Thanks for the replies Its good to get an idea of what others do.
I do worry thats ex-p's visits would be a bit sporadic because of the distance. I know I would never stop him coming but he has a very busy social life and a girlfriend so there is a risk that travelling the distance just won't happen often. I would worry about dd going to him for too long as well. He is awful about routines and lets her stay up until very late/feeds her whenever/fotgets about potty training.
DS's dad is supposed to come every 2-3 weeks and he stays in my house. This worked OK for most of last year but he got a girlfriend in September and he's been twice since then. I don't take DS to see him as he lives with his mum and there is no room for both of us to stay.
It's difficult but we did the right thing in moving away, quality of life is much better.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with you moving close to family and your support network. The trade off is that your ex will see his daughter less easily.
Contact will only work well if your ex wants it to. If he is the sort that only sees his children because it is easy too, the distance makes it very easy to have an excuse not to bother.
I did not have a choice to stay where I was, and ex had already moved 100 miles away to live with his parents, so I was on my own and unsupported anyway (we moved 160 miles the other direction).
He didn't want to be a parent to his children or responsibilities and doesn't take well to having to arrange visits. But my children are happy and have a doting extended family and a more secure mother. Contact would have been haphazard whether we have stayed or left, because of ex's issues.
In my ideal world, contact with young children would be as follows: Half terms and holidays - longer trips to stay with dad, weekends - dad comes every 2-3 weeks and spends time with kids staying in a hotel nearby and taking them out for fun days. IMO 200+ miles is a long trip for a little toddler to do for 1-2 nights, particularly considering school/nursery on a Monday. But it probably depends on how well their routine and bedtimes are stuck to while they are away too.
He left me and went back to his home town 3 hrs away. He theoretically comes back every 3 weeks to see DD but it hasn't often worked out like that. He is having her for a week at xmas and two weeks in the summer.
If you get on well (we don't) you might be able to take it in turns to travel and stay with each other. Phone/Skype regularly but talk to each other as well as DC may well not pass on info or be that communicative. Ex struggles to get her to talk but never asks me how she is doing.
DD and I have a calendar with all visits on it so she can cross off days til next stay but it's a bit of a two edged sword when he cancels.
Having a support network of your own is very important especially as you can't tell how the future will pan out. Good luck.
At the moment me and my ex-p live very close to each other and he sees dd (2yo) about 2/3 times a week. It is a very casual arrangement though, we generally just decide at the start of the week when he will have her and it varies week by week.
For a few reasons I am considering moving about 200 miles away (family support, cheaper, I don't like where I live). Ex-p would obviously miss dd but is happy for us to go as he knows it would make our lives much better. The place I would be is very easy to drive to and there are also a lot of trains/busses.
If you live far away from your DC's dad how does contact work? Me and my ex get on well so I would happily have him staying in my house or stay at his with dd.