Sunday, 02 April 2017 19:32

Revealed: Best rural places to live

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Revealed: Best rural places to live

Britain's best rural places to live in 2017 have been revealed in the latest annual quality of life survey.

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

Wychavon in Worcestershire takes second place and the Derbyshire Dales in the East Midlands take the third spot.

The annual Halifax survey considers a number of measures.

Each district is ranked according to a range of factors including education, crime rates, pollution levels and employment.

    See also: Revealed - Best rural places to live 2016

Some methodological changes have resulted in some significant changes in the Quality of Life Survey rankings compared to 2016.

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

Orkney's position as number one – having moved up from last year's 46th place – is just one of them.

The changes include adjustments to the ONS Personal Well-Being Survey – a component of the Index.

The index also includes two new categories – the number of pubs and the availability of health clubs and leisure centres.

Quality of life

Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: "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."

Wychavon ranked well with a high average life expectancies of 81.2 years (male) and 84.5 years (female).

It also scored well with 92% of all houses having superfast broadband, low CO2 emissions and a 79% employment rate.

Those in full-time employment typically enjoy high weekly average earnings at £609.

Adults in Wychavon also have a high level of life satisfaction.


The Derbyshire Dales scored well well on personal well-being, with long male and female life expectancies.

The top 50 rural places to live include eleven districts in south-east, nine in the south-west and eight each in East Anglia and the East Midlands.

Mr Ellis said: "Rural areas in the south tend to receive higher ratings for weekly earnings, the weather, health, and life expectancy."

Meanwhile, top ranked rural areas in the north score well on education in terms of grades and smaller class sizes.

They also score well on lower house prices in relation to earnings, and both lower traffic flows and population densities

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