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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Map highlights 'tranquil' England

A new map has been designed to measure tranquillity across England, and shows Northumberland is the best place to find peace and quiet.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) looked at many factors from roads and flight paths to rivers and quarries to assess tranquillity.

It found the North East was the most peaceful region, and London and the South East the least.

The CPRE said tranquillity in the countryside mattered deeply to people.

Big views, peace and quiet, fresh air and nature contribute to physical and mental health as well as quality of life, the CPRE said.

Now the campaign group wants people to use the map as a tool to save tranquil areas from erosion.

It revealed Northumberland, followed by Cumbria and North Yorkshire as the most tranquil counties, while the least were Surrey, Cheshire and Hertfordshire.

North Yorkshire

Researchers were able to uncover the very heart of tranquillity in England, but have refused to name it for fear of it being spoiled.

Instead, the CPRE is running a competition for people to guess, although the winner will be sworn to secrecy.

To make the map, researchers from Northumbria and Newcastle universities consulted more than 1,300 countryside users and visitors across England on their perceptions on what did and did not make them feel tranquil.

'Shrinking and fragmenting'

They then used computer-based techniques and geographical databases to show how likely every part of England was to make a visitor feel tranquil.

My favourite spot is Winter Hill, to the north of Bolton. From there you can see for dozens of miles in any direction
Andy Peters, Bolton

The findings were then painted onto the map in colours ranging from deep red - within towns and cities and along major roads - shading through orange and yellow to a rich green in the most unspoilt areas of deep countryside.

The CPRE said tranquillity is affected through new buildings and infrastructure, growing traffic and expanding roads, more flights, flight paths and runways and increased light pollution.

New buildings
Roads and traffic
Flights overhead
Light pollution

CPRE Chief Executive Shaun Spiers said: "Tranquillity is one of the greatest benefits we get from the countryside.

"We know that tranquil areas are shrinking and fragmenting because of the remorseless growth in road traffic and flying and the gradual spread of towns, cities and infrastructure into the countryside."

The campaign aims to persuade national and local government, planners, developers, business and public bodies to start using the map to safeguard and enhance tranquil areas for the future.

How to find out if you live in 'tranquil' England

New countryside body reveals aims
10 Oct 06 |  Science/Nature

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