Top 10 things to consider when relocating to Devon or Cornwall

Top 10 things to consider when relocating to Devon or Cornwall

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture West Country Life

What exactly is it you’re looking for?

It seems like an obvious and simple place to start; if you’re looking to move to the West Country, do you know exactly what it is you’re looking for?

This is sometimes a question you may already know the answer to.  For example, you need a four-bedroom house, something with a little land and open space for the kids, something that’s rural, but still has local amenities and facilities on your doorstep.

Write down your list of requirements, and make sure you know which are your priorities.

Rural or Community Based?

If you’re currently living in an urban or city area, do you know how rural you want to go? Whilst the peace and quiet of an isolated farmhouse may seem like bliss to many, will you miss the convenience and company of the urban scene?

How much land?

The amount of land you need can have a real impact on cost and is therefore a vital consideration.

Have you given thought as to what you’re looking to achieve from your land, the scale on which you’re looking to do that, and also whether you currently have the knowledge to implement your ideas?

Local Schools?

A large number of families move to the West Country each and every year.  A key decision for every family to make and research is the quality of local schools.  Whilst 85% of schools in Devon are considered to be ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED, you’ll want to find the right fit for your children, as well as working out the school run on those rural roads!

Things to see and do in the local area

What do you do in your spare time? Where do you take the children during school holidays? Every area of Devon and Cornwall has something very different to offer; are you keen hikers or more likely to be found in the sea enjoying the surf whenever you can?

Whichever you are, always remember that your home is the property you’re buying, and also the lifestyle and everything that comes with and around it.

Road links to your potential home

The school run, the local amenities and places you’ll find; local roads impact them all.  Always take a look at local road systems; are you going to be spending your time on a dual carriageway, or on windy country lanes? What impact does this have on your lifestyle and your ease of getting to where you need or want to be?

Is the property value for money?

Property markets vary in every region of the UK; In Devon £1m will get you a four bedroom period property with five holiday cottages, and 4.5 acres of land.

The same money in London will get you a two bedroom apartment a stones throw away from Battersea Power Station.

Knowing and understanding the local market is essential in making sure you know how far your money goes, and whether you can be extending that list of priorities we mentioned at the start of this post, or pruning them!

Researching the local area

There’s an old adage that before you buy a property you should visit it a few times on different days and at different times, maybe even in different weathers, to get a true feel for all of the factors you should be considering.

If you live a long way from the potential property, how are you going to do this? How are you intending on finding out about any niggling problems that may exist?

How will you find time to manage the process?

How do you fit this in with the day job? Can you fit this into the day job?

If not, this leads us nicely onto our final point….

Do you need help?

Most of the points above come down to research, and simply knowing the lay of the local land.  This is where we aim to help those relocating.  We have the knowledge of the local area, we understand agriculture, and we’ve also done it ourselves.  We’re here to help you make sure that your dream move becomes a reality.

Buying land or a smallholding in the West Country? The benefits of using a local expert

Buying land or a smallholding in the West Country? The benefits of using a local expert

Buying property with land West Country Properties

If you’re looking to relocate to the South West and buy a smallholding, farm or property with land you’ll have plenty to think about.  Having taken your journey (from a 240 acre beef farm 40 minutes from London to our 350 acre farm on the edge of Dartmoor where we live today) with my husband and children a little over 10 years ago, I wanted to take a look at some of the issues we faced and how a local expert could have helped us throughout the process.

Are you fully up to speed with agriculture or farming?

Many of the people moving to the South West looking for their own slice of the rural dream won’t be coming from a farming background, and may not have any experience at all.

With our experience in agriculture (my husband is a qualified agricultural lecturer and has been farming for decades), we’re able to help those people looking to take the plunge into the good life and explain any pitfalls they mightn’t of thought of, and find the opportunities they otherwise may not have.

Do you know exactly what you need, or indeed, what you’re looking for?

If you’re not familiar with farming, do you know what you’re looking for and where you should be looking? Smallholdings differ significantly from farms, as do properties with land.  The type of land will also depend on the type of livestock you’ll be keeping on it; will it be sheep? Cattle? Or even Alpacas?

We’re able to guide you, set criteria for your search and find the perfect land for your objectives.

Time – where do you find it?

It takes time to move and it definitely takes time to make sure you get it right.  With the property market being as competitive as it is in the South West you can benefit from someone being consistently on the case for you; making sure you’re one of the first to see those perfect finds coming on to the market, rather than the last.

Moving to a new area – how do you know the lay of the land?

Devon and Cornwall are massive areas, each with many unique spots on which you could lay your agricultural cap.  We’ve been living and farming in the area for more than 10 years; we know the areas you should be looking at, and also the ones that wouldn’t be right for you.

When you live a distance from your search tapping into local knowledge is vital.

How do you rule out options when viewings are a real time commitment?

Viewings, when they’re near to where you already live aren’t a problem, but what if you’re currently living more than 200 miles away from the West Country?  View the wrong places and you could give up a whole weekend and a lot of money.

We’re able to pre-vet properties, making sure you’re not racking up miles you don’t need to.  We can also arrange the viewing day for you, allowing you to see the very best there is to offer in one single trip; something we would have loved during our many long trips in the car!

Lower your stress levels!

This may be the biggest move of your life; it will be stressful but we can help you get to where you want to be going, provide you with the support you need to find the best possible option, and to enjoy your new life in the South West.

Why buy a smallholding in Devon?

Why buy a smallholding in Devon?

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture West Country Life West Country Properties

With more and more people looking to move to the South West of England and enjoy all of the benefits of the rural lifestyle, we take a look at why people are taking the plunge and buying a smallholding or farm, and really living the West Country Dream!

Key Facts about where we live:

  • 18% (some 9.3 million people) now live in areas of the UK officially classified as rural.
  • More than half of those living in a rural area are over 45 years old.
  • Property prices are on the up in the South West, having risen by a reported 5% in the past year.

What you get when you get here:

  • Beautiful Coastlines; 450 miles of coastline to be precise!
  • A healthy lifestyle; 81% of people in Devon are classified as being in very good or good health.
  • Quality schools; 85% of schools in Devon are rated as ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED.

A recent survey conducted by Country Life Magazine ranked Devon as the best place to live in the entire UK.  With more than 22,000 people moving to rural areas of the UK each and every year it appears plenty of us agree with their findings!

What can you get for your money?

We’ve taken a look at just how far £1,000,000 will get you in the South West of England and compared it to the London property market.  You may be surprised at the difference between the two; the South West looks like great value!

What you get for £1m in London

  • 2 bedroom apartment
  • 660sq.ft of internal floor space
  • A stones throw from Battersea Power Station

What you get for £1m in Devon

  • 4 bedroom Grade II Listed 16th Century Property
  • 5 holiday cottages
  • 4.5 acres of land

For more information on how West Country Dream can help you realise your dream of moving to a smallholding, farm or property with land in the South West of England please take a look around our site or call Helen Garrett on 07816 514667.

West Country Dream helps those seeking rural life

West Country Dream helps those seeking rural life

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture West Country Life West Country Properties

A husband and wife team are using their extensive knowledge of agriculture to provide those looking for their own slice of the West Country dream a unique opportunity to see exactly what they’ll be getting.

West Country Dream, set up by Helen and Murray Garrett, brings together a unique combination of a farm, self-catering cottage and a number of agricultural courses for those considering moving to the region in the hunt for the good life.

Helen explained, “Around 10 years ago we took the decision to relocate to the South West from our farm in the Home Counties. This process took over a year to complete, involved hundreds of miles of travelling as well as a number of logistical hurdles and headaches. We know that many people look to move to the South West, whether they are already in agriculture or looking to purchase their first smallholding, and we wanted to make this process easier and simpler for them to achieve.”

The business offers a complete property search and selection service, calling upon their own farming experience in identifying the best-suited smallholdings and property with land on the market.

Helen continued, “There are three things we want to help reduce for those looking to relocate; mileage, time and stress. By ensuring we’ve already seen the properties before our clients’ visit we can make sure that they’ll only view ones that could be the perfect home.”

Those on the hunt for rural property with West Country Dream won’t be left in the local hotel; the business has a self-catering holiday cottage on their farm and encourages those looking to test the water to enjoy one of their taster packages.

“We realise that not everyone looking to find a smallholding in the South West will already have farming knowledge. With the holiday cottage on site and Murray’s experience as a qualified agricultural lecturer we thought it was the ideal opportunity to give people the chance to get involved with farming life and learn at the same time.”

For more information about West Country Dream please call Helen Garrett on 07816 514667

Top tips to consider before relocating to the South West

Top tips to consider before relocating to the South West

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture West Country Life

So many people often dream about relocating to the West Country, but when considering a relocation of this type there’s a huge amount of research required to ensure you find your perfect new home.  Location surely has to be the top criteria for research so here are a few tips on what to consider when seriously contemplating a move.

Community or rural

So you’re looking for a rural retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of City life and surrounded by lots of open space and fresh air…

This is a really serious point to consider – rural in the South West can mean long journeys down single track roads with a few bleating sheep as neighbours – heaven for a week’s holiday perhaps, but make sure that it really is your dream


Driving in the West Country is very different to a trip around the M25.  Be prepared for single track roads, mud, cows, an infuriating lack of signposts and the ultimate challenge for Satnavs, but in return you’ll be lucky enough to enjoy the most fantastic views for miles and miles and certainly a lot less traffic!


Devon itself is a huge area – understand which parts you like and why? If you’re unsure do your research and get advice – towns, fishing villages, seaside resorts can all be beautiful on a glorious summers day  – but what’s the reality in winter?

There are plenty of organisations like; ourselves, local councils and town and tourism websites who all provide great resources for anyone looking to move to the area.

For more information about moving to Devon or Cornwall please give Helen a call on 07816 514667 or visit our contact page.

How many acres

How many acres

Buying property with land

Acres and acres of lush green pasture – quite a common sight in rural Devon but how many acres are enough?

To many ‘generation’ farmers the chance to increase the size of the ‘family’ farm very rarely warrants discussion – the option to purchase neighbouring acres when the opportunity arises is pretty much a given – although not always the price, as I read the front cover of South West Farmer I see that farmland values have just topped £10,000 per acre for the first time ever in the second quarter of 2014 (ref: Smiths Gore)

So how about newcomers wanting to set up their very first small-holding how many acres do they need? For a lot of non-farming people the ability to comprehend the space an acre covers can be difficult. Our advice here at West Country Dream is to make sure you’re clear on exactly what the land will be used for – whether it’s a flock of fifty sheep, a couple of pigs or just the average chicken coop and a goat, the use and type of land needed for each, will be different in every case, so take advice and make sure every penny counts when it comes to your new life in the country.

Land of opportunity

Land of opportunity

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture

As I watch the evening news only to hear that the West Country is currently un-commutable by train due to the relentless weather taking its toll on the Great Western Railway line and despite all the right noises coming out of Westminster regarding the positive economic turn for the country, sometimes it’s difficult to see tangible positive proof of this when living in a rural community, with the ongoing day to day rising living costs of food, both human and animal as well as diesel and petrol.

So, it was rather pleasing to read a recent article in the Farmers Weekly reporting an 11% rise in the average price of English farmland during 2013 to a record £6,882 per acre according to Knight Frank’s Farmland Index and even more cheering, the fact that farmland has increased in value by 210% over the past ten years and is only marginally behind the 223% change in the price of gold. So although we may feel cut off at the moment I look out at the beautiful Dartmoor view with a reminder of the saying ‘there’s gold in them there hills’ well at least a hint of positivity anyway for the land and farm market in the year ahead.