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Escaping to the country - but where?(27 Posts)
Hi - I'm moving out of London to East Devon soon and was hoping to hear from other mums living in the area. Thinking about the Ottery St Mary area. Anyone got any hot tips about where to live and what life is like there for families? Feels like a big step with three children, so any help or ideas would be fantastic. Thanks
I really like the look of Exmouth, especially as it has a train station with half hourly trains into Exeter. I've been researching on line as I can't visit yet, and am worried about the flood risk. I've found the best place to check is the environmental agency, who include information on flood defences and monitoring stations. A friend has told me the River Otter can cause flooding. Sidmouth has the River Syd, but it's not as large as the Otter.
Hello! We’re looking to move from London to East Devon. What’s the view on Exmouth? Don’t hold back!
Sorry for tardy reply, but guess we’re all a bit topsy turvy at the moment! To answer your question: West Hill is a slightly funny place in that we’ve got lovely neighbours but you really feel the absence of anything that draws the community together like a good pub or cafe. I walk the dog every day and (before the lockdown) would go weeks without seeing another soul. I guess most householders are either out at work or retired but it does feel eerily quiet most of the time. We looked at the primary and discounted it due to it having a very pushy culture, which is echoed by a couple of mums I’ve met whose kids attend.
Ours are at Sidmouth, which if I had the time again I wouldn’t have gone for, mainly because DD will go to Kings in September while her friends will mostly go to Sidmouth... but there were no school places available when we moved so not sure what our alternative would have been. I agree, Sidmouth isn’t quite the demographic we were after either and quite a hike from Exeter each day for a 12 year old, although I’m sure it’s doable.
We’re still in rented (aaaargh!) atm as the market has obviously stalled for the time being, but when we do eventually buy we’ll attempt to move DS again so he can make some friends that go on to secondary with him.
So complicated getting it all in place... will be great when they’re both in secondary together.
Be great to hear how you go. Good luck with lining it all up in these crazy times
reading back through... hi Broccoli. How have you found West Hill? Didn't like the look of the primary? Be great to hear your thoughts.
Hi Laura (and thread),
Have you taken the leap? We are scouring the East Devon countryside for suitable properties and keep coming back to West Hill and Sidmouth as being easy for Exeter and lovely generally. Like you we began the search looking further West but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for DH's twice weekly London commute. The lure of the sea is strong but I can't shake the feeling Sidmouth might be (as my 20 year old has recently been phrasing it, sorry) full of 'boomers'. Not the demographic I'm looking for with much younger children at my heels and looking for a good primary school so that I might actually realise the dream of walking my littlest to school once she comes of age! A mixed community preferred with young families in evidence! Does Sidmouth fit the bill does anyone know? 12 year old will be commuting into Exeter for school so another constraining factor...
Thanks for any thoughts.
It’s lovely to hear positive messages about the move to East Devon, we have been looking at moving to Devon for what seems like years now!
Originally we had been fixed with South Hams (Dartington and Totnes) but not easy to buy property really and was further down South that we really wanted to be.
So at the moment we are looking at Ottery, it seems to tick a lot of boxes:
Easy to get to beaches
Easy to get out to rest of country
Smaller than what we are used too (live in cheltenham at the mo) more rural lifestyle
It has properties for sale!
I guess the only negative at the moment is no space at the school for my year 1 daughter but hoping if we like it we will just move and hopefully something will work out!? Sometimes I guess you have to take the leap and hope the net will catch you!
Does anyone live in Ottery? I guess there must be young families there due to the school etc.
We have sold our house here and coming down next weekend to have a look and see what we think. Hopefully this is the one as we are running out of options!
Thanks in advance
NC so I don't out myself. I live in Colaton Raleigh and we have lots of families and are friendly and welcoming. There's loads going on within the village eg kids Halloween/Christmas party, mums book club, pop up supper, pilates, coffee mornings, once a month drop in social evening. Our village hall is very well used.
Loads of toddler groups/pre school options.
Schools: we are in catchment for Newton Poppleford which my kids went to. The teachers are great and the HT has been there for years. They have one class to one year group which works well and they have a forest school. They also have a newly built school with it's own canteen. Other options would be East Budleigh or Otterton for schools. Secondary: we are in catchement for Sidmouth College. New HT has been there just over a year and GCSE results improved. Kids re happy there although like all state schools it is underfunded. You are unlikely to get into Kings in Ottery as they are full from catchement people. Colyton Grammar is possible and there is a bus from the village if your child gets in. For A levels etc there is Sidmouth College still or Exeter College or Exeter Maths School. Another option are the courses (non A level) run by Bicton College.
Socially, kids teenagers to meet up in Sidmouth and get pizza, go to the cinema or sit on the beach. Tipton St John has cubs, Newton Pop has brownies, tennis club, church club, youth club. Sidmouth has a sailing club for all ages (not a posh one - anyone can join), youth theatre group and an excellent science week.
Exeter has bigger cinemas, clip 'n' climb, youtube club, athletics club.
Shopping: Lidl and Waitrose at Sidmouth otherwise I get most things delivered.
Loads of places to walk the dog. Cycling is harder as roads can be very narrow and hilly but Woodbury Common is popular. Heath week is great. Beaches of Budleigh and Sidmouth are very close and Charmouth/Lyme is further afield for fossil hunting.
Annual passes to Bicton Gardens, Crealy, Pecorama, World of Country Life are all great for days out or just popping to an indoor play area when it rains. Interesting visits also to the Norman Lockyer Observatory just outside Sidmouth.
We have lots of retired 'experts' in the area hence the fantastic science festival where you'll probably find retired academics and the Budleigh Literary Festival. Sidmouth Folk Festival is also fun.
There's also carnival clubs that make carnival floats and lots of the villages put on a annual pantomime around Feb half term.
Hope all this helps!
Great that you posted. Yes we made the move at the beginning of the summer holidays. Our kids are at Sidmouth Primary, which has so far been great - really friendly with loads of opportunities for the kids. We were leaning towards Kings for our daughter who starts secondary next September, but having been to the open evening at Sidmouth we’re now swinging towards it, particularly as all her friends are likely to go there. We’re renting at the moment in West Hill which is actually in the Kings catchment, but now we’ve been here a little while we all agree we’d prefer to be closer to Sidmouth and the beach, clubs, amenities etc. Feel free to PM me anytime if you need more info/specifics.
Hi Whynotbroccoli and others ,
Have only just seen this thread and wandered if you have made the move to Sidmouth yet and how you are finding it?
I am leaving Bristol with my nine year old as soon as soon as our house sells and am also considering villages around the Honiton area though would prefer Sidmouth I think.
Just wandered how you got on? I went to an open day at Sidmouth college yesterday and really liked the school ( and Sidmouth primary also).
Hi Juniper and others, just found this thread and although it's a little old I wondered if any had made the move? After years of umming and ahing we're planning a move to East Devon in the next few months. Currently fixated on Sidmouth and Honiton as wanted to be near the coast after years of land locked living. DD and DS are 10 and 7 so looking at Sidmouth, Kings and Honiton as secondaries (hoping to visit them all next week), haven't yet approached any primaries. Any tips or advice would be very welcome.
After years of deliberation, traveling down, speaking to schools we are just about to make the make the move from up north down to east Devon.
Having built up knowledge of the area we are opting for is Sidmouth. Ottery has a great school but the specific area doesn't really appeal visually and dare I say looks a little tired, a local said the only thing exciting about ottery is Saintsbury's. I'm sure its lovely and it was a tongue in cheek remark.
Sidmouth is visually nice, seam's plenty to do and is near various beaches. The people are so nice( like they are everywhere here ) and everyone says hallo with not a spot of rubbish on the streets. I have had conversations with people who I bumped into and made the move and although all initially apprehensive non have regrets. schools are rated good so on balance I think it has everything.
Just put a deposit on a rented property so its full steam ahead.
Good that you've found some areas you like! Feniton does look nice, but not a lot for sale on Rightmove....
We're planning a reccie over Easter - Feniton will be on our list!
Horicon = Honiton and Fenton = Feniton. Autocorrect fail!
we did a big reccie in January and found Horicon ticked a few boxes. 20 mins train into central and if you move to Fenton its got a good primary and is in the catchment for the kings school. Not got kids yet myself nut we're trying to plan.
Hi Joby and AdoraBelle,
I'm so pleased you've resurrected this thread!
Joby, where have you moved to?
I have an interview this week and we would move to Exeter - we're looking East of Exeter but there's not a lot on Rightmove. If we can decide on location, we would rent to start with I think.
But I'm getting so worried about getting my DDs into school - we'll need a reception and year 1, and it seems a bit catch 22 (can't apply until we have an address, but I don't want to move somewhere where they won't get into the school). Sounds like a village would have a more flexible school in terms of getting them in??
That said, living in the city (south of Pinhoe) to be close to work would make life very easy, but I want to convince DH that village life can still be bustling
Glad you've commented as hubby and I want to move down Exeter way this year from London. How did you find the move?
Hi I know this thread is probably dead, but have just moved to East Devon from Suffolk and wanted a touch base!
Hi, we are looking to move to the South East and considering the Sidmouth area as a location (as we are currently land locked in Nottingham!). Can anyone give an insight to living in Sidmouth or villages nearby such as Newton Poppleford? We have a 5 & 9 year old, so need to consider primary (and secondary in the near future). Is Sidmouth College a good school? I know it's results aren't great, but it gets a good ofsted, so a parents' honest opinion would be great. We have made a brief visit to the exeter area and although ottery st. mary has the good secondary school, we didn't love the place. As we're moving from a big inland city, we've decided that we would like to be as near to the coast as possible, but we have to consider keeping the children happy and not be too remote as we want to be near amenities/sports clubs etc. Any insight would be most welcome!
We've recently moved from London to Devon. We're in exeter at the moment but are planning to move to east devon soon - it hasn't been easy everyday but it's so worth, we can go to the beach in 20 min! I probably couldn't even go to Sainsbury's in 20 min when i lived in London...
There's sooo much to do with children here and although I missed my friends at first and still miss them now, I've met lovely mums here and I don't feel lonely anymore.
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East Devon is lovely, as is Ottery - a word of warning thoough, as some of the houses are only available to buy for people who have lived/worked in Devon for 3 years.
Bicnod, the towns/villages on the Exe estuary ie Lympstone & Topsham might suit you. Exmouth is a funny ol' town but kite & windsurfing v popular - living within easy distance might be perfect for you. Everywhere round here is pretty close to countryside!
This is very interesting. DH and I are planning to move from London near Exeter in the next year or so and I didn't know where to start finding out about what the different villages are like.
We're looking for a lively village/small town close to the coast - somewhere with a bit of life to it, but also want to be somewhere small/close to countryside.
We're both keen windsurfers so being close to a beach would be perfect.
Any more thoughts from local MNers?
I live in East Devon and I think is a great place to bring up children. I hope when mine grow up they remember their childhood full of picnics on the beach. If you move into the catchment area of a good school you are pretty much guaranteed a place as well.
Hi. I live a few miles from Ottery in a village, Whimple. I've really grown to like Ottery, it's a small town but has a large variety of shops and several good eateries. Surrounded by lovely countryside, lots of places in the area to take kids and most places have season tickets that are really good value if you go back more than twice eg. Bicton, Crealy. Depends if you want a village location or town, Ottery and nearby villages seem pretty good value; Sidmouth more expensive. Sidford a bit cheaper but I feel it misses any village feeling. Depends what you are looking for of course! Let me know if you want more info. I've moved down from Oxfordshire in the last year and it certainly feels a slower pace of life (in a good way).