THOSE of us who live here know there is something special about Herefordshire – although we're quite used to describing how it's near Wales but definitely in England and absolutely not Hertfordshire.

However, more and more recognition is being given to the many positive things taking place here, and the communities which makes the county so great.

Most recently, this has come from the Sunday Times' which included both Leominster and Ledbury in the Midlands category of its 'best places to live' guide.

It is not the first time Ledbury has made the list, having been included in 2014 and 2016. Close to the M5 and with access to a direct train to London, it has garnered a well-earned reputation for being a beautiful market town with great infrastructure.

Leominster is in the midst of its own revolution, turning its fortune around to be named runner-up in the ‘rising star’ category of the 2016 Great British High Street Awards and picking up a special award for its use of social media.

Traders have formed the Leominster Business Group which acts like a hyper-local chamber of commerce while the town council is reviving the 'Destination Leominster' initiative, in partnership with Grange Court and many other local community groups.

Gaynor Lewin, chairman of the Leominster Business Group, said of the listing: "It is absolutely fantastic news. We are delighted with it and there's been a lot of work over the last nine months and it shows the groups have pulled together and are putting Leominster back on the map.

"I think it's very positive and it is the first part of the next stage."

The Sunday Times' piece highlighted the popularity of Parry's Fruit and Veg shop as well as the Grape Vaults and the Merchants House.

Gill Ding, manager of Leominster Tourist Information Centre, said there was a 'real buzz' around Leominster.

"It just reinforces what we have been telling everyone for years – Leominster is a great place to live, work, shop and holiday," she said.

Meanwhile, Angela Pendleton, the Mayor of Leominster, believes there is a 'renaissance' taking place in the town.

She said: "It should be remembered that while many cities and market towns are closing their Tourist Information Centre we at Leominster recognise they are the main artery to tourism in Leominster. The TIC will shortly to moving in to 11 Corn Square as front of house providing a central hub for promoting tourism.

"There is a rising of a 'can do' attitude and an emerging pride for all that is Leominster. I call it 'renaissance' and am very proud of being its mayor."

The Sunday Times described Ledbury as a 'lovely old Tudor market town', highlighting the popular Jenkins greengrocer, the bakery, the butcher and the chocolate shop.

Liz Harvey, town and ward councillor for Ledbury north, said: "It's great news again. It's good for the town and for Herefordshire really and reinforces the view that we have held for a long time which is that Herefordshire is a county that delivers a really good lifestyle.

"I think it will be great to see more employers who value lifestyle and life work balance looking at Herefordshire and thinking about coming here."