REVEALED: The areas of Hampshire voted the best places to live

The Meon Valley - which comes under Winchester City Council - from Beacon Hill National Nature Reserve Picture: Ray Smith
The Meon Valley - which comes under Winchester City Council - from Beacon Hill National Nature Reserve Picture: Ray Smith
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SEVERAL areas in and around Hampshire have been named among the best rural places to live in the UK.

The latest Halifax 2018 Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey said that the Orkney Islands were top of the list, but Winchester, which was fourth.

The Winchester City Council areas includes Denmead, Wickham, Bishop’s Waltham and Swanmore.

Chichester was placed 23rd and the East Hampshire local authority area was ranked 42nd.

The annual study looks at aspects of life including employment, education as well as social and environmental factors to make the findings.

The Orkney Islands kept the top spot after scoring well on employment levels, average spend per pupil on education, low anxiety levels, low crime rates, low primary class sizes and consistently high scores in life satisfaction and happiness.

In second place, residents in Rutland residents have some of the biggest homes in rural Britain, with an average of 6.4 habitable rooms, Halifax said.

The north east of England had no places in Halifax’s top 50, with Northumberland ranked at number 95.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: ‘With strong education and employment levels, low crime rates and residents loving life, not to mention breathtaking wide open spaces, the Orkney Islands have retained the crown of Britain’s best rural place to live.’

Looking at how rural quality of life varies across the country, he said rural areas in the South East receive higher weekly earnings, while those in the east Midlands have larger property sizes.

Mr Galley continued: ‘On the southern coast, sunnier climates shine through in the rankings, while, lower house prices-to-earnings, wellbeing and class sizes give northern areas the desirability factor.”

Here are the top 50 rural areas in Britain with the best quality of life, according to Halifax:

1. Orkney Islands, Scotland

2. Rutland, East Midlands

3. Wychavon, West Midlands

4. Winchester, South East

5. Waverley, South East

6. Craven, Yorkshire and the Humber

7. Richmondshire, Yorkshire and the Humber

8. Stratford-on-Avon, West Midlands

9. Uttlesford, East of England

10. Ryedale, Yorkshire and the Humber

11. South Oxfordshire, South East

12. Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber

13. St Edmundsbury, East of England

14. Suffolk Coastal, East of England

15. Purbeck, South West

16. Hambleton, Yorkshire and the Humber

17. West Oxfordshire, South East

18. Harborough, East Midlands

19. Monmouthshire, Wales

20. Eden, North West

21. South Cambridgeshire, East of England

22. Tewkesbury, South West

23. Chichester, South East

24. Babergh, East of England

25. Maldon, East of England

26. Cotswold, South West

27. Aylesbury Vale, South East

28. Wiltshire, South West

29. West Dorset, South West

30. East Devon, South West

31. Mid Devon, South West

32. Rushcliffe, East Midlands

33. Malvern Hills, West Midlands

34. South Norfolk, East of England

35. South Lakeland, North West

36. Vale of White Horse, South East

37. South Hams, South West

38. Huntingdonshire, East of England

39. Horsham, South East

40. North Warwickshire, West Midlands

41. Shetland Islands, Scotland

42. East Hampshire, South East

43. Central Bedfordshire, East of England

44. Derbyshire Dales, East Midlands

45. North Devon, South West

46. Mid Suffolk, East of England

47. East Riding of Yorkshire, Yorkshire and The Humber

48. Teignbridge, South West

49. Ribble Valley, North West

50. North Kesteven, East Midlands

And here are the top rural places to live in each region and their overall position in the rankings, according to Halifax:

- Scotland, Orkney Islands, 1

- East Midlands, Rutland, 2

-West Midlands, Wychavon, 3

- South East, Winchester, 4

- Yorkshire and the Humber, Craven, 6

- East of England, Uttlesford, 9

- South West, Purbeck, 15

- Wales, Monmouthshire, 19

- North West, Eden, 20

- North East, Northumberland, 95