Rural life in villages in the south west could be under threat as more community assets disappear. 

Data compiled for the National Housing Federation (NHF) showed 217 rural pubs shut down in the south-west between 2011 and 2016. 

In the last five years, Department for Education figures show five rural schools have closed and nine post offices have fallen by the wayside, according to the post office network. 

Chairman of West Dorset Campaign for Real Ale Dave Harris said, with the rise of technology, pubs are no longer the central hub for village news. 

"Our rural bus services are diminishing which doesn't help as people can no longer get there. Some pubs are bucking the trend but they tend to be ones with a high community involvement or are now including shops to regain a status as a community asset," he said. 

He added, with an increase in second home owners in Dorset, there are less people actively taking part in the community. 

According to NHF, a lack of affordable housing is driving young families and working-age people out of rural areas. In 2016, the cheapest homes in rural areas were 8.3 times the income of typical first-time buyers and considerably higher than urban areas.

A statement from the NHF said: "Building just a few affordable homes for young families in rural areas could preserve the life of England’s towns and villages."

A post office in Toller Porcorum, West Dorset, stood as the village's last remaining community asset – after both the local pub and village shop closed their doors. 

But it was given a second chance thanks to group of determined local residents and developer, Aster Group who joined Toller Porcorum’s Community Land Trust, to develop plans for six much needed affordable rented homes and a permanent residence for the post office. 

According to NHF, more than 40,000 new homes are needed in England's rural areas, each year to keep up with demand.

Councillor for Tophill East, Margaret Leicester said a lack of affordable housing was a major issue on Portland

"Most of what is being built is way beyond local people's means.

"Lots of schools and chemists are being closed down and a lot of villages have lost schools. They are necessities for keeping the community working together and if you start breaking communities up, people move away and you end up with whole villages of holiday homes," she said. 

She added small communities were often overlooked but needed to be maintained. 

David Orr, Chief Executive at the National Housing Federation, said: “Housing associations are intervening to stem this tide. They are proving that just a handful of high quality and affordable new homes can transform rural communities, and ensure that our villages and market towns can thrive for generations to come.”