Rutland best place to live in the countryside
The East Midlands county of Rutland has been named the best rural place to live in the UK, according to new research from Halifax.
Taking into account factors including residents' health and life expectancy, crime rate, weather, schools and employment, Rutland came out on top, having come second last year.
More than 96% of residents reported good or fairly good health, 80% of 16- to 64-year-olds are employed, with many enjoying high incomes. The average wage is £623 a week, or £32,396 a year. The county has one of the lowest crimes rates in the country too.
However, because it is such a desirable place to live, the cost of living in Rutland is higher than in many other parts of the country, with an average house price that is 6.7 times the average annual pre-tax local income, compared to a national average of 6.2.
In second position to Rutland was Chiltern, followed by Uttlesford, South Northamptonshire, and Rushcliffe.
Overall, the top 50 rural places to live are dominated by the South East, with 14 locations making the list, followed by the East of England with 10 places.
According to the survey, those living in Orkney in the north of Scotland are the most satisfied with their life, recording a score of 8.2 compared to a national average of 7.5, while those in Babergh in Suffolk are the happiest (8.2 compared to 7.4).
Craig McKinlay, mortgages director of Halifax, said: "Rutland has moved up eleven places to the top spot in the 2015 Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey. Taking a wide range of economic and social factors into account residents here can now lay claim to having the highest standard of living in rural Britain.
"In terms of personal wellbeing and general good health, Rutland residents score among the highest in Great Britain. And while house prices relative to earnings are above the rural average, Rutland still performs strongly in terms of average weekly earnings and a high employment rate."