Halifax names the best places to live in the countryside


  • The Orkney Islands won the accolade for the best rural quality of life after scoring well on education, crime rates and leisure
  • Wynchavon in the West Midlands is in second place and the Derbyshire Dales in the East Midlands takes the third spot in the annual Halifax survey
  • The top 50 rural places to live include eleven districts in the South east, nine in the South West and eight each in the East of England and East Midlands 

Myra Butterworth For MailOnline

The Orkney Islands have been rated as the rural district of the UK with the highest quality of life.

The wild and remote archipelago off the north coast of Scotland won the accolade for the best countryside living after scoring well on education, crime rates and leisure.

Wynchavon in the West Midlands is in second place and the Derbyshire Dales in the East Midlands take the third spot in the annual Halifax survey.

The Orkney Islands off the north coast of Britain have been named as the best place to live in the countryside

The Orkney Islands off the north coast of Britain have been named as the best place to live in the countryside

The annual survey by Halifax named the best rural places to live across the country, with the list of top 10 including South Cambridgeshire and West Oxfordshire

The annual survey by Halifax named the best rural places to live across the country, with the list of top 10 including South Cambridgeshire and West Oxfordshire

The Orkney Islands score well on education, crime rates and leisure, according to the survey

The Orkney Islands score well on education, crime rates and leisure, according to the survey

The survey takes into account a wide range of factors, including residents’ health, life expectancy and crime rates.

The Orkney Islands also scored well on jobs and earnings as well as having low anxiety levels.

However, while there is plenty of space, the Orkney Islands have some of the smallest houses in Britain with an average of 4.5 habitable rooms per home.

The people living in Wychavon in Worcestershire score well on a number of the measures, including having a high average male and female life expectancy of 81.2 years and 84.5 years respectively.

Wychavon also has some of the biggest homes in rural Britain, with an average 6.1 habitable rooms per home, with 98 per cent having central heating and 92 per cent of all houses having superfast broadband.

The area also scores well on low levels of CO2 emissions (at 1.8 tonnes of CO2 per household), a high employment rate at 79 per cent and those in full-time employment typically enjoy high weekly average earnings at £609.

Schools also perform well, with 65 per cent of 15 plus year-olds achieving five or more GCSE results at grades A to C results. And adults in the area are among the happiest in Britain with a high level of life satisfaction.

The area of Purbeck in Dorset features in the top five best places to live in the countryside

The area of Purbeck in Dorset features in the top five best places to live in the countryside

The Derbyshire Dales is also a top five rural place to live after scoring well on life expectancy

The Derbyshire Dales is also a top five rural place to live after scoring well on life expectancy

Wiltshire has been identified as one of the top 30 places to live in the country, according to the Halifax survey

Wiltshire has been identified as one of the top 30 places to live in the country, according to the Halifax survey

The Derbyshire Dales, Hambleton and Purbeck in Dorset are also in the top five, scoring well on personal well-being as well as having long male and female life expectancy.

The top 50 rural places to live include eleven districts in the South east, nine in the South West and eight each in the East of England and East Midlands.

The Orkneys offer a quality of life unmatched elsewhere in rural Britain 

Some of the areas outside these regions making the top 50 include Monmouthshire in Wales and the Shetland Islands.

South Oxfordshire was last year’s winner, but is ranked tenth this year due to the inclusion of two new categories in this year’s survey – the number of pubs and the availability of health clubs and leisure centres.

The Shetland Islands are ranked in position fifteen of the best  spots to live in the countryside

The Shetland Islands are ranked in position fifteen of the best spots to live in the countryside

Martin Ellis, economist at Halifax, said: ‘With one of the lowest population densities and traffic levels in Scotland, some of the most stunning scenery in the British Isles and the lowest levels of anxiety and highest life satisfaction ratings, the Orkneys offer a quality of life unmatched elsewhere in rural Britain.

‘While the employment rate is significantly higher than the national average, there is more and more emphasis being placed on achieving a good work-life balance. The 2017 Rural Quality of Life Survey includes a leisure category for the first time. This shows that residents in the Orkneys have a good choice of pubs from which to choose.’

He added: ‘Rural areas in the South tend to receive higher ratings for weekly earnings, the weather, health, and life expectancy, while in the rural north areas score well on education in terms of grades and smaller class sizes, lower house prices in relation to earnings, and both lower traffic flows and population densities.’

2017 HALIFAX RURAL QUALITY OF LIFE RANKINGS – THE TOP 50 AREAS
Local Authority Districts (LAD) Region Ranking 2017
Orkney Islands Scotland 1
Wychavon West Midlands 2
Derbyshire Dales East Midlands 3
Hambleton Yorkshire and The Humber 4
Purbeck South West 5
South Cambridgeshire East of England 6
Chiltern South East 7
West Oxfordshire South East 8
South Hams South West 9
South Oxfordshire South East 10
Tonbridge and Malling South East 11
West Dorset South West 12
South Northamptonshire East Midlands 13
Waverley South East 14
Shetland Islands Scotland 15
Eden North West 16
Malvern Hills West Midlands 17
Mid Devon South West 18
Rutland East Midlands 19
Ryedale Yorkshire and The Humber 20
Richmondshire Yorkshire and The Humber 21
Uttlesford East of England 22
Maldon East of England 23
Monmouthshire Wales 24
Babergh East of England 25
Vale of White Horse South East 26
Rushcliffe East Midlands 27
Mid Sussex South East 28
Wiltshire South West 29
Harborough East Midlands 30
East Hertfordshire East of England 31
West Berkshire South East 32
Aylesbury Vale South East 33
North Kesteven East Midlands 34
Selby Yorkshire and The Humber 35
Suffolk Coastal East of England 36
East Devon South West 37
Newark and Sherwood East Midlands 38
Craven Yorkshire and The Humber 39
Tandridge South East 40
Hinckley and Bosworth East Midlands 41
New Forest South East 42
Cotswold South West 43
South Lakeland North West 44
Broadland East of England 45
Powys Wales 46
Isles of Scilly South West 47
Sedgemoor South West 48
South Norfolk East of England 49
Western Isles Scotland 50
SOURCE: HALIFAX     



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