been declining due to the use of certain pesticides, which have since been withdrawn. This alongside the advancements in waste water treatment processes by Yorkshire Water has had the otters giving the water and its surrounding environment the thumbs-up (or paws-up) since it has enabled them to thrive once again. If the waste water is safe for wild otters, the original water supply must be safe as well.

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