STOCKBRIDGE has been featured in this year’s top 10 places to live in the south east and residents and visitors are not surprised.

The Test Valley town was judged to be one of the best places to call home by The Sunday Times.

Hampshire Chronicle: Stockbridge High StreetStockbridge High Street (Image: Adele Bouchard)

The expert panel, behind the Best Places to Live awards sponsored by Halifax, chose Stockbridge for its shops selling local produce, independent stores, selection of pubs, cafes and restaurants and its proximity to the River Test.

Hayley Rampton, 40, of Nelson Close, moved from London to Stockbridge four years ago for a lifestyle change and to bring up her child.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Hayley RamptonHayley Rampton (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Hayley, who works remotely as a merchandiser, said: “My dog Rocky absolutely loves it here. It’s the perfect family place, you can walk over to the High Street and get everything you need. It’s super picturesque and everyone is so friendly.

“Everyone remembers your face, it’s such a nice place to be.”

Fifth generation butcher James Robinson has lived in Stockbridge High Street for 22 years. James, 25, who works at John Robinson Butchers, said: “The people are always friendly. There are lots of country sports to do. There are golf clubs nearby and dog walks too. There is a real community feel in the local pubs.

“We get mainly local people coming to the butchers. It’s really important to have a proper butcher shop. A butcher actually cares about the quality and the service is worth its weight in gold.”

Hampshire Chronicle: James RobinsonJames Robinson (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Carol Preston has been working at Stockbridge Community Market in the town hall for around eight years and lives just off the A30. Carol, 67, said: “Everybody watches out for their neighbours. I’m not really surprised it’s made the list.

"In the summer we get quite a lot of tourists – they like the independent shops as they’re a bit different. People can walk up and down the High Street and have a cup of coffee and a nice homemade cake.

“The market is a bit of a community hub – we’ve got the older regulars who sometimes stay here all morning. It’s a great meeting point for the older generation.”

Hampshire Chronicle: The Stockbridge Community Market teamThe Stockbridge Community Market team (Image: Adele Bouchard)

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Frequent visitor, Sophie Hill, of Church Road in Longstock, said she is “not at all surprised” to see the town rank so highly.

The stay-at-home mum, aged 48, said: “It’s a busy little town. It’s got pretty much everything you need as well as gorgeous walks. There is a really lovely community feel.

“The proximity and links to other places like Winchester and Salisbury are great and it’s in striking distance to London too. My favourite part is being so close to the countryside.”

Hannah Dexter, 46, has been working in Stockbridge for three months and would love to live there.

Hampshire Chronicle: Hannah DexterHannah Dexter (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Hannah, the manager of the Garden Inn, in Stockbridge High Street, who lives in Beech Grove in Owslebury, said: “It’s a very lovely place to work. It’s like being in a Christmas movie. Everything is so perfect, it feels like you’re in a little bubble.

“There is amazing food and really unique shops. Obviously, it’s beautiful and there are wonderful walks you can go on. Lots of people go on a walk and then potter about the shops. Visitors passing through specifically stop here to have a wander.

“Everyone is really happy and lovely and it’s so pretty – that’s why people come here.”

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Bella Pilkington, 20, from Monxton near Andover, has been working in the High Street café Meadow for six months. She said: “It’s great here. The shops are really lovely. There is lots of really pretty stuff – expensive but pretty.

“There is a nice atmosphere, with a low crime rate. You can trust that things aren’t going to get stolen.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Bella PilkingtonBella Pilkington (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Helen Davies, Best Places to Live editor, said: “What makes our guide unique is that we actually visit all the places we choose and talk to locals to find out what life is really like there. That means we can see what people really love about the places they live. That might be fast commutes and high-achieving schools but also clean water to swim in, lively town centres with useful shops, the possibility of earning a living and being part of a friendly community.”

The full list for the south east, announced on Friday, March 15, is as follows:

  • Winner: Folkestone, Kent 
  • Chorleywood, Hertfordshire 
  • Farnham, Surrey 
  • Hove, Brighton & Hove 
  • Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire 
  • St Albans, Hertfordshire 
  • Sevenoaks, Kent 
  • Stockbridge, Hampshire 
  • Wadhurst, East Sussex 
  • Winchester, Hampshire 

For the full lists go to