West Heslerton is up for sale

Much is being made of a whole Yorkshire village that’s up for sale. At an estimated £20 million for 43 houses and over 2,000 acres of surrounding countryside — less than a rich man’s terraced house in some parts of London — it’s got to be amazing value.

The sale is due to the death of Eve Downay who looked after the village with a kindly eye and wanted it to be bought by another benign landlord. Not a picturesque chocolate box type of village that one sees in the Cotswolds, West Heslerton still looks splendid in an aerial photo in the sales catalogue.

An honest-to-goodness, working village which has its own church, primary school, soccer, cricket, bowling and pub-quiz teams it’s to be hoped that the village survives, not for nostalgic reasons but because — I strongly believe — it sounds like the habitats we’ll all want to return to one day in the more distant future.

When we’ve fully developed automated machine tools run with DNA algorithms making in situ any sophisticated goods that we want, it will be this size of working and living group where we’ll want to be because that’s where our genes have shaped themselves to be..

Teenagers will be bored, though. They’ll be off to the university cities to meet and play with others and also, more importantly, learn the specialisation of their choice. Then, when they want to marry and have children they’ll choose one of the villages of their own specialisation.

Utopia? I don’t see why this shouldn’t be a practical proposition. We lived in groups of similar numbers for 200,000 years and it worked then.

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