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Does anyone here live in Barnstaple...

(40 Posts)
cupcakesgalore Wed 24-Oct-07 15:25:18

and if you do where would you advise us to look for a house? where are the good primary and secondary schools? DH may have a job there and I'm wondering what it is like?

cupcakesgalore Mon 29-Oct-07 11:01:47

Nobody in North Devon?

RosaTransylvania Mon 29-Oct-07 11:12:02

Yes me. I live in Barnstaple. Been here nearly five years. Tell me what you need to know - number and age of children, type of house you would like and I will see if I can advise.
Personally I love it here, lots of people who move here live out in the villages but we wanted to be in the town. We live in a nice areas, 10 min walk from the high streets. Primary schools vary a lot, some are very good, some not so good. You do need to ensure you are in the catchment for the one you want, so it is very important to check that when you are viewing houses.
Secondary schools are much of a muchness and no need to worry about catchment for those particularly. They are not awesomely brilliant but not awful either. There is only one place to do A-levels - North Devon college.
Prices have gone up a lot since we moved but no more so than elsewhere in the country - you get more for your money in Barnstaple itself than in the fashionable coastal villages. Whereabouts would your DH be likely to be based?

cupcakesgalore Mon 29-Oct-07 16:43:04

Thanks Rosa! Our children are 6 (yr 2), $.5 (about to go full time reception), 2.5 - ready for preschool next Easter and newborn. DH would be based everywhere! B'staple and covering from Gt. Torrington to Bideford to S. Molton to Ilfracombe! We'd have about £220000 with a max of £240000 for a house and we obv. need something readsonbly spacey with 4 bedrooms. We need to start by identifying a primary school catchment area really and don't know where to start. Been looking at Ofsted but it's difficult to get a full icture of neighbourhoods. My guess was that the villages would be v. pricey. Any advice on B'staple would be greatly appreciated as would any on South Molton and Great Torrington if you know them at all. What took you to B'staple? Has it been a good move for you?

kittylouise Mon 29-Oct-07 17:20:13

Hello cupcakes - I moved from N Devon a year ago (lived in Ilfracombe) and my dd was at school there for 6 years,so if you have any specifics please ask and I will try to help.

School wise, most of the secondaries are large and have a very large catchment area, so if you lived in a village you may find that your kids would have an extensive bus ride to school when they get to that age.

I don't know much about Great Torrington and South Molton primaries, but they are rather bleak towns with not much going on, even though property is probably cheaper there than round Braunton and Barnstaple. Locally, the primaries with teh best reputation (I used to work in schools down there) were West Down (excellent rep, beacon school etc), Georgeham and Marwood - all of these are near Braunton. Sadly, Braunton and the outlying areas are the most expensive in N Devon (but the nicest!). However, the majority of schools in Barnstaple have a good reputation as well.

One to look at would be Combe Martin, a village about 5 miles away from Ilfracombe. There is usually a good range of property which is more reasonably priced than Barnstaple/Braunton, and a good local school in Combe Martin itself, and a smaller one in the nearby (lovely) village of Berrynarbor. Combe Martin is quite a long village, has its own beach and is a traditional old Devon seaside village, but big enough to have a variety of shops (and lots of pubs!). You should be able to easily get a decent house for the money you have to spend.

Ilfracombe is another area which is generally cheaper than barnstaple/Braunton, however the schools are a lot larger - 1 large infants and 1 large juniors. My daughter attended these 2 schools and I found them very good, even though in an ideal world I would have sent her to a smaller village school which wouldf have been my preference. However, she did very well at these schools and the teachers were great.

Anything else you need to know ask!

cupcakesgalore Mon 29-Oct-07 20:36:23

Thanks Kitty. I'm interested in the fact that you lived in Ilfracombe. I've camped in N. Devon before and we've talked about moving there, but i wonder whether - given the tourism and amount of B&Bs on every street - what it is like out of season and most importantly what sense of community there is in towns which are so reliant on the tourist trade with people coming and going?

RosaTransylvania Mon 29-Oct-07 21:36:50

I would say Ilfracombe would be difficult if your husband needs to travel all over North Devon - you would probably be better off somewhere more central. Kittylouise might have a better perspective on it, having lived there, but I would find it hard to live there as I find it a bit rundown and depressing.
Personally, I love living in Barnstaple, it has got a small town feel but all the amenities that you need (although for major shopping sprees you do need to go to Exeter or Bristol). The best primary schools in Barnstaple are Newport and Pilton and these are also the best areas to live in. Just outside Barnstaple is Bishop's Tawton which also has a very good school (just got an outstanding Ofsted) but small so harder to get into perhaps.
I think I agree with Kittylouise about South Molton being a bit of a one horse town but Torrington is quite nice though again, not a very central base.
Braunton is nice, and it is close to great beaches but that has pushed up house prices there quite a lot lately. There are a couple of good primary schools there. Georgeham school is very good too, but Georgeham is WAY expensive.

aramintavanhamstring Mon 29-Oct-07 22:00:17

Newport has a good primary school with a very active and fun-loving PTA. There are some nice houses in north Newport/Rumsam and Pilton is a nice area too. I have friends who have kids at Sticklepath and they really like it as a primary.

TBH, it is easier for me to think of rough places to live in Barnstaple but I would hate to offend. Maybe you could post some potential homes you like the look of and we can critique the area for you.

Have you thought of Bideford at all? There are some very nice new developments there that are affordable and spacious. South Molton makes me twitch to be honest and Ilfracombe is a bit of a drive away.

When do you anticipate moving?

RosaTransylvania Mon 29-Oct-07 22:29:35

Bideford schools are not so great though Araminta, unless I have been badly misinformed.
Tell me more about about this active and funloving PTA. Are you a member?

aramintavanhamstring Mon 29-Oct-07 23:29:38

No, I just know how much wine they get through at their events.grin

For Bideford primaries, look at Instow, Abbotsham and Appledore.

cupcakesgalore Tue 30-Oct-07 08:21:49

wow! so helpful - thanks. We're still waiting to hear but when (hopefully) it all happens - prob. New Year I shall be calling on you again - great idea re. critiquing the houses and areas - thankyou for that idea!

kittylouise Tue 30-Oct-07 15:15:24

RosaTransylvania made some good points about being central - if you need to travel all over N Devon it probably would be better living in Barnstaple or one of the outlying villages. Ilfracombe is only about 14 miles away from Barnstaple, but you have to go through Braunton (or a choice of 2 very twisty and turny B roads) and Braunton gets completely log-jammed in summer and at rush hour. It can take an hour to complete the journey. But to be honest it never used to bother me much and I used to commute this every day.

Ilfracombe is very quiet in the winter months, however there is a good feeling of community spirit. It has not got a very good reputation - like a lot os seaside towns it has the reputation of being a bit run-down, however when I left it was certainly on the up, and there are a lot of new restaurants/shops/developments going on. There is a fair amount of regeneration going on in the whole area actually, which is long overdue.

Because I lived there my whole life until recently, I actually liked the silly season of the summer, when it used to get busy, compared with the peace and quiet of the winter. And to be honest there is nothing better than walking on the beach when it is the middle of winter and you are the only person there! I think I would prefer to live in Ilfracombe as opposed to Barnstaple for the benefit of living by the sea (though I could be biased by the fact I now live in land-locked Gloucestershire and miss being by the seaside!!)

I will keep an eye on this thread if you want to ask any further questions. Good luck making a decision - is so daunting!! smile

hoxtonchick Tue 30-Oct-07 15:25:52

oooh, we are hopefully moving to devon, between tiverton & south molton (if we ever sell our sodding house) so nice to know there are mumsnetters not a million miles away....

OrmIrian Tue 30-Oct-07 15:35:29

Lovely area (from what I've know) but it must be a nightmare on sunny bank holiday weekends traffic-wise. Took us 2 hours to get from the outskirts of Braunton to Croyde a few months ago. But I guess you learn to avoid certain places at certain times of the year.

Marina Tue 30-Oct-07 15:43:47

shock Rosa, I had no idea you were there! We holiday in Woolacombe most summers so know the area as visitors reasonably well. I think Barnstaple is a wonderful town, the people are all so friendly and it has a very fair range of shops (way better than my suburban high st). Love the Pannier Market. Woolacombe has a smashing school by all accounts but property there is very limited and extremely expensive.
Good luck with your move cupcakes. We are diehard Londoners but with family in Woolacombe, Charles and S Molton I can see so many advantages to moving down there if you have a definite work opportunity.
I have to say I HATE the traffic and even the new bridge doesn't help with the Braunton nightmare.

hoxtonchick Tue 30-Oct-07 15:44:52

all the best people go on holiday to woolacombe marina wink. and normandy!

TerrorMater Tue 30-Oct-07 15:45:39

Between Tiverton and South Molton hoxtonchick? You will be very near my in-laws then.

But don't let that put you off.

Lovely part of the world.

Marina Tue 30-Oct-07 15:45:49

Hoxty, how was it? Anywhere near as lovely as Woolacombe Main Strand or Combesgate wink?

hoxtonchick Tue 30-Oct-07 15:46:13

tell me more terrormater! our nearest village will be witheridge....

TerrorMater Tue 30-Oct-07 15:47:11

They are now near South Molton, but used to farm near Oakford.

Marina Tue 30-Oct-07 15:48:30

Dh's family are scattered around Charles, also no longer farming

TerrorMater Tue 30-Oct-07 15:50:07

Quite smile for PIL now though Marina. They are enjoying retirement.

hoxtonchick Tue 30-Oct-07 15:50:23

i have facebooked you marina!

hoxtonchick Tue 30-Oct-07 15:51:34

aha, the other side of the linkroad....

Marina Tue 30-Oct-07 15:55:04

Yes indeed for older cousins too Terror but the day they put up the for sale signs was extremely sad. Six generations and f*cked over by the Dairy Quota etc
We went to the Milky Way and saw some of the family's artefacts in their rather touching Farm Life Museum last time we were down

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