Friday, 29 August 2008

Happy Hay

Researchers from the universities of Sheffield and Manchester have drawn up a map of the happiest places in the UK, using the sense of well-being described by people surveyed. They found that the county of Powys in Wales was top of the list. By happy coincidence, I have recently visited Hay on Wye which is in that county.

It is certainly a very pleasant and attractive town, and luckily it wasn't raining the weekend I was there. It was possibly the single warm and dry weekend of the year.

Cheerful displays of flowers everywhere.

Hay has the benefit of two castles, this, and another which closely resembles a mound of earth covered in grass. Even the one pictured is not what it seems.

Hay castle

Hay's great good fortune continues, because it is close to the lovely countryside of the Wye Valley.

And the ultimate blessing as far as I'm concerned, the river Wye.

Beautiful views all along it as it more or less follows the Wales-England border.

There is quite a network of paths alongside the river and that would keep me very happy.

Both the Wye Valley Walk and Offa's Dyke Way pass by, so providing some great long distance walking.

Another plus point for Hay is provided by the 30 to 40 bookshops in the town, one of which is in the castle pictured above. I could happily browse for days on end.

I dare say there must be other reasons why the area is considered the happiest in Britain but the article I read didn't say specifically. What do you think makes for a great place to live?

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  1. Anywhere the locals are friendly and non-judgemental. And if you don't have to work yourself into the grave to pay for the house, it's a bonus.

  2. Forgot to illustrate above comment - was happier on a very rough council housing estate than in a very subarban development and have since found home to be a tiny village in SW(pop. less than 300, which comes as quite a shock after growing up in Brum), no shops but wonderful friends.
    No doubt sometime will have to/want to move again, but am seriously considering booking a plot in the cimetière before they all go - a nearby mayor forbade anyone to die on his patch (a bit like Westminster,then) as planning permission for a new graveyard had been denied.

  3. I'm fortunate to live in a great place.
    The doctor,dentist,chiropodist,audiologist and undertakers (2) are close at hand.The supermarket is near,also the P.O.and O.A.P Centre.We have a Pizza Palace, an Indian take-away,Chinese take aways (2) and fish and chip shops (2) There are Buses to anywhere (With free Pass ) What more could anyone want ?
    But- most of all-wherever you are happy and are at peace with yourself and with your loved ones is the very best of all.

  4. Thanks for a guided trip to a nice place!

    To me: Lovely landscape, great nature and fauna as well as fresh air - looks almost like Norway you know :-)

  5. I've been wanting to go there for years!

  6. hi. i'm lola. from the pub.

    max told me to walk around and make nice. i think you might be the lady that i accidentally tail swiped your pimms and rods. sorry. my tail has a mind of its own.

    pretty much every where i go is a happy place. except the kennel. oh. and the vet. i don't like those two places very much. your happy spot looks like a lot of fun. i'm a good swimmer. i LOVE to swim. and those swans look like they need chasing.

    i promise i don't bite. well, not swans. only bad people. and bad dogs.

    happy woof.

  7. STUNNING photos! I love dropping by to see what you've posted now!


  8. Is Hay-on-Wye also the place with lots of bookstores? If so, guess lots of reading makes for happy folks! :)

  9. Hay is a place I've always wanted to visit - all those lovely bookshops! Sadly still not got round to it, but I've been at Hubby since that report came out and I might be lucky:-) You were lucky with the weather, it looks lovely in the sunshine.

  10. @ j, very true what you say about the locals making all the difference - a sense of community I suppose.
    @ Barbara, yes, where you are happy is probably more important than the facilities. I have found my ideas on an ideal place to live have changed over the years, as family requirements have changed.
    @ Renny, I take that as a real compliment :)
    @ Alison, it's been on my to do list for years too.
    @ lola, have we been introduced?

  11. @PTT, I'm glad you enjoy them
    @YTSL, yes the place with all the bookstores :) I could have spent days there, never mind just one.
    @CharmaineZoe, keep trying, it's worth a trip if you like books, and it's really a pleasant little town too. The natives were friendly :) We were really lucky with the weather - the single good weekend in the summer as far as I remember.


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