A STUDY of rural pubs by a University of York academic has shown that Emmerdale’s portrayal of the Woolpack as the hub of the local community is an accurate depiction of rural life.

The research, led by Dr Ignazio Cabras, has provided robust evidence of pub’s central role in the life of English country communities. Dr Cabras is formerly a lecturer with the York Management School at the university and an associate fellow of the university’s York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis.

The study analysed data for social engagement, volunteering and leisure activities and found pubs were having a significant positive impact on all three fronts.

“There are many anecdotal suggestions regarding the importance of pubs for local communities,” said Dr Cabras. “However, this study has examined the role these places play in the English countryside by using a scientific approach, analysing a significant number of data available at parish level.

“It provides more robust evidence in support of the claim that pubs effectively contribute to increasing social engagement and community cohesion.”

Dr Cabras said TV’s depiction of rural pubs, such as The Woolpack, as the local meeting point and hub, had been proven as an accurate depiction of life in rural England, and called for Government support for rural pubs to maintain the country way of life.