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Sunday Times: Stroud still ranked as one of the best places to live in the South West


Stroud, ranked as the Best Place to Live in 2021, has this year been voted as a hot spot in the South West.

Stroud topped the Sunday Times list of 78 locations across the country last year with the town praised for its schools, transport links and green space along with a ‘unique independent spirit’.

Despite not winning the top gong, Stroud featured in a West Country list which saw The Chalke Valley in Wiltshire come out on top.

The Sunday Times Best Places to Live covers the following regions: North and Northeast, Midlands, Northern Ireland, Southeast, Wales, Southwest, East, London, Scotland and the Northwest.  

Ilkley, West Yorkshire, was named as the overall Best Place to Live in the UK. 

Helen Davies, The Times and Sunday Times Property Editor said: “The Sunday Times Best Places to Live list is necessarily subjective. Leave it just to statistics and you will never capture the spirit of a place. For that, you need to visit to take into account that ‘you have to be here’ feeling. Is the pub dog-friendly, for example? Can you live car-free? What are the schools and houses like? Is it multicultural and multigenerational, and can it offer a good way of life to lots of different sorts of people? 

“Ten years ago, when we launched the inaugural list, London’s gravitational pull was strong, the WFH revolution had not yet reached our doorstep and high streets were stacked with chains. How times have changed — and how welcome that change is.  

“This year we have discovered new best places to live, from resurgent city centres in the North, rejuvenated suburbs across the country, hidden villages in the Southwest, and a commutable Scottish island. 

“We hope there is something to suit everyone.” 

The Chalke Valley, Wiltshire (Winner, new): The community-run Chalke Valley Stores is an inspiring hub for a string of villages that reflect the best of rural life in the 21st century, with a standout pub, Saxon churches,  thatched cottages and a history festival, but also Ch4lke mobile – a locally organised mobile network that will give broadband speeds a much-needed boost. 

Average house price: £655,000 

Growth since 2020: data not available 

Stroud, Gloucestershire: There’s something for everyone in last year’s best place to live, whether it’s yomps on the commons with a Labrador or changing the world one soya latte at a time. Everyone likes to celebrate everything local, especially at the brilliant Saturday farmers’ market, the schools are good and there’s a strong cultural offering too. 

Average house price: £412,000 

Growth since 2020: 16% 

Bridport, Dorset: Festivals, independent shops, beautiful landscapes and the rugged Jurassic Coast just a walk away make Bridport a dream combination of coast, culture and countryside. 

Average house price: £400,000 

Growth since 2020: 27% 

Bristol: A rebellious streak is never far below the surface in Britain’s most independent and creative city – but that’s what makes it so interesting. It’s leading the pack on sustainability, but business is booming too. 

Average house price: £363,000 

Growth since 2020: 13% 

Budleigh Salterton, Devon (New): No longer a sleepy retirement town, unspoilt Budleigh Salterton is now a hotspot for young families, lured by Colyton Grammar, one of the best schools in the Southwest, and a truly lovely beach. Intellectual bonus points are provided by the literary and classical music festivals. 

Average house price: £445,000 

Growth since 2020: 6% 

Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire (New): With leafy Cotswolds countryside on one side and all the upmarket attractions of Cheltenham on the other, this smart village is certainly well placed, though it’s the stellar reputation of Balcarras School that makes it a magnet for upwardly mobile young families. 

Average house price: £499,000 

Growth since 2020: 12% 

Dartmoor (New): The landscape offers the best of the great outdoors, beaches are within easy reach and arty, friendly Ashburton is a thriving town – and residents outnumber ponies by just two to one. 

Average house price: £403,000 

Growth since 2020: 27% 

Sherborne, Dorset (New): You’ll never be short of friends in this ancient, beautiful market town. It has more than 200 community groups, an interesting and improving high street and its abbey is as beautiful a parish church as you’ll find. 

Average house price: £369,000 

Growth since 2020: 8% 

Wellow, Somerset (New): This small, picturesque village close to Bath is one of Britain’s best-kept secrets, and earns a first showing in the list thanks to its convenient location and locals who are friendly, passionate about their home and good at getting things done. 

Average house price: £391,000 

Growth since 2020: 17%  

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