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Relocating to Devon/Cornwall - should we do it?

(135 Posts)
Lastyearsmodel Tue 22-Sep-09 11:23:18

We've done the classic thing of returning from holiday in Cornwall and wanting to move down there - are we stupid to think we should live somewhere lovelier?

We've been down quite a few times and have friends who moved there from West Yorkshire 6 years ago and love it, so we're not completely unaware of the pitfalls.

We're in South Yorkshire, DP has a secure but boring job (he says) and have DD (3) and DS (18 months). I'm a Londoner but have lived in Yorkshire for 15 years and DP is a Yorkshireman. The schools here are OK, not great, and I'd always said I didn't want the kids to grow up here.

We're outdoors types - cycling, walking, paddling, etc - is it worth the move to have better weekends?

He's seen jobs he could apply for and reckons now is the time to go. Are we being naive?

Has anyone relocated because you felt you and your family deserved a better quality of life?

All thoughts and opinions welcome - as you can probably tell, I'm a bit confused... smile

OrmIrian Tue 22-Sep-09 11:27:59

Whereabouts are you thinking of?

I would love to move to Cornwall - Fowey ideally - but DH won't go sad.
Bear in mind that:

1. It isn't always cheap to buy property cos of the holiday market.
2. Very touristy places will become hell on earth in the high season.
3. Depending on where you go it's a long drive to family/friends/cities.
4. A lot of Cornwall shuts down in the winter months.

KirstyJC Tue 22-Sep-09 11:34:42

I live in Devon, relocated with my parents when I was 14 so doesn't really count, but FWIW I agree completely that in the winter months it can be depressingly empty and in the summer months depressing touristy.

HOWEVER if you find the right place it is a heavenly place to live!!

Steer clear of major tourist hotspots, ie anywhere by the sea! They are either tacky/touristy or full of retirees, usually both. Some of the other cities are lovely and have a great feel - I love Exeter in particular. Wherever you go in either Devon or Cornwall you are never far from a beach and there are some lovely canals/walks on the moors etc too.

I would hate to move away, so I would say it is worth looking into, for sure. But beware - it is apparantly the second most expensive place to buy and live after the South East (our water bills are horrendous!) so that might be a shock!

Good luck!

AvengingGerbil Tue 22-Sep-09 11:55:41

Only contemplate it if you/DH have guaranteed work at an income you can live on. The chances of anything suitable 'just coming up' are negligible. And if you are (eg) plumbers/decorators/builders etc, bear in mind that local rates for these kinds of job are MUCH lower than in the south east.

I have friends who did this; they are always commuting back to SE for better paid work as they think the local rates are too low - but locals won't/can't pay higher.

(I grew up in Devon btw!)

AvengingGerbil Tue 22-Sep-09 11:56:54

Oh and bear in mind that you will have very little choice on schools unless you are willing to drive for hours every day and many of them are not that good.

Jux Tue 22-Sep-09 12:42:40

We sold our London-suburb flat and bought a house in Devon some years back entirely because we didn't want dd growing up where we were. Never looked back. Highly recommended.

Jobs are harder to come by here though. Other than that I can't think of a downside, and I lived in central London for years and years and loved it and still miss it (but I wouldn't have gone back to central London with dd anyway).

MrsFawlty Tue 22-Sep-09 12:46:53

I used to live down there and am desperate to move back. However DH started looking for work down there almost a year ago. Only one suitable job has ever been advertised, and nothing ever came of it. sad

And yeah, can be grim in the winter when there's not much to do. I'd still go back if I could though.

Spidermama Tue 22-Sep-09 12:48:12

Whilst the scenery in rural Devon is beautiful you might want to consider the possibility that you'd travel a long way before finding someone who's ever heard of an avocado.

Personally I would only consider Totness.

We moved out of London to Brighton seven years ago. I do yearn for countryside living, but am just too set in my urban ways and think I would struggle and feel a little lonely and out of it.

scroobiuspirate Tue 22-Sep-09 12:51:03

thats a bit ripe (pun intended)

'the possibility that you'd travel a long way before finding someone who's ever heard of an avocado.'

oh, and it's Totnes.

Spidermama Tue 22-Sep-09 12:53:09

Oooooh soz Scroobi. Didn't mean to rattle your cage. wink

scroobiuspirate Tue 22-Sep-09 12:53:36

op, you only live once, it's a tough call, but just do it.

It's scary, but if dp can find a job, then that's most of the battle. I moved from SE London to devon in 2002, so i 'get' your dilemma.

scroobiuspirate Tue 22-Sep-09 12:54:42

well it's needed now and again, the Devon air tends to slow one down!!!

MovingOutOfBlighty Tue 22-Sep-09 12:56:39

I lived in Exeter for a couple of years and it was the happiest 2 years of my life. It has all the shops you need but more laid back and close enough to civilisation but with dartmoor, the sea etc nearby. I would move back in a heartbeat.

Go for it!!!!!

saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 22-Sep-09 12:59:19

We moved to Devon 7 years ago, DH now works in Cornwall. Took an enormous salary cut to do it. Be aware that salaries down here are low. And that house prices are high (second homers push them up). Cornwall followed by Devon has the biggest multiple of salary/house prices in the UK. That might not affect you so much though - depending on house prices in your current area.

TheMightyToosh Tue 22-Sep-09 13:02:20

We are in the process of doing this right now, so I say go for it! grin

I personally love the rugged coast in the winter when there are no tourists/sunbathers, so the winters will not bother me. I've also lived in the country before, so know the daily grind of having to get in the car if you run out of milk, etc.

But remember that all of Devon/Cornwall is not just made up of remote little villages - there are towns and cities with perfectly good schools and facilities (including avocados! grin)

I do think that weekends will be better, because as soon as the sun comes out, we can head for the beach instead of having to wait til the annual holiday and then being disappointed when it rains all week.

One thing I would say, though, is that moving anywhere will not give you a better quality of life unless you leave behind the bad habits that ruin your quality of life now. e.g. working too long, being too caught up with money/posessions, watching too much TV, etc. (for me, maybe not applicable to you, but you see my point!)

We plan to leave it all behind and live a much simplet life, without every weekend being swallowed up with DIY or work. Instead, we will give the house a lick of paint, some new carpets, and then concentrate on enjoying our beautiful new surroundings. I do think it is a slower pace of life down there, so hopefully this will be quite easy to do smile

scroobiuspirate Tue 22-Sep-09 13:08:26

oh good luck mightytoosh. I craved little pubs and crackling fires, clear skies at night and stillness. I am starting to appreciate it all again (dh left a few yrs ago) but it's also thru the eyes of my dd. I love it that she sees this side of life, before life gets too hectic.

whereabouts will you be buying your avocados?

morningpaper Tue 22-Sep-09 13:08:57

Agree with others (esp. spidermama)

It largely depends on your job (i.e. getting one) and salaries are VERY low

Lack of culture is a real fucker for me - I miss people who read the Guardian and know Muslims hmm. Cultural homogenity does tend to bring out the Daily Mail in people...

But the main issue for me for Devon/Cornwall would be how bloody far you are from anywhere. Transport is shit and you'd need to make your way to exeter for the trains - so if you have family in London or elsewhere, it is a total bugger if they get ill or you need to travel to them.

We're in Taunton and it has the advantage of being 2 hours on the direct train to London but also 30 minutes from the coast.

However I do miss croissants, decent coffee, culture, bagels, gay people, restaurants where they cook actual food and the possibility of interesting work opportunities.

OrmIrian Tue 22-Sep-09 13:21:18

Bugger me MP! I never knew Taunton was such a cultural desert grin I know loads of Guardian readers and even <gasp> a few Muslims.

morningpaper Tue 22-Sep-09 13:23:55


<checks mailbox for signs of air-gun attack>

OrmIrian Tue 22-Sep-09 13:25:11

Mind you quite a few of the Guardian readers work for Somerset County Council.... there's always a downside.

morningpaper Tue 22-Sep-09 13:26:17

Hmmm, and THEY all finish work at 4 pm wink

Probably why they are paid 12k

morningpaper Tue 22-Sep-09 13:26:35

<offends entirity of Somerset>

TheMightyToosh Tue 22-Sep-09 13:29:34

Thanks scroobi - good luck to you, too grin

We're off to a little village outside Ivybridge, just at the edge of Dartmoor, about 20 mins from some great beaches and about the same distance from Plymouth.

Views are glorious, we'll be walking distance from a lovely village pub/primary school/park.

And there are trains shock, restaurants shock shock and they do sell the Guardian.

I've never been interested in the coffee shop/city lifestyle. Always seems a bit lonely to me - so many people, but hardly anyone actually knows each other, all sitting in coffee shops reading the paper on their own. I'd far rather be on the beach with my family or in the pub having a laugh with my friends and neighbours.

Obviously people who want a theatre every other door and a Starbucks on every corner would be disappointed, but there is plenty of heritage and culture in places like Exeter, and loads of interesting history all over Devon and Cornwall. Really, coffee and bagels don't = real culture to me, just something to have on a rushed journey to a job that takes over too much of your life, in my experience wink

TheMightyToosh Tue 22-Sep-09 13:31:38

Lastyearsmodel - Sorry for the minor hijack blush

OrmIrian Tue 22-Sep-09 13:31:56

Agree with you toosh. The assumption that a cultured life can only exist within the confines on the M25 is strange. Perhaps only a certain kind of cultured life. The one that is defined by those within the M25!

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