It's official! Shropshire named as one of the happiest places to live in the UK
It comes as no surprise to those who live here – but Shropshire has just been named as one of the happiest places to live in the UK.
And with its rolling hills, beautiful towns, picture perfect streets and historic buildings it is easy to see why.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have laid bare the parts of the country which are the happiest, most miserable, anxious and have the highest and lowest levels of life satisfaction.
It found the Outer Hebrides off the Scottish mainland is the happiest place to live, with residents scoring 8.24 out of 10 in the last year.
Shropshire, which has a population of 306,100 people, scored 7.66 out of 10, while Telford & Wrekin scored 7.37, which fell just below the national average.
Ludlow: With its imposing castle, which has played its part in some of the most significant periods of history, Ludlow is a jewel in the county's crown. Known as a foodie magnet, the town retains its old world charm with its half timbered buildings, medieval walkways and historic churches.
Shrewsbury: There are approximately 71,715 people living in the county town, which has dozens of coffee shops, outstanding restaurants, bars and pubs, a theatre and the beautiful Quarry. What is there not to like?
Telford: Known for its shopping centre and ice skating rink the town is one of the fastest-growing in the UK. Telford was put together in the 1960s and 1970s as a new town. It also contains the Ironbridge World Heritage site.
Bridgnorth: The town is split into High Town and Low Town and has a population of around 12,000. Bridgnorth is named after a bridge over the River Severn. It has a mixture of high street chain stores and boutique shops.
Oswestry: The market town is surrounded by stunning countryside including the Racecourse, Park Hall Farm and the Iron Age Hill Fort. At the heart of the town is Cae Glas Park with its bandstand.
Whitchurch: It is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Shropshire. The town has its own short arm of the Llangollen Canal. For those who love the outdoors there is the Waterways Country Park.
Ellesmere: The beautiful Mere is the focal point of the town with its geese and ducks and waterside walks while the canal and its towpaths present a restful alternative to the hustle and bustle of life.
When it comes to general satisfaction with life, people in Corby recorded the lowest score, while those in Mid & East Antrim, Northern Ireland, reported being the most satisfied.
And Shropshire scored 7.73 out of 10 for life satisfaction beating Telford & Wrekin which scored 7.59.
Shropshire also beat Telford & Wrekin in the worthwhile stakes. The county scored 8.1 out of 10 while the unitary trust scored 7.87, just on the national average.
And residents of the county feel slightly less anxious than their national counterparts. Out of 10, people gave the score of 2.87 while in Telford & Wrekin the score was once again in line with the national average at 2.91. The most anxious place to live in the UK was Hammersmith and Fulham.
It's little wonder Shropshire is one of the happiest places to live. A good standard of living, low rate of crime, reasonable prices and beautiful environment are among the county's hallmarks.
We are near to stunning countryside and within a short drive of Metropolitan cities and the coast.
Many of our schools provide children with a great start in life and we have impressive cultural and sporting facilities. In many places, there is a sense of community cohesion and levels of neighbourliness that are absent in other parts of the UK.
The region has a thriving food scene, there are numerous family festivals and events and local businesses are characterised by a can-do spirit and entrepreneurial attitude.
Shropshire has a lower population density than most parts of the UK. The air is generally cleaner and the rivers and streams clearer.
Of course, things are never perfect and the county faces the same day-to-day challenges that afflict others across the UK.
However, we can count our blessings to live in one of the UK's truly green and pleasant lands. Shropshire is a magnificent county. It is no surprise that people are happy to live and work here.
Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow said; "It's official, Shropshire is one of the happier places to live in the UK. We are fortunate to live in such a special county. People in Shropshire as a whole enjoy above average happiness ?and well-being, and below average anxiety. This proves it, Shropshire is a great place to live."
Jayne Beese, a mum-of-one from Worthen, near Shrewsbury, said: "I love it here and couldn't be happier. There are wonderful, friendly people, the countryside is outstanding and we are very lucky."
Martin Wood, town crier for Shrewsbury said: "I am surprised we are not the happiest county in the UK but I am not surprised we are up there amongst them. We are surrounded by lovely countryside, everybody is friendly and the pace of life is a lot slower than in other areas of the country. Life is peaceful here."
Matt Overton, from Bridgnorth, said: "I've lived here all my life and have always felt safe due to knowing many of the people around here. It makes you feel part of a bigger family."