Residents and business owners of rural Lancashire district unsurprised by ONS findings

Ask the residents of the Ribble Valley whether they would swap their rural lives for a busy city one, and the answer is pretty straightforward: “Definitely not. The thought of it horrifies me,” said Jonathan Gledhill, the landlord of the Red Pump Inn, a village dining pub in this quiet part of mid-Lancashire.

Just north of the former mill towns of south Lancashire, this green and pleasant part of the north-west – which includes the vast and unspoilt Forest of Bowland – is officially the happiest place in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics. On a scale of 0 to 10, Ribble Valley residents scored an average of 8.30 when asked by government surveyors about how happy they felt. This compared with an average of 7.56 for the country at large.

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Read More Happy-go-lucky: Ribble Valley officially named the UK's happiest place

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