Moving to Barnstaple/Bideford

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    My husband and I (early 30s) – no kids currently are moving to this area from North London. We have had enough of London after 8 years and we cannot afford to “settle” down in London and buy any property! We wanted a better quality of life, love the outdoors and have family in South Devon. We are totally new to the area and are looking to rent initially but wondered if people could recommend areas that are nice or we need to avoid?! Any other useful hints or information would be greatly appreciated, from an apprehensive but very excited couple!



    Hi Jennifer, we moved to North Devon in 2010 to run Robin Hill Farm Cottages – it’s our second career. We live just outside Bideford in the village of Littleham which is beautiful and quiet. North Devon property is good value for money – must confess that we are not very clued up on good/less good areas to live. The lifestyle here is very outdoors – we love the beaches, cliffs, walking etc. However, lovely little places like Appledore go too quiet in winter and there is much less choice for eating out than you’re probably used to. Btw there is a rush hour into Barnstaple – you’ll have about a 10 minute delay!!!



    Hello Jennifer. While North Devon is not the wealthiest of areas, on the other hand it has a very low crime rate. I live in Ilfracombe and feel comfortable walking home late at night, whereas I did not feel safe at night in the South East in my latter years there.

    Each place here really does have its own character so I’d advise travelling around to see what you like. Lynton/Lynmouth and Clovelly have rugged coastlines, Ilfracombe has a harbour and theatre, Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton have miles of sandy beaches.

    A lot will depend on your professions as finding work/running a business can be tough here. To succeed anyone has to work harder, but the benefits of walking by the sea etc every day are fantastic. If you need good internet, some parts of Barnstaple, Bideford and Ilfracombe have reasonable speeds but some remote areas have no broadband. Mobile phone coverage can be patchy too.

    If you like local food, there’s no place better. Most towns still have traditional butchers, sourcing meat from local farms, while some greengrocers stock local fruit and veg. We ate Braunton asparagus last weekend and look forward to Combe Martin strawberries. We had to start watching our diet because pies, pasties, cakes, clotted cream etc can be very tempting. We had no choice like this in Windsor, just supermarkets. There are some great pubs/restaurants/chippies, although when it’s deserted in the winter some do close. Once you get to know the area, you’ll find ones that are open all year round.

    For entertainment there are theatres in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Torrrington; cinemas in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and some local film societies. Lots of pubs, music groups, amateur theatre groups and clubs. In places like Ilfracombe, there is just as much going on in the winter as in summer because locals have more time to enjoy themselves than in the busy tourism season.

    Whatever you like, I hope you find it. I feel at home here and love the North Devon community.



    North Devon is a great choice, and congratulations on making such a major life decision, you will not regret it. Life is different in Devon. People are happier, the pace of life is less frantic, the countryside and sea side is all on your doorstep. There really isn’t any place to really avoid. What I would recommend though is that you rent for 6 months, take that time to familiarise yourself with the area. Hold back on buying a property until you have spent that time exploring. You will then be able to work out your location preference, whether that’s closer to the larger towns, in the villages and countryside or by the sea. After 6 months you’ll know where to settle. Good luck with it all. I would recommend Ilfracombe, but I would say that as I’ve been living here for over 7 years now! 🙂



    Hi, I echo the feelings of everyone before me, we moved to Clovelly from north London just over 2 years ago and it was the best thing we ever did. I grew up in barnstaple & south molton and chose to move to Clovelly to be nearer existing family. Clovelly and this side of north Devon towards Cornwall is particularly beautiful and the beaches are amazing. We were fortunate to have our own business which we started and expanded when we moved and my husband additionally works locally in a seasonal capacity as many people here tend to do. As Robert says people work hard here and you find many people with 2/3 jobs. It takes a while to get used to not having shops/restaurants open late and cash machines nearby. The people are lovely and their is fantastic business relationships and networking. Exeter & Bristol have good shops, restaurants etc and make a nice break but the countryside & coastline makes up for city life. I would agree with renting first to find which area you like best. There are lots of little gems here from The plough arts in Torrington to the the old smithy in welcombe and much more. There are lots of independent businesses which are a welcome change from chains and give Bideford real character. It is a very different lifestyle and more relaxed especially when the weather is like it is at the moment and you can enjoy the beaches. I don’t often miss north London and I am sure you will love it.



    Hello Jennifer

    Well first thing to say is that you should be excited as North Devon is a lovely place to live & bring up a family of that there is little doubt. It is also a very accessible place to live access to the motorway network & rail within say 30 mins. I have worked in estate agency all of my working life thus far (nearly 30 years) – born in West Somerset & moved to North Devon when I took over the managing directors job here at Webbers a few years ago. It is a great place to live, culture, shopping, coast, country – it’s all here. I do like to visit London on a regular basis, in fact I am off tomorrow to an evening show (back same night) as it is really quite easy – so you will not suddenly feel “cut off”. Schooling too is very good in all areas for all ages.
    As a company we do handle both sale & rental so I would be happy to help & put you in contact with our local staff who can advise you further. 01271347860



    Dear All,
    Thank you for all your responses and helpful direction/recommendations. We are getting more & more excited about the upcoming move. My husband has a job in Bideford and I have a job in Barnstaple. We ideally want one of us to be able to walk/cycle to work and the other drive. We are looking at renting in Barnstaple (as it is bigger and closer to my job) initially, but from what we have seen it is more expensive in Barnstaple than Bideford?!

    Another random question – does anyone know of local sports teams, in particular 5 a side football and netball?! We are both keen sports players, in addition to watersports, hence moving to Devon!

    Many thanks again, it certainly helps to hear from you all and put my mind at rest!



    Good morning Jennifer

    Happy to help. In terms of rents you are right to suggest that figures are higher in Barnstaple than Bideford. Typically the median rents for 2/3 bed homes respectively would be £550 / £685 (Barnstaple) £524 / £592 (Bideford) Per calendar month. If you need more help or an “available list” just let me know. Malcolm



    I can recommend the services of Webbers estate agents in barnstaple having bought our new property through them. Really attentive service from Becky and Elaine especially.



    Love to comment on Google it.

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