Devon welcomes praise as 'best place to live in England'

PUBLISHED: 17:54 28 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:22 17 June 2010

DEVON County Council has welcomed a new survey which says that Devon is the best place to live in England.

DEVON County Council has welcomed a new survey which says that Devon is the best place to live in England.

The latest issue of Country Life magazine says that Devon is "officially England's best county" and County Councillors agree.

Devon County Council Leader Brian Greenslade said: "We're pleased and proud to receive such glowing recognition. This is confirmation of what everyone in Devon has known for a long time and it's why we're so proud to fly our Devon flag. What is very welcome is that the rest of the country gets to hear what is so good about our beautiful county, and that is particularly important in the current economic climate. We're delighted that Devon is getting the praise it rightfully deserves and that the County Council's efforts to make Devon even greener are recognised. We're more than happy to share it with visitors to allow them to experience what we're lucky enough to appreciate here every day."

Each county was assessed in a number of areas including the quality of its health services, schools, social fabric, sunshine hours, the number of village greens, the quality of light and tranquility, and the number of residents in Who's Who.

Devon came out as England's top county after being rated by the magazine as the best in the categories for green policy, landscape and wildlife, heritage, local food and pubs. The article says that, "few counties can match the variety that Devon manages to pack into its 2,589 square miles. It is the only county to have two separate coastlines."

Councillor Humphrey Temperley, Devon County Council Executive Member for Strategic Planning, Regional and International Affairs, said: "This recognition from Country Life makes sure that everyone else knows why Devon is such a unique place to live and visit, as we enjoy a better quality of life than anywhere else in England. Hopefully it resonates with people looking to holiday in Britain to provide a timely boost to the local economy."

Councillor Margaret Rogers, Devon County Council Executive Member for Environment, said: "Devon is unrivalled as far as our beautiful natural surroundings are concerned. We can boast two World Heritage Sites, two National Parks. We have more green tourism businesses and more organic food producers than any other county in the UK."

It is only the second time that the magazine has carried out the survey, and Devon also finished top last time round in 2003.

As well as two National Parks and two World Heritage Sites, Devon can also lay claim to 3,500 miles of footpaths, 150 miles of the National Cycle Network, many thousands of Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Listed Buildings, sandy beaches and some of the most popular sailing and surfing waters in Britain.

Mark Hedges, editor of Country Life, said: "Few counties can match the variety that Devon manages to pack inside its borders - scoring top for the beauty of its landscape, heritage, pubs and local food, with a huge range of farm shops, meat producers and local butchers. It is also the greenest county, with the highest rates for recycling and composting. Devon has always had a special place in many people's hearts as a favourite place for family holidays, to escape city life and to retire. Our survey shows that Devon really does deliver the dream."

Devon finished first ahead of Hampshire in second, and Kent in third place.

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