Bideford, Devon - tell me what you know!

Proto

Guru
Location
Full time nomad
My wife and I, both retired this year, looking for a new life. Sold the family house in Thame, Oxfordshire and went travelling for a few months in our van. Thought we'd then look for a new house in the west on our return.

Attraction of West Country is closer to three of our Children (2 x Bristol, 1 x Totnes and 1 x Norwich!!!), closer to the sea, quieter life etc. Cornwall is too far from anywhere. Considered Totnes, Kingsbridge, Topsham and Bridport in Dorset. Don't want a cottage on top of Dartmoor where we'll never see anyone, my wife likes the idea of town living - walk to shops, library, cinema and such like. Actually talk to your neighbours.

On returning we started looking for new pastures, and hoped we might find a new life Somerset somewhere. Currently renting near Frome. However, so far we're not too impressed with what's available. Casting our net further afield stumbled on a fab looking house close to the centre of Bideford. Lot's of pluses - away from South East, close to the sea, small market town, etc., and it's very affordable.

But, in reality, I know nothing about Bideford. Never been there (Croyde/Barnstable I do know). I'm guessing it's not as wealthy as Gerrards Cross(!) but I'm not sure that should bother us too much.

So, anyone live there, or know it well? Avoid like the plague or get on with it?

Thoughts please.
 
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Hill Wimp

Fair weathered,fair minded but easily persuaded.
There are considerations in our household to do something similar in the next few years once @Fab Foodie retires. He is a Devon boy and we spend a lot of time along the M4 corridor lure coursing with our Whippet. For us we need to be by the sea, maximum of 5 miles away. So I will be following this with interest.

We love where we are now but our lives/friends/family are predominantly Westward.

Off in the van to Devon in a couple of weeks so I will be keeping my eye out on route.
 
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You will forever be an incomer in Devon so don't hold your breath about being too friendly with the neighbours unless they are incomers as well.

I was born in Totnes and have many relations around Kingsbridge/Salcombe, although more are now below ground than above it.

There used to be a saying about being accepted after about 25 years, which as retirees I'm guessing you might not have that long to wait.

On t'other hand, it's a grand part of the world and I don't imagine you will face any active hostility.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
You will forever be an incomer in Devon so don't hold your breath about being too friendly with the neighbours unless they are incomers as well.

I was born in Totnes and have many relations around Kingsbridge/Salcombe, although more are now below ground than above it.

There used to be a saying about being accepted after about 25 years, which as retirees I'm guessing you might not have that long to wait.

On t'other hand, it's a grand part of the world and I don't imagine you will face any active hostility.
Almost as bad as Yorkshire... I heard a middle-aged woman in Heptonstall (an ancient hilltop village above Hebden Bridge) complaining that locals treated her as an 'offcumden' despite the fact that she (and her parents) had been born in the village. The shocking truth was that her grandparents had moved there 'only' 50 or 60 years prior to that! :wacko:

As for Devon... My sister is planning to retire there. She has looked around and is currently favouring Exmouth. Good links to Exeter but more affordable, and the coast just down the road.

Bideford does not currently have rail links to the 'outside world'. It may not be an issue for some, but it would be for me - I don't drive and like to be able to hop on a train with my bike. Drivers may have to stop driving in old age, so that could be an important issue for the future.

PS I read a suggestion that the rail link to Barnstaple may eventually be restored?
 

Milkfloat

An Peanut
Location
Midlands
I am a big fan of Bideford although I actually prefer the quieter area of Appledore slightly to the north. A little fact for you, it is said that the the arches of the bridge are all different sizes because it depended on how much each sponsor paid for an arch.
 

Dirk

If 6 Was 9
My wife and I, both retired this year, looking for a new life. Sold the family house in Thame, Oxfordshire and went travelling for a few months in our van. Thought we'd then look for a new house in the west on our return.

Attraction of West Country is closer to three of our Children (2 x Bristol, 1 x Totnes and 1 x Norwich!!!), closer to the sea, quieter life etc. Cornwall is too far from anywhere. Considered Totnes, Kingsbridge, Topsham and Bridport in Dorset. Don't want a cottage on top of Dartmoor where we'll never see anyone, my wife likes the idea of town living - walk to shops, library, cinema and such like. Actually talk to your neighbours.

On returning we started looking for new pastures, and hoped we might find a new life Somerset somewhere. Currently renting near Frome. However, so far we're not too impressed with what's available. Casting our net further afield stumbled on a fab looking house close to the centre of Bideford. Lot's of pluses - away from South East, close to the sea, small market town, etc., and it's very affordable.

But, in reality, I know nothing about Bideford. Never been there (Croyde/Barnstable I do know). I'm guessing it's not as wealthy as Gerrards Cross(!) but I'm not sure that should bother us too much.

So, anyone live there, or know it well? Avoid like the plague or get on with it?

Thoughts please.
I'll get back to you later.
Might not be until tomorrow morning.
Currently travelling up country to Redditch and got a heavy night ahead of me. :cheers:
 

Dave 123

Guru
Photo Winner
Come to the South Hams. There’s more in comers than locals, they daren’t complain!
 
As a North Devonian born and bred, It's not a bad spot, but as mentioned upthread I'd be inclined to look slightly further afield in Appledore or Northam. I grew up in Ilfracombe and spent a number of years in Barnstaple. I've no direct experience of living in Bideford, but I have had friends there and spent a bit of time in the town. It has all the amenities you could ask for apart from public transport and the Tarka trail is on your door step, providing a traffic free, easy ride into Barnstaple and further afield. I moved away from Devon in the early noughties, because I could no longer afford to live there, however, I still return to visit my family every year. What strikes me more and more is how run down the area is getting, Barnstaple especially. No doubt they'll be others who could provide more up to date info.
 

mudsticks

Veteran
North Coast is often a bit cloudier than the south, and not so well connected.

By rail or road, but that can be a bonus, its arguably quieter, and slightly cheaper.

Some impressive hill climbs too, if that's your thang :bicycle:

It's got a bit busy down south since I moved here as a young striping several decades back.

There seem to be more blow ins, than locals nowadays.

Unfortunately that's made the house prices unattainable for many of those locally born, bred and rurally employed.

But thats not your problem to fix..
 
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