The Derbyshire Dales has been voted one of the top ten places to retire according to research by the Guardian newspaper in partnership with credit reference agency Experian.
Experian number-crunched 40 measures that make up “quality of life” as rated by people whose children have left home, with a special emphasis on air quality, crime rate, population density, burglary rates, neighbourliness, good health and life expectancy.
Reporter Jill Papworth wrote in the Guardian on Saturday (28 July) that although Devon and Dorset remain firm favourites, several northern districts beat the south hands down when it comes to quality of life.
She added: “None of the big cities came anywhere near the top of the rankings, perhaps confirming the first findings from the government’s National Wellbeing Programme that the happiest people live in remote areas. It ties in with a 2009 survey by Saga, which found the single most important factor older people identify as key for their retirement is access to the countryside.”
Chairman of Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Steve Bull said: “It comes as no surprise that our beautiful Dales have such a high reputation across the country. But what these findings really show is something local residents already know – the Derbyshire Dales is a brilliant place to live, work and visit.
“While we warmly welcome new residents and work hard to keep the Dales healthy, safe, clean and green, as a District Council we are also conscious of the necessity to continue to provide new affordable housing that meets the needs of people who already live here. That remains our top priority and I’m delighted our record in this area has also received national recognition.“One of the District Council’s progressive policies is to use Council Tax from second homes in the Dales directly to fund affordable homes for local people, ensuring they can continue to enjoy this beautiful part of the world.”
The 10 best places to retire to in England are:
1 Craven, North Yorkshire,
2 North Dorset
3 West Devon
4 Purbeck, Dorset
5 East Devon
6 West Dorset
7 Torridge, Devon.
8 Eden, Cumbria
9 South Hams, Devon
10 Derbyshire Dales
The Guardian reports that the Derbyshire Dales is “a long area bordering Sheffield in the north, and Derby in the south, about half of the district is in the Peak District National Park. With its district offices in Matlock, most of its population lies along the River Derwent with settlements including Bakewell, Ashbourne, Winster, Hartington, Wirksworth and Eyam.
Stating why the Derbyshire Dales is so attractive, the Guardian adds: “Undulating, beautiful landscape – the ultimate gentle, walking country – dotted with picturesque villages and towns with a variety of characters. Bakewell, the market town for the Peak District National Park, has old stone buildings, a medieval bridge over the River Wye, and lots of individual shops, speciality food outlets, good places to eat.
“Ashbourne offers Georgian streets, cobbled yards and antique shops, while Matlock was developed as a Victorian Spa.
“Perfect for outdoor-lovers is the new Monsal Trail, running around 20km from Bakewell to Buxton along an old railway line, and following the path of the River Wye, which has been newly refurbished to offer spectacular scenery and access for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.”
Other Guardian facts:
Annual rainfall: Surprisingly low at 920.2 mls (36.2 ins)
Sunshine hours per year: 1343.4
Population: 70,400 (230 per sq mile).
91% of people think neighbours “look out for each other”
Beauty spots: Dovedale. Lathkill Dale. Stanage, the largest of the gritstone edges, north of Hathersage.