Search for a bit of peace and quiet

PUBLISHED: 10:45 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:08 06 May 2010

WHERE is tranquil? Green = Most tranquil. Red = Least tranquil.

WHERE is tranquil? Green = Most tranquil. Red = Least tranquil.

There comes a time when everyone may feel their life is hectic, noisy and lacking in calm, but now Hertfordshire people have proof of the lack of tranquillity locally. According to a survey by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Hertfordshire is

There comes a time when everyone may feel their life is hectic, noisy and lacking in calm, but now Hertfordshire people have proof of the lack of tranquillity locally.

According to a survey by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Hertfordshire is ranked the third least tranquil county in England, despite its many peaceful villages and unspoilt views.

Research carried out by the Universities of Northumbria and Newcastle resulted in a colour coded map, shaded from red to green, based on 1,300 people's views on what they regarded as tranquillity and what detracted from it.

Among the specifications for tranquillity were natural landscapes, peace and quiet, birdsong, woodlands and stargazing, with negatives including traffic, urban development, man-made noises and light pollution.

"This is disappointing but hardly surprising," said Kevin FitzGerald, honorary director of the Hertfordshire branch of the CPRE. "The county suffers from aircraft noise, traffic congestion, and light pollution, all of which are threatening to get worse with airport expansion and massive housing development being proposed."

Hertfordshire is the most densely populated county in Britain, with one million inhabitants over its 630 square miles.

Its many miles of road include three motorways and there are airports just over the county boundaries in Bedfordshire and Essex.

The table of tranquil places was topped by Northumberland, with Hertfordshire at 53 - just above Cheshire and Surrey. Neighbouring Bedfordshire fared better, coming in at 31.

"The tranquillity one can experience by a visit to the countryside is now well known as being good for the health and wellbeing of people suffering from today's hectic lifestyle," added Mr FitzGerald.

"Hertfordshire's beautiful countryside has much to offer in this respect and we should all be demanding its protection. Once it has gone it can never be recovered and future generations will suffer if we do not look after it.

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