IT MAY not come as a surprise to the people of Odiham, but their village has been selected as one of the best places to live in Britain.

The historic village featured in the top 101 Best Places to Live in Britain by The Sunday Times, published at the weekend.

The guide, which appeared in the Home section, combines data such as crime rates and house prices with opinions from writers of the newspaper.

James Robinson-Giannasi, vice-chairman of Odiham Parish Council, said: “I am not particularly surprised because it’s a lovely area with a good community and good schools. It is just a very nice and beautiful place to live.”

Odiham was a new entry on the list and one of 14 from the south east, including Guildford in Surrey and Henley-on-Thames, in Berkshire.

Amersham, in Buckinghamshire, came top in the region, while Skipton in North Yorkshire came top overall.

Odiham featured in the Domesday Book, compiled in the 11th Century, and contains a large number of listed buildings in its High Street.

It also has Robert May’s School, in West Street, which consistently scores well for GCSE results, the Basingstoke Canal, Odiham Castle and a deer park.

Home editor Helen Davies said: “The Best Places guide is dedicated to celebrating Britain’s abundance of great cities, towns and villages.

“There are lots of places across Britain that are worth celebrating, and everyone has different priorities, so this year our supplements cover everything from the countryside to inner cities.”

The inclusion in the list is just the latest recognition for the district of Hart, of which Odiham is a part.

Last year, it came top in the Halifax Quality of Life Survey – the third consecutive year it had picked up the top award.

The district covers Fleet in the east and Odiham and Long Sutton in the west, and scores highly for its train and road links to London, its low crime rate and high standard of education.