Moving to Dorset(44 Posts)
I'm moving to Dorset in a few weeks for work and need to decide where to live. I will be working near Wimborne for upto 12 months. I am happy to take temporary accommodation and don't need to worry about schools, etc.
A few requirements I do have... I don't want to live amongst London types or others who are obsessed with money, property, and boring stuff like that. I don't want to be near yuppies, nouveau riche, Russian oligarchs, footballers, etc. I want to live amongst down to earth, West Country artisans and peasants. I want philosophers, poets, and artists. Hippies and anarchists. Failing that, just nice, sound people. I want real pubs; not horrible over priced 'gastro' dives selling "hand carved" crisps. I want easy access to the coast and beautiful countryside, where it feels as though I'm in Hardy's Wessex.
At the same time, I want to have access to evening classes (art, crafts, creative writing, etc), essential shopping facilities, and would like to have the possibility of meeting new people in my general age range (late 20s and 30s.)
I don't ever want to drive for more than 30 mins, and ideally prefer 20 mins max.
This all leads me to think Poole is out and that Bournemouth might not be suitable either, but that having it nearby would be handy. Don't know anything about Christchurch or Dorchester.
I'd be really grateful for any advice.
I would suggest Poole. Unless you have millions to spend in sandbanks you won't be next door to any footballers. Dorchester and surrounding villages are lovely - tend to be great for WI but otherwise can be a bit quiet and retirement villagy. Bournemouth is great but busy and lots of students. It's easy to get to from Poole so you can benefit from the things that go on but not have to put up with the traffic all the time! I've lived in Poole, Bournemouth and surrounding areas for about 10years and now live in Bere Regis, between Poole and dorchester so happy to help with any questions about certain areas!
Christchurch to Wimborne commute would probably not be fun by the way, the A338 spur road is having a lot of work done this year and next and it's messing up all the roads!
why don't you live in wimborne
or go real country and go sherbourne , blandford
Thanks both for the responses. This website is awesome!
How about a nice, outer suburb of Bournemouth where I can go out to Wimborne easily, but also go in to access evening college courses and occasional socialising?
I'd need to check on Poole rental rates and possible opportunities for sharing. How's the drive to Wimborne from there?
If I lived in Wimborne or Sherbourne, would I be surrounded by octogenarians and need to drive everywhere? I don't want to be socially isolated and dependent on the car...
Oh dear, I think you are going to be dreadfully disappointed by Dorset.
It is not artisan peasants, philosophers and an eclectic range of evening classes.
It is a mix of locals grinding to make ends meet and London ex-pats living in the village manor houses so their children can run in the paddocks. It is lacking in diversity and rather backward in many ways.
The roads are bad across Dorset so going virtually anywhere will be a 30 minute drive, especially if you are behind a tractor. If you don't leave your village you will be isolated, if you live in any of the towns you will not feel like you are anywhere special.
The only place I could suggest that might meet your remit is Lyme Regis but that will be a good 45-60 min commute to Wimborne. Sherborne is lovely (I live there) but again, 45-60 minutes to Wimborne, dependent on the tractor/ caravan count.
Poole/ Bournemouth to Wimbourne routes will be gridlocked all summer. TBH if the not wanting to drive/ sit in traffic thing is a major issue you need to line in Wimbourne.
Thank you for that honest response, Sister.
It appears that Bournemouth university provides a good selection of evening classes. Not sure if there are other decent colleges in the likes of Dorchester... I'm not interested in masters degrees, should to learn drawing and wood working, etc.
I suppose I could make do with exploring the countryside at the weekends. Go out early and spend the day, or even two days, in the New Forest and other places. Realistically, I won't have too much time around work and courses in the week anyway.
So outer Bournemouth, Poole, or Dorchester might be good options, all things considered. Which would you choose?
Just saw your last message. My initial plan is to get short term accommodation for three months, so I could always get out before the tourists arrive (late June I presume).
What are your thoughts on Wimborne as a place to live?
Personally, Dorchester- I like it. There are some nice flats available in Brewery Square, a new area which feels like it has a bit of life to it.
I find all the towns (Blandford, Wimbourne, Sturminster etc) practical but a bit flat. I find Poole a bit false-trendy (rich retirees with boats) and I've never been to Bournemouth!! . We have only been her 18months.
I do absolutely love Dorset by the way- I realise it may not come across like that. However, we drive a lot to do the things we want to do, often can't do the things we want to do because they are not available and the majority of people we have met have been from London!
Bridport has loads going on. A very arty place with art, creative writing, pottery classes and a huge sense of fun. There's always a festival or celebration of some sort. Lots on at the Art Centre and Electric Palace. Proper pubs too and all with live music.
Bit far to travel to Wimborne, probably about 50 mins but it's only 20 mins to Dorchester so maybe live in/near Dorchester and have a half hour commute?
Dorchester, it's currently going through regeneration, new restaurants and shops, and easyis have access to the rest of the county
I agree about Wimborne being a bit flat and don't think Poole would be your thing at all.
I like Wimborne. From a practical point of view it would be better to live near work and then for things like evening classes drive to those. I think Bournemouth and Poole college also do evening classes which might appeal. Ferndown fits your requirement of being part of Bournemouth and within easy reach of Wimborne but I don't really like it. And it's definitely not full of poets, artists and anarchists. Neither is Wimborne though.
Have you visited the area? I love it here but I think you might be in for a bit of a disappointment.
Thank you all for these very helpful responses!
I saw elsewhere on the Internet Ferndown described as "geriatric ville", or words to that effect. Not sure whether that's accurate.
How about the Parkstone area? Then I'm between Poole and Bournemouth, away from the rich plebs and the riff raff but near to nicer beaches, amenities, classes, and can bomb* it up the A349 to Wimborne.
* or even if it's slow, it doesn't look that far.
I will check out Bridport and Dorchester. Thanks for suggestions.
BTW, when I've been referring to Wimborne I mean Wimborne Minster.
I've just read this to DH who said he recommends Bristol but guess that doesn't help really
Traffic is issue at the moment and Gravel Hill A349) shutting sometime which will make drive from Poole to Wimborne pretty rubbish. I can't imagine commuting to Wimborne from Bridport or Dorchester everyday but that s just me. If we're lucky the Bournemouth spur road will be open before they shut Gravel Hill otherwise you might just as well buy a bike as everything will be gridlocked.
What about somewhere in Bournemouth a bit studenty near the Arts College? I'm saying this vaguely as don't really know Bournemouth. Don't think you will like Wimborne, it dies a death once pubs shut about 11pm.
I like Ferndown as the people there as a rule more down to earth. When you're down have a look at the Earth House at Cranborne for one of their evenings, have heard they are good and you have a chance of meeting philosophers, poets etc.
I too worry about your expectations. I too think you might be better off to start off actually in Wimborne itself.
We holiday 3 or 4 times a year in Blandford and agree with all that has been written. I did laugh at the Ferndown (used to live there) comment aswell, sorry.
Thanks so much to everybody who has responded. Great comments; lots of food for thought.
The A349 info is very helpful. According to the council, the works will not commence until July next year. I can move again by that point so shouldn't be affected.
So based on all the suggestions and what I've read, it seems to me that Parkstone would be a good bet. A theoretical 20 min commute to Wimborne (especially if I can arrange an earlier work day to avoid traffic, eg start at 8am, leave before 5). Near to colleges. Near to beaches and amenities of Bournemouth and Poole, but also safely away from what might be the annoying aspects of those places. Does anybody know this area?
Honestly, my main objective is to live in a scenic area of the country that I've not explored before and to have easy access to nice countryside and coastline at the weekends. Im not expecting much from the people. As long as people smile sometimes and are civil, then I will be happy.
I used to live fairly close to Parkstone. Think I'd be tempted to look at Ashley Cross area rather than Ashley Road but that might be just me. There's a station there which opens up some options and you're pretty close to Bournemouth too. If you can start pre 8am traffic should be fine.
Parkstone is seriously "up and coming". Lots of those yuppie-London-types you hate.
I agree with Sister up thread. I don't think that what you want actually exists.
Christchurch, Wimborne or Dorchester or the smaller villages just outside of those places
Lower Parkstone = Yes
Parkstone and Upper Parkstone = No
Bridport seems to tick all your boxes apart from the distance to work. Tbh living in the shires you HAVE to drive, and everywhere takes about 30minutes. Expected not to drive most of the time is a tall order.
Bridpory has lots of great independent ahops and cafes. It has a bus telling antique market. It also has a waitrose. It's very close to west bay and the Jurassic coast. It's lovely!
Lyme Regis is very very touristy and gets rammed in the summer months
Bridport to Wimborne would be a nightmare commute, though - touristy in summer, and hard work in any wintery weather, be it snow or heavy rain & wind. I wouldn't go west of Dorchester, if I were working in Wimborne. If you don't want to drive more than 20-30 minutes, you need to be closer than that.
Dorchester, Poole and Bournemouth were always good for evening classes - see what's currently available (pretty much everywhere has been hard hit in the last few years because of funding cuts) - www.dorsetforyou.com/adultlearning
What's your budget? That's going to have quite some effect on where you can live in any case, unless it's unlimited. You can get some cheaper rents over winter, but then you'd need to be out for the summer, when it'll be a holiday home. Also, if you're going to be there 12 months, if you are thinking of looking at a rural rent (there are some nice ones), you might want to consider accessibility in bad weather (if it does ever get cold and snow, you could be stuck for a week.) Plus if it's on a road towards the sea, it could be nearly impassable in summer (though probably not at going-to-work-in-the-morning time.)
If you want to get out to see the countryside and coast, then you'll be able to fill every weekend with no issue. There are also things like the Russel-Cotes gallery in Bournemouth, the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, Kingston Lacy House (NT) is near Wimborne (good for snowdrops in a couple of weeks or so, the way the weather's going), there are Hardy places around, too. But you would need a car for most of them.
My choice would be Dorchester, but that's because I already have friends and family there and grew up there. I also lived in Bournemouth for some years, but if I were working in Wimborne, I'd look for somewhere to live either in Wimborne or Poole. Wouldn't particularly want to be in Sherborne (lovely, but expensive, further from the coast), nor Blandford.
If you're going to be there for a year, it would probably be worth your time to spend a weekend there, driving round, seeing what some of the roads and areas are like, to give you a better idea.
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