Expert advice abouts schools, train stations and coastal and rural house prices in Devon's towns and villages
Deciding where to live in Devon comes down to what you like to do in your free time.
You’re never very far from the sea in Devon; surfers are drawn to the crashing waves of the north coast and the likes of Croyde Bay. Sailors, on the other hand, head south to Salcombe and Dartmouth for stiller waters.
The centre of the region is a winner with fans of country pursuits as it flaunts 17 packs of fox hounds, as well as staghounds, freshwater for fishing and the finest pheasant shoots. Home to Exmoor (one of Devon’s two moors), it’s also where you’ll find sought-after villages and towns like Castle Hill and Tiverton.
The gentile Victorian homes in East Devon are a big draw for a retired couples with refined tastes. Meanwhile, an arty crowd prefers the 20s architecture of Chagford and Lustleigh. “The Wills family – who supported the arts and crafts movement built a lot of houses there in this style,” says Martin Lamb, director residential at Savills‘ Exeter branch.
“Buyers like it because it’s small and you won’t get recognised.”
The beauty of the coast and the atmosphere of big-name villages like Chagford and Luffley might be enticing, but in order to get better value-for-money Mr Lamb recommends heading a few miles out from the centre of a village or from the seashore.
“It’s so expensive in town or by the water,” he says.
“But if you’re not on the water and you need to use your car to get there, you might as well be five miles away.”
As well as lots to keep you busy at the weekends, Devon has great connections for commuters during the week.
There are airports in both Exeter and Bristol. The M3 runs through the region and there’s the A3 as well as access to the A30 which runs into Cornwall. The M5 corridor also spans from Tiverton down to Exeter.
It’s a good idea for those who need to get to London more frequently to stay within 40 minutes of the historic city as it’s a 2hr30 train ride from there to the capital.
Another reason to stay close to Exeter is its abundance of great private schools. Bramdean School, The New School, Exeter School, The Maynard School and Exeter Cathedral School are all nearby. It’s also worth checking out your local establishments.
“Most villages have a good school,” says William Morrison, a partner at Knight Frank in Exeter.
“And most market towns have a good secondary school.”
Moving on to talk about property prices, Mr Morrison reveals that a 2-3 bed thatched cottage with a garden will cost around £350-£450,000 while a 4-bed family home with a paddock is usually around £550-£650,000. The best value for money is found on houses costing more than £1 million with a large rectory at around £1.5 million.
“The market took a beating from the very top,” he says.
“There are some very good deals to be had out there.”