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Places To Retire In The South-West


editha
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I'm living in Canada at the moment. My husband and I are planning to retire back to the UK in a couple of years time. We're torn between moving back to the West Midlands, where we still have friends, and the West Country, but we will probably choose the West Country. I've been keeping an eye on property prices for some time. Originally, I was only looking at the Bridport/Beaminster area, because I have family connections there, but the prices are really too high for us, so I've started looking further afield, in Devon and Somerset as well as Dorset.

The area that seem to have the most suitable properties for our requirements and price range is South Somerset, I particularly like properties I've seen on Rightmove in Muchelney and North Cadbury. The problem is that I only know this area from holidays, and I don't think my experience of attending the Glastonbury Festival is a very good guide to living in the area!

I'd appreciate the views of anyone with more knowledge than me.

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Chard?

:o

Dog rough and full of Poles working in the industrial plants.

Chard. The town where the garbage men make deliveries.

Posted on: March 16th, 2008 by admin 2 Comments

I might only be a tractor driver but I got a computer in me cab now so I thought I would tell you about my local town. Chard used to be a right good old place. you could ave a proper night out for a fiver at the rugby club and then get yer end away with some tart from Henson Park you grabbed upstairs at the George. Appy days. All changed now ‘course. Towns full of bloody foreiners aint it? Portugese and them poles. Would’nt mind so much but the bastards only ever bring their ugly women over ere. They must keep all the pretty ones back ‘ome. They can’t all be as ugly as the ones they lets over ‘ere can they? Chard ad more’n it’s fair share of Chavs before the immigrants come over to work at Oscar Meyers and Hygrade (Thats a point. Ow come now Hygrades shut down they aint buggered off again? ). There’s more chavs per paving slab up and down Fore street and High street than you will see in any place in the country. Difference ere is its like the united nations of chavdom. Traccies, trainers, spray tans, Agos’s three for a fiver gold bling and thats the geezers ! Needs the united nations to keep the peace ere too. No one comes to Chard after dark, even the drongos from Yeovil wont venture out ere. Stupid as they are they aint that crazy. If you go to Accident and Emergency in Taunton any weekend night you caan bet alf of em comes from Chard. It’s a bad mean town full of ugly men and even uglier women!

Chard should qualify for some sort of award as the roughest town in west country, probably the country. We had some geordie contractors staying here a few weeks ago, they pissed off early because there were too many fights for their liking and one got threatened with a bottle by a local slapper. And they came from bleeding Gateshead !

So if you take my advice you want to programme your Sat Nav so that it never ever takes you anywhere near Chard. Best bet is to stay on The M5 and keep well away.

http://www.chavtowns.co.uk/2008/03/chard-the-town-where-the-garbage-men-make-deliveries/

I can't comment on the general area (much further west) but amongst the Bristol football fans I know Chard has a reputation as somewhere not to live.

The villages around Taunton are quite nice.

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That would be the ideal, but not as easy as it sounds. Villages where we can afford to buy are not necessarily those where we can afford to rent, or where long term rental properties are available. I already part own my mother's home in East Sussex, and from a financial point of view it would make more sense to stay there until we buy somewhere. At the start of our retirement we'll be capital rich but income poor, and I'd not be keen on reducing our capital to pay rent. That's one of the difficulties with moving to the West Country. In the West Midlands we could rent a 2 bed house for 400 a month, but in a Somerset village the rent is likely to be at least 650.

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That would be the ideal, but not as easy as it sounds. Villages where we can afford to buy are not necessarily those where we can afford to rent, or where long term rental properties are available. I already part own my mother's home in East Sussex, and from a financial point of view it would make more sense to stay there until we buy somewhere. At the start of our retirement we'll be capital rich but income poor, and I'd not be keen on reducing our capital to pay rent. That's one of the difficulties with moving to the West Country. In the West Midlands we could rent a 2 bed house for 400 a month, but in a Somerset village the rent is likely to be at least 650.

So why don't you book up a few long weekends....some nice country pubs and bed and breakfasts that provide very good reasonable accommodation, the owners will also share invaluable information about their specific areas, think of all the seasons, think of available transport and local facilities and the community and the local activities that happen around that area....look at the local town is it busy, is there a good market, do the people smile and greet you.......but to know all these things you have to be there, ask yourself, see for yourself. ;)

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So why don't you book up a few long weekends....some nice country pubs and bed and breakfasts that provide very good reasonable accommodation, the owners will also share invaluable information about their specific areas, think of all the seasons, think of available transport and local facilities and the community and the local activities that happen around that area....look at the local town is it busy, is there a good market, do the people smile and greet you.......but to know all these things you have to be there, ask yourself, see for yourself. ;)

And make sure you go out Fri and Sat eves, places look a whole lot different then.

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That would be the ideal, but not as easy as it sounds. Villages where we can afford to buy are not necessarily those where we can afford to rent, or where long term rental properties are available. I already part own my mother's home in East Sussex, and from a financial point of view it would make more sense to stay there until we buy somewhere. At the start of our retirement we'll be capital rich but income poor, and I'd not be keen on reducing our capital to pay rent. That's one of the difficulties with moving to the West Country. In the West Midlands we could rent a 2 bed house for 400 a month, but in a Somerset village the rent is likely to be at least 650.

Don't forget that the interest on your capital would go towards the rent, it is easy to get over 3% from the UK highs street banks at the moment. I am in a similar position to you, having been retired for four years, and in our case the bank interest more than pays the rent.

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The long weekends idea is more or less what we've been planning to do. We'll arrive in the UK several weeks ahead of our furniture, so we'll be staying with my mum out of necessity. That would be a good time to take a trip to the West Country. However, our return is still two years in the future, so it is a bit early to be making those kind of plans.

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On crime, I think you have to look beyond the statistics. When in London I experienced two muggings, two burglaries and our car was broken into several times. Before he met me, my husband had been mugged and injured.

My husband got a job in Stoke on Trent, and we moved to a village just outside the city. In Stoke all the nightclubs are in Hanley, and it gets rowdy there on a Saturday night. We only experienced it once, and we felt disgusted by all the sick and pee everywhere, but that was all. We did not feel threatened, but we are middle-aged. I knew young people who'd been threatened with knives, or even injured in the clubs.

In the village we lived in there was barely any crime at all. So, as far as we were concerned, despite the statistics, it was a safe area to live.

Looking at the statistics for Yeovil and Chard, they are low for burglary and robbery, the two crimes that I feel threatened by. I do see that the anti-social behaviour stats are very high for both towns, higher than Stoke in fact, but if I was living in a village a few miles away, I doubt whether it would affect me.

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Well, I'm looking all over. My husband will not want to be right beside the seaside. He grew up on a fishing boat -- quite literally, his father was a salmon fisherman in Victoria BC. He had enough of the sea when he was a kid.

On the question of pricing out the locals, that's a complicated issue. I once owned a 5 bed house in Inner London, but since I moved out of London 17 years ago, if I wanted to move back, I would not be able to afford anything bigger than a 2 bed flat. So you could say that I'm a local who has been priced out. My understanding of the West Country, and places like it, is that locals resent second homers, who leave their property empty most of the year, but are less concerned about people moving in who bring money into a community and buy goods and services.

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Thanks for the warning about Chard. Good to know, because it is on the edge of the area I've been looking at -- roughly the triangle of Glastonbury, Yeovil and Taunton.

Glastonbury is OK if you can put up with the stench of petulia and crystal licking pikeys. Taunton always seemed a bit rough and lacking in charm.

Have a flick through the photos on the websites in my signature for some ideas. There's a few nice spots around that area.

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It's patchouli. I used to be a hippy myself. :D

Crewkerne and Axminster have already come up in property searches. The Mendips seem pricey, because that is commuter country. Overall the Glastonbury area, and the Somerset Levels seem to have the most properties that tick all our boxes.

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It's patchouli. I used to be a hippy myself. :D

Crewkerne and Axminster have already come up in property searches. The Mendips seem pricey, because that is commuter country. Overall the Glastonbury area, and the Somerset Levels seem to have the most properties that tick all our boxes.

Mendips are pricey 'cos much of them are nice (with some exceptions). Somerset levels are dull, dull, dull, prone to flooding (it's their natural state), and smell a bit if you're not used to that kind of thing.

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It's patchouli. I used to be a hippy myself. :D

Crewkerne and Axminster have already come up in property searches. The Mendips seem pricey, because that is commuter country. Overall the Glastonbury area, and the Somerset Levels seem to have the most properties that tick all our boxes.

I would check for any flooding risk. ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone know Torrington in Devon?

There are a number of properties in the town in our price range, and look good value. All the information I've collected about the town looks good too.

We used to live near the market town of Leek in Staffordshire. We liked the market town lifestyle: shopping in small shops, the pubs and small cafes and restaurants, and the sense of community. Leek is being spoiled by a new supermarket development, which is one of the reasons we are now looking elsewhere to retire. We considered Ludlow, which has made a real effort to maintain its small shops, but prices in the area are still sky high.

Torrington seems to be the West Country Ludlow, having fought off a Tesco's planning application. It still has a bi-weekly market and its small shops seem to be thriving. Plus development is limited by the surrounding common land. I don't think I've ever been to Torrington, but I do know the surrounding countryside which is great for walking, and the RHS garden at Rosemoor just down the road.

Given what a gem it is, prices seem low. So what's the catch?

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Given what a gem it is, prices seem low. So what's the catch?

It's one of quite a few places in Devon (and Cornwall) with lower prices than you might expect.

I expect it's a combination of attributes: too big to be properly rural, but still a pain to go anywhere. Not in any of the premium areas (coast, national parks, let alone south hams) nor so picturesque as to make up for that. Looking from here it's just somewhere I go through if going to Barnstaple/Bideford or the North Coast.

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Does anyone know Torrington in Devon?

Don't know a lot about Torrington, but have driven/cycled through it lots of times. As you say the surrounding countryside is nice, and it's on the Tarka Trail foot/cyclepath. There's a slightly rough-looking housing estate on the north-east edge, but the rest of it looks OK. It's not on the railway line or the North Devon Link Road, so transport links are not as good as other towns like Barnstaple and Bideford. Also, I think a lot of people moving to North Devon want to live in villages rather than towns.

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Does anyone know Torrington in Devon?

There are a number of properties in the town in our price range, and look good value. All the information I've collected about the town looks good too.

We used to live near the market town of Leek in Staffordshire. We liked the market town lifestyle: shopping in small shops, the pubs and small cafes and restaurants, and the sense of community. Leek is being spoiled by a new supermarket development, which is one of the reasons we are now looking elsewhere to retire. We considered Ludlow, which has made a real effort to maintain its small shops, but prices in the area are still sky high.

Torrington seems to be the West Country Ludlow, having fought off a Tesco's planning application. It still has a bi-weekly market and its small shops seem to be thriving. Plus development is limited by the surrounding common land. I don't think I've ever been to Torrington, but I do know the surrounding countryside which is great for walking, and the RHS garden at Rosemoor just down the road.

Given what a gem it is, prices seem low. So what's the catch?

Played cricket there years ago, have a vague memory of it being one of those West Country "Deliverance" towns, not sure what the gene pool is like.

Otherwise it seemed reasonably attractive though.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the replies on Great Torrington. I still think it is a good match for our needs and tastes, so I'm keeping a close eye on prices there.

There also seem to be a lot of bargains in the mid-Devon villages, the area north of Dartmoor and Okehampton. I was down that way this spring, and had a great time. I think the remoteness of some of the villages and poor transport links is off-putting, but on the other hand I'm wowed by the possibility of owning a classic cob and thatch cottage, and the countryside is fantastic.

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Thanks for the replies on Great Torrington. I still think it is a good match for our needs and tastes, so I'm keeping a close eye on prices there.

There also seem to be a lot of bargains in the mid-Devon villages, the area north of Dartmoor and Okehampton. I was down that way this spring, and had a great time. I think the remoteness of some of the villages and poor transport links is off-putting, but on the other hand I'm wowed by the possibility of owning a classic cob and thatch cottage, and the countryside is fantastic.

I have relatives who retired to a fairly remote village in North Devon about 20 years ago; they haven't regretted it. It's no longer as remote (or as cheap) as it was, since the building of the North Devon Link Road and associated developments. The west-of-England climate can be pretty damp and dismal in winter, but sunny summer days are fantastic. Village social politics can also be entertaining, with low-level tension between land-owners, less-wealthy locals, and grockles.

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Does anyone know Torrington in Devon?

We have friends who live not far from Torrington, so we've visited many times for shopping and the odd pub lunch. Seems a very nice little town, not perhaps the prettiest, but it has a lot of character. The town centre square is particularly attractive IMO. There is an interesting covered pannier market there at weekends. There seems to be a reasonable selection of shops and pubs, etc, and there are so many lovely places not far away.

Personally I would think it quite a pleasant place to retire to (if you are bent on Devon) - if you were close to the town you could manage if at some point you could no longer drive.

Our friends are in a very isolated rural position down a tiny, steep lane - the sort with grass growing down the middle of it - which can become completely impassable during freezing weather. They need to get in the car for absolutely everything - including walking the dog anywhere they can let her off the lead - and have been completely cut off for days at a time during spells of bad winter weather. From a practical POV I would think a town situation better for retirement on many counts.

Torrington Common (a large and varied area) is a favourite dog walking spot whenever we're down there.

Edited by Mrs Bear
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Torrington is OK.

Tarka trail foot/cycle path runs nearby: http://www.barum.co.uk/tarkatrail.htm

The annual bonfires on the common are spectacular: http://figure-w.co.uk/devon/torrington-events/

Good walks on the common and by the river too. RHS gardens worth visiting as is the Torrington Glass factory: http://www.dartington.co.uk/

Nearby: Bideford (nice by the riverside), Barnstaple (a pleasant expanding larger town), Appledore (has a thriving shipyard), Instow (beach and sailing club)

Dartmoor and Exmoor not too far away and don't forget to visit Clovelly before you get too old to climb the steep street.

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