Sophie Powles has announced that she will be leaving Emmerdale this summer.

The 23-year-old actress plans to bow out from the ITV soap after playing factory worker Holly Barton for nearly three years.

“I have had an awesome three years at Emmerdale. I have made the best friends and have worked, had fun and learnt so much with an amazing cast and crew,” she told the soap’s official website.

“But after three years I am ready for some freedom to travel and to be able to say yes to other projects and opportunities. I just want to say thank you to everyone at Emmerdale for making it such a brilliant place to work.”

Sophie’s character hasn’t had the easiest time in the village, as she battled a drug addiction, helped her family through a financial crisis and saw her parents John (James Thornton) and Moira (Natalie J Robb) being suspects in Cain Dingle’s attempted murder.

Stuart Blackburn, the show’s producer, added: “It’s going to be a very dramatic year for the Barton family and I’d like to thank Sophie for all her hard work and commitment – her energy, enthusiasm and positivity have made her a joy to work with. We wish her all the very best for the future.”

Sophie, who joined in July 2009 with her screen family including siblings Adam (played by Adam Thomas) and Hannah (Grace Cassidy), follows in the footsteps of her screen dad James, who has also left the soap.