Why I settled in Devon–Real Story

Plymouth from Mount Edgecomb

Enjoy this real story of moving to Devon

In early 2010 I made the move to Devon for work. As a senior tourism professional I was well used to moving around the country for work. Indeed, the move to Plymouth in Devon was simply the latest in a long series of relocations over the previous 18 years. I had built a career on running troubled tourism destinations in both the UK and Ireland, taking on the challenge of turning them around, making them more viable and successful and improving their reputations.

As far as I was concerned the move to Devon was just the next step in this career, however, the county got under my skin and I have now put down roots that are growing by the year.


In tourism circles the appeal of Devon is well understood. It’s the only country in the UK with two separate coasts, it is blessed by some of the best beaches in the country coupled with great countryside, the fabulous Dartmoor National Park and fabulous local food and drink.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how much this amazing county would get a hold of my head and my heart. The motivation for my move was “work” and I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the area in terms of “life”. I did arrive with an open mind though and I haven’t been disappointed.

Being originally from Scotland I am very much accustomed to being surrounded by great scenery and lots of things to do but Devon takes this to another level!

In my view the area offers the perfect combination for life and work. The vibrant cities of Plymouth and Exeter are dynamic and energetic. Big enough to provide everything you could need but small enough to be intimate and accessible.

In particular, the choice of fantastic restaurants and culture in the area means you will be spoiled for choice if you like a busy urban life. This combines with good shopping centres and a diverse range of businesses, meaning you can find everything you need within a short distance of home.

However, within 30 minutes you can also be enjoying fabulous beaches, amazing moors and stunning scenery and wildlife.

Two Bridge, Dartmoor

The pace of life in the South West is a little bit more relaxed compared with more developed and populated parts of the UK. This means that you can always find time and space to breath.

There are sleepy country villages with high streets full of boutique shops offering great products and service, perfect for a Saturday afternoon amble and browse. There are plenty of opportunities to take 20 minutes out for a coffee and one of the famous “Cream teas”, just be careful to check whether you’re in Devon or Cornwall before applying the jam or cream first!

Combine this with the relatively low cost of living (property prices in particular are very favourable compared to other parts of the UK) and the fact that it’s a brilliant place to raise a family and you soon realise that the West Country is a great place to live and work.

For active families you can choose between watersports, walking, cycling, horse riding or a myriad of adrenalin fueled pastimes and activities.

There is also a huge choice of attractions, theme parks, adventure centres, museums and galleries and other ways to entertain the kids than you could possibly need to fill those long school holidays. Your kids should never have an excuse to be bored in Devon!

For those into culture and history the South West has a rich heritage and the landscape is littered with ancient monuments, castles, ruins and stately homes, enough for the most vigorous of history hunters.

Galitha Falls

So what about my story?

After almost 6 years in the new job I reached a decision point. My job came to a natural end, having turned around another attraction, and I once again found myself at a crossroads. Normally I would be off to the next challenge. Sell the house, pack everything up and look forward to the next challenge! However, this time was different. Since arriving in Devon I had met, fell in love with, and subsequently married a local Devon lass! Together we bought a rundown small holding and even bought the chickens! I really was living the West Country dream.

When the time came to move on yet again I found my heart wasn’t in it. Over the last 6 years Devon had slowly and insidiously worked its way under my skin and I found that I had absolutely no desire to leave. The thought of living in a busy city once again with the relentless pace of life, the competitive “dog eat dog” attitude and drudge of the daily commute somehow didn’t appeal anymore.

So what now? I decided it was time to be my own boss and be master of my own destiny. I set up my own Tourism Consultancy as well as a Property Search and Relocation Company supporting other people looking to make the move to the West Country.

I now work from home, enjoying everything life on a smallholding has to offer and I get to help other people striving to achieve the same quality of life, as well as working with many of the amazing tourism businesses in the area.

I can honestly say that I am loving every minute of it and wouldn’t change a single thing.

Thank you Devon!

Dr David Gibson is the Managing Director, Relocate South West Ltd

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