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Places To Retire In The South-West


editha
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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?

Hi Edith

Sorry for the late reply - only just picked up on this.

I'm a recent blow in to the area, arriving 18months ago due to work, having spent the previous couple of decades in Scotland.

A couple of hard facts. North Devon has much less sunshine than the rest of the south of England. The weather is shocking: something the tourist board don't mention!

See this link

http://metofficenews.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/sunshine_average_1971-2000_17.gif

This darkness is because it's usually raining

http://www.euwfd.com/html/geography_and_climate.html

It's also exceptionally busy, particularly in summer, when the main arterial roads become clogged at peak periods (particularly friday - sunday). A361 and A39 are particularly bad due to caravans.

The existing housing stock is predominantly of poor quality:older houses with small windows, made from cob and thatch. Mud huts as we call them. Dark and damp. The rainfall means that your quaint thatched cottages need a new roof every 10 -15 years, so you should be saving £100 - 150 a month towards this. The thatch lasts longer if done with reeds (rather than wheatstraw) but this costs more. You should also look into the building and contents insurance costs for thatched properties, you may be surprised. The newer houses tend to be rather generic and uninspiring, but they are at least dry. Torrington has some nice Georgian townhouses but you don't want to be on the main road due to heavy traffic. Here are some cases in point. Pretty houses but right on a main road.

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-21796977.html

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-34762981.html

I like Torrington but it really isn't Ludlow! Trust me on this!

If I was retiring to the UK I would look further North, where prices are much more sane and the communities much less affected by large numbers of incomers. If it must be Devon, look to the sunnier south coast which doesn't get the same oceanic downpours and cloud cover.

Good luck in your search

Flynn

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If I was retiring to the UK I would look further North, where prices are much more sane and the communities much less affected by large numbers of incomers. If it must be Devon, look to the sunnier south coast which doesn't get the same oceanic downpours and cloud cover.

Nicely defended there, but you will get a similar story in the south, too. Indeed, Devon is full of microclimates, some of them surprising. And that pattern of all the intrinsically-nicer houses being right on the main roads is just an unfortunate fact of life: the roads weren't such a blight when they were built.

A couple of common weather patterns around here involve rain on west-facing slopes while east-facing slopes are dry, or heavy rain on higher ground while the valleys are relatively dry. Or snow on the higher ground, but only selectively (anything coming from the stretch of the A386 between Tavistock and Okehampton might be covered in snow while everywhere else is clear). But then, I've encountered the opposite: e.g. one night coming home from Kingsbridge on the south coast, heavy swirling snow left me wondering if I'd get home or if I'd have to stop in or even before Plymouth, yet going through Plymouth it cleared up and emerging onto the moors it was clear!

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But then, I've encountered the opposite: e.g. one night coming home from Kingsbridge on the south coast, heavy swirling snow left me wondering if I'd get home or if I'd have to stop in or even before Plymouth, yet going through Plymouth it cleared up and emerging onto the moors it was clear!

Was that around 1990, I forget the precise year.

If so, we must have passed as I was going from Plymouth to Kingsbridge

That afternoon the kids were brought home from school by boat because the roads were so bad.

IIRC the snow hung around for a week.

Deepest I ever remember it anywhere else except on Dartmoor, where the 2010 winter was a cracker

Edited by LiveinHope
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Nicely defended there, but you will get a similar story in the south, too. Indeed, Devon is full of microclimates, some of them surprising. And that pattern of all the intrinsically-nicer houses being right on the main roads is just an unfortunate fact of life: the roads weren't such a blight when they were built.

A couple of common weather patterns around here involve rain on west-facing slopes while east-facing slopes are dry, or heavy rain on higher ground while the valleys are relatively dry. Or snow on the higher ground, but only selectively (anything coming from the stretch of the A386 between Tavistock and Okehampton might be covered in snow while everywhere else is clear). But then, I've encountered the opposite: e.g. one night coming home from Kingsbridge on the south coast, heavy swirling snow left me wondering if I'd get home or if I'd have to stop in or even before Plymouth, yet going through Plymouth it cleared up and emerging onto the moors it was clear!

I lived in Devon/Cornwall for a few years, I confirm 100% the microclimate thing.

The weather anywhere on the peninsula on a given day is affected the most by the wind direction and the relative position of the high ground, but there are other factors, you get to know where it's most likely to be dry and good for a walk.

The most consistently good weather is right on the south coast, in the far south-west of Cornwall, even 1 or 2 miles inland it's very different, and the worst is of course on the high western parts of Dartmoor.

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  • 8 months later...

An update:

We decided to sell our house in Canada a year earlier than we'd planned, and buy a house in Devon before we returned to the UK next year. This was for a number of reasons. In Canada the market is slow (though not as bad as the UK), but in our city, this spring, there was a temporary shortage of houses in the price range that includes our house, and our realtor advised us it was a good time to sell. This proved correct since we found a buyer within 3 months, which compares well with the length of time some of our neighbours have taken to sell their houses in the last few years. The downside is that now we have to rent here in Canada for the next twelve months, and rents here are higher than the UK. The upside is that we are in a position to buy a house in the UK now, and avoid having to rent for six months or so, when we return next year.

Another incentive to buy in the UK this year is Osborne's dumb (IMO) "help to buy" scheme which is predicted will cause house price inflation. When we moved to Canada in '06 there was raging house price inflation here, but in the UK although prices were going up, the market was slower. We had a horrible nail-biting few months waiting for the sale of our house in the UK to go through, while the average price of properties in Edmonton Alberta was going up by $2,000 a week. Osborne's budget raised the spectre that we might be doomed to repeat the experience in reverse if waited until next year.

Our house is now sold and I'm negotiating to buy a cottage on the Hartland peninsula in N. Devon. We haven't agreed a price yet, but I'm confident we will within a few days. I've taken your advice into account as well as advice I got from locals when I visited this year, and in previous years.

The area we've chosen is isolated, in fact it is one of the most isolated areas in the West Country, but that doesn't bother me, and in some ways I see it as an advantage. I got no sense of antagonism to incomers when I was visiting. I expect we will encounter some, as we did in Staffordshire too. I did check out the weather and the "microclimate" and it seems favourable. North Devon, though not as sunny as the south coast, is a lot drier than the central area round Dartmoor.

We haven't gone for a cob and thatch house. As well as the advice on this board, we were strongly advised against cob and thatch by friends of friends who ran a b&b in Devon for a long time and owned two traditional houses. But, the house we're buying does have some personality and it is going to be fun doing it up.

Thank you all for your input.

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  • 2 years later...

I do realise that this thread is now very old. Nevertheless, others may still access it and on account of what appears above as a quote under Frank Hovis, I wish to make the following remarks - which relate to Chard, Somerset, as a place to live.

Basically, almost everything that has been wrtitten about Chard in that quote is wrong. - very wrong. Chard - as a place to live - is one of the nicest places that I have lived in anywhere in England. The reasons for that are several:

1. The people are very polite, friendly and helpful.

2. The town and the surrounding area in not over-populated with sprawling modern housing estates with houses that all look the same and like so many matchboxes all crammed next to each other.

3. The immediate countryside - which is very easy to access from Chard - is very beautiful: huge, wide-open green spaces.

4. Although a small town, most everyday things for day-to-day living are readily available. And for those that aren't, Taunton and Yeovil are not far away. (Warning: if travelling by car, be aware that the standard of car driving in Taunton is very poor. And beware of the chavs and chavettes in Yeovil).

5. House prices are very reasonable.

6. It's not that far from the seaside: 30 minutes drive - so you get the best of both worlds: lush, green countryside and access to the sea.

7. Although not unique to Chard, this region of Somerset is famous for it's excellent dairy products.

8. Chard has retained many endearing architectural features that add grace and charm to the place - in a phrase, it's unspoilt by modern technology.

I am very happy to have moved here from the south midlands, where most of the inhabitants are often quite aggressive, rude and selfish - and drive cars like lunatics!

Man of Chard (ex a Man of Kent)

September 2015.

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  • 1 month later...

I do realise that this thread is now very old. Nevertheless, others may still access it and on account of what appears above as a quote under Frank Hovis, I wish to make the following remarks - which relate to Chard, Somerset, as a place to live.

Basically, almost everything that has been wrtitten about Chard in that quote is wrong. - very wrong. Chard - as a place to live - is one of the nicest places that I have lived in anywhere in England. The reasons for that are several:

1. The people are very polite, friendly and helpful.

2. The town and the surrounding area in not over-populated with sprawling modern housing estates with houses that all look the same and like so many matchboxes all crammed next to each other.

3. The immediate countryside - which is very easy to access from Chard - is very beautiful: huge, wide-open green spaces.

4. Although a small town, most everyday things for day-to-day living are readily available. And for those that aren't, Taunton and Yeovil are not far away. (Warning: if travelling by car, be aware that the standard of car driving in Taunton is very poor. And beware of the chavs and chavettes in Yeovil).

5. House prices are very reasonable.

6. It's not that far from the seaside: 30 minutes drive - so you get the best of both worlds: lush, green countryside and access to the sea.

7. Although not unique to Chard, this region of Somerset is famous for it's excellent dairy products.

8. Chard has retained many endearing architectural features that add grace and charm to the place - in a phrase, it's unspoilt by modern technology.

I am very happy to have moved here from the south midlands, where most of the inhabitants are often quite aggressive, rude and selfish - and drive cars like lunatics!

Man of Chard (ex a Man of Kent)

September 2015.

Hmmmm...interestingly, during the 80s, Chard was more violent per head of population than Manchester... There's also a distinct air of xenophobia over the quite large Portuguese community..

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