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American mom moving to Derbyshire

209 replies

Scorpionflower1 · 17/02/2017 20:43

Hello All,

I'm an American Californian mom of 3 daughters ages 17, 15, and 8. We're planning a move to Derbyshire this summer and I'm looking to learn as much as I can. My DSO is from Derbyshire and is currently there there looking at places. I've only visited the area once before so feel I'm flying blind.

I'm hoping to connect with some mom's in the area who may be willing to provide some insights as to living there. What towns are most ideal for families? Which towns would be most embracing of my Californian daughters and myself? Which are the best schools? I'm a corporate accountant. What areas would have the best career opportunities for my profession?

Any feedback or insights would be greatly appreciated!

OP posts:
OdinsLoveChild · 17/02/2017 20:54

I'm not far from the border with Derbyshire. Its a very diverse area. How long do you want to commute to work? Do you need to use Independent Schools (fee paying) or State (free ones)? Do you like city living or rural?

Sheffield in Yorkshire would offer you more career opportunities than Derbyshire. You could live in the northern areas of Derbyshire and commute easily there within an hour. The Peak District in the west of the county is very rural and very pretty but would be a difficult commute to the cities. Derby in the south of the county could also offer career options. Nottingham could be an easy commute form the eastern areas of Derbyshire.

Ashbourne is a pretty market town with a reasonable high school. Bakewell is gorgeous but very touristy and expensive. Duffield has a very well respected high school, The Ecclesbourne School, but its very oversubscribed and difficult to get in to.

Theres Repton School and Derby High School if you want fee paying Independent Schools.

Its difficult to advise you as you haven't really given much information to go on. I hope this helps a little.

SavoyCabbage · 17/02/2017 21:00

Parts are really diverse and parts are very much the opposite. I'm a supply teacher and last week I taught a class where not a child in the school has English as their first language and another (different school!) where not one child know what a chopstick was.

nottinghamgal · 17/02/2017 21:02

Yes as others mentioned Derbyshire is very diverse.

Which areas are you looking at?

arsenalwatford · 17/02/2017 21:06

I live in Warwickshire which sits belowDerbyshire. As the last poster said, we could do with a bit more info. Generally accountants are in demand anywhere but the more corporate jobs are in the big cities. Derbyshire is more pretty smaller towns, but there are cities like Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester not too far depending on where in the county you live.
Do you have to work? Do you want to live city/country? I actually commute to London to work daily as there are fast trains so that might not be totally out of the question.

NotMeNoNo · 17/02/2017 21:07

I thought matlock or Ashbourne. Derbyshire is rural and slow to get around by road so I would be looking at rail connections unless within reach of the M1. Do look at neighbouring counties too. I know this sounds like listing ways to get out but it sounds like your job is the sort found in larger cities and Derby isn't large. Do you have family ties there or does your DSO already have a job that ties you to a particular part of the county?

ChuckSnowballs · 17/02/2017 21:10

Have you actually been to Derbyshire? If so which bits do you like?

We are south of Derby and I know of several us citizens here, I am from Canada myself. Although a fair while ago!

Derbyshire is a bit of an acquired taste.

NotMeNoNo · 17/02/2017 21:12

Having said that, Derbyshire is a county I would love to live in. As with all the Midlands you have to take people as you find them as it's pretty down to earth. History of farming, mining, heavy industry, parts also touristy.

Scorpionflower1 · 17/02/2017 21:12

Thanks for the response! I know he's been talking a lot about moving to Swadlincote. He's also looking at a place in Linton that he really likes. We've lived in both city and rural areas before. I prefer suburbs where it's a nice "in-between" of the two lifestyles; however, rural here may be different than there. Rural for us was living on a farm in a town of 1,000 people, no schools, and 45 minute drive to a grocery store.

OP posts:
arsenalwatford · 17/02/2017 21:17

Actually then I think you'll find lots of places that suit, and you're right Midlands rural isn't quite that (though it is a farming area). Provablh best to look at areas and then local schools, and how they rate (you can find school rankings for both private and state online).

MissRainbowBrite · 17/02/2017 21:22

Are you set on Derbyshire? There are quite a few nice, large villages just across the border in Staffordshire. Barton under Needwood, Rolleston and others around Burton are worth a look depending on exactly what you are after.
I, personally, wouldn't choose to live in Swadlincote but others may come along and say differently. It's has been developed lots with many new housing estates but the town doesn't seem to have kept up.

OdinsLoveChild · 17/02/2017 21:24

Swadlincote has mediocre state schools generally and no Independent schools that I can think of but try the // website to find one nearby if you will be using them. Ashby-de-la-Zouch is nice (Leicestershire) has a better choice of high school but the catchment area may not extend to Linton despite being only a few miles.
Swadlincotes an old mining area and your money goes a long way on the housing front. Being in that area would mean Leicester (pronounced Lester) is the closest large city to commute to. Burton on Trent (Staffordshire) is nearby for work too with a lot of industrial areas nearby so accountancy work should be easy to find.
You could easily get to Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield and Birmingham for work from Linton. These places would give you more choice for work but would be a good hour+ commute.

Scorpionflower1 · 17/02/2017 21:51

My DSO grew up in Derbyshire and has lots of family in the area. I've only visited England the one time last spring. My 8yo and I are coming over in March for a couple weeks, then coming back also bringing my 17yo and 15yo for 3 weeks in April. We'll be scoping out the area while there, looking at houses and schools. My DSO is practically ready to sign on a house rental in Linton that he likes, but I don't feel comfortable as I don't even know the area. I know he feels it's a great place, but I just don't have enough information yet.

OP posts:
SantasLittleMonkeyButler · 17/02/2017 21:58

Hi! I'm not that far from Swadlincote (just north of Lichfield actually).

Swadlincote is very South Derbyshire really, quite urban really.

It seems a million miles from sunny California. Burton-On-Trent folk are generally friendly though (Swad is really considered part of Burton). You may need to get used to being called "duck" 😄. As in "are you alright duck".

Good luck with the move. I love the relaxed feel of the Burton area - much less stick up than where I am!!

Scorpionflower1 · 17/02/2017 22:01

Ok thank you so much for the input. Sounds like SwadlincotE isn't the best area. I currently live in the area where American reality TV show "Real Housewives of OC" is based on. It's very well kept, top rated schools, diverse, and top paying jobs... but also very superficial and expensive! I want excellent schools for my girls as one does have a learning disability. I would definitely want a family area where my youngest would be safe playing outside with neighborhood kids. We are somewhat locked to that general area as his family is around there.

OP posts:
SantasLittleMonkeyButler · 17/02/2017 22:02

P.S. Rural in this area is a village between towns. There would still probably be a local shop in walking distance & larger shops a 10-15 minute drive away. Almost all villages have primary schools in them.

123bananas · 17/02/2017 22:03

I think your DSO seriously needs to consider the catchment areas for schools particularly the 15 and 17 year old.

Rightmove is a good site to look on by area as it gives you a breakdown of local primary (5-11) and secondary (11-18) schools for each area.

Scorpionflower1 · 17/02/2017 22:03

Ok seems there is mixed opinion on Swad lol. It's really a tough one when the only opinions I've had so far have been from my DSO and his family. Why feedback from a forum such as this really is helpful.

OP posts:
123bananas · 17/02/2017 22:06

Having looked at Linton all the local secondary catchment schools are currently rated requires improvment. Not good. You want a good or excellent rated school.

notnowbernadette · 17/02/2017 22:08

Buxton is worth looking at as it's got a train line to Manchester where there are lots of accountancy jobs. It's a pretty town with reasonable amenities.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler · 17/02/2017 22:08

Walton-On-Trent is a lovely village, just inside South Derbyshire. Close to Swadlincote. Great village primary & firmly in catchment for John Taylor Secondary School over the bridge in Barton-Under-Needwood. John Taylor is one of the very best schools in the area.

A close friend of mine lives in Walton (and will actually have a lovely 3 bed family home available for rent in a few months when she's finished renovating her new home).

BikeRunSki · 17/02/2017 22:09

Is there anywhere you need to be near fur rite or anything? Because you may find that the southwest corner of Sheffield suits you well. Sheffield sort of merges into Derbyshire.

GraceGrape · 17/02/2017 22:11

Melbourne is a well-to-do large village near Swadlincote. It's a few miles out of Derby. Not sure about schools though. It's quite close to Repton if you're looking at fee-paying schools.

Scorpionflower1 · 17/02/2017 22:49

I still need to get my head around pricing but I think we were trying to stay around 1,000 a month, at least until I find work. I probably don't have to work as I do have about $1,200 income monthly without working... but I like working. Are there certain areas that are more likely to have 3-4 bedroom 2 bath minimum? DSO said we'd be around the 4 county area.

OP posts:
NotMeNoNo · 18/02/2017 00:48

OK the four counties is South Derbyshire, that's nearer to us. This is now also the "National Forest" which is currently a bit thin on trees but is a planting/regeneration initative to restore an area of former collieries, so there are some good leisure facilities around.

Do check out the proposed HS2 (new railway) plans which go through this area near the M42. It's not the end of the world but try to be a mile or two away from the route. I would look out for transport to Birmingham/Derby/Nottingham/Leicester, the train lines don't always go in logical directions and the motorways are busy at rush hour.

Villages and small towns vary a lot but I think I'd try and base myself somewhere a bit bigger with teenagers/secondary schools to think about. I wonder if Linton might be a bit small? I'd find the good schools first, then look for a house in same town/in catchment/transport area, especially if special needs are in the equation. Will your older DD's be looking at college or for jobs in the near future? Good transport to a larger town will be a plus for that.

It's easy to get swayed by the huge, beautiful houses that appear to be a bargain price around here, incomers can fall for a lovely period house and later find there are few facilities or they don't like the area. But of course your local family will be a good source of information on that (and I expect they won't hear a word against Swadlincote!). There's quite a lot of new house building in the area at the moment so plenty of nice 4 bedroom houses.

Ashby de la Zouch is worth a look: nice town, good schools. I don't know Barton but it sounds like another contender. Both of those are well within popping in distance of Swad.

This is a lovely bit of the UK, by the way Grin enjoy your search!

LoveDeathPrizes · 18/02/2017 00:52

If you're near Burton, maybe somewhere like Melbourne? Ingleby is lovely. Not really California but we go wild swimming in Ingleby and Melbourne has a lot of nice shops and an artists community.

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