PURBECK has been named the best rural place to live in the South West.

The area was placed 15th nationally in the latest Halifax 2018 Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey.

It was one of just two places in Dorset to make it into the list.

West Dorset was placed second best in the South West and 29th overall across the country.

The overall winner was the Orkney Islands, with Rutland in the East Midlands in second place, followed by Wychavon in the West Midlands, Winchester and Waverley in the South East.

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.

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

The North East of England failed to feature in Halifax’s top 50, with Northumberland ranked at number 95.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “With strong education and employment levels, low crime rates and residents loving life, not to mention breath-taking 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.”

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

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

1 Scotland, Orkney Islands

2 East Midlands, Rutland

3 West Midlands, Wychavon

4 South East, Winchester

6 Yorkshire and the Humber, Craven

9 East of England, Uttlesford

15 South West, Purbeck

19 Wales, Monmouthshire

20 North West, Eden

95 North East, Northumberland