A business owner in Clare has welcomed the town’s inclusion on a list of the 50 best rural places to live in the UK.
The town was ranked 13th in the Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live in the Countryside – a list compiled in association with property website Zoopla.
The reasons for Clare’s high ranking on the list are all too apparent to Sarah Pugh, who has run Sea Pictures Gallery in Well Lane since 2009, having moved there from London with husband Alaric.
The couple had been looking for a suitable rural property to buy for four years when they stumbled across Clare by chance and are now part of what Sarah says is a very strong community.
She said: “You just get involved in this place. It’s a real kind of community.
“I think that is what is missing in so many places. There is so much happening here.”
Clare boasts dozens of clubs and societies. It has lots of independent traders, a country park with the remains of Clare Castle within, a primary school, secondary school, GP surgery, physiotherapists, a library and more.
The town council is in the process of taking over the ownership of the country park from Suffolk County Council, which typifies the community’s proactive attitude, added Sarah.
“It’s a real can-do-things kind of place. I don’t know why it attracts can do people, but it does.
“It is a good news story for Clare.
“Our friends thought we were bonkers giving up London, but we couldn’t be happier. We absolutely love it here.
“There’s a feeling that this is a good place. It’s not that far to Cambridge. It’s not that far from London. You can get to places.
“There are enough services to sustain this community. A lot of rural communities lose their services, but we have got them here.”