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Moving to Cornwall

After over three years of planning to move to Cornwall (from Kent), we have well and truly decided we are not buying a house there. It is simply too expensive – ridiculously so if you’re after an old place with beams and inglenooks like I am. (Not so bad if you’re after a new build). Our problem is we need somewhere big enough for two of us to work from home. Anyway, after so long researching and house-hunting, I can offer a bit of advice if you’re planning on relocating to Cornwall and aren’t sure of areas.

We were looking within a 10 mile radius of Mitchell; a village bang in between Newquay and Truro. We chose there for several reasons – the main one being the ofsted reports on secondary schools. Elsewhere in the county they just don’t come up to scratch. Therefore prices are severely effected by catchment areas. This is mostly so of St Austell where you have one very good school and one blimmin’ awful school. E-mail the county council and they’ll kindly send you maps showing the vital red lines. And they go in strange directions too – the amount of times I thought I’d finally found a house big enough and that we could afford, only to find it was outside the catchment area. It may in fact be easier to move after your kids are 11 because although Richard Lander School in Truro is usually over-subscribed for the start of yr7; when I last checked, three spaces had become available.

Really, if you’re not near Truro, you’re not near anywhere in Cornwall. It’s the only place with the facilities you really need for a family and certainly if you want a job in the county. It’s a very nice city; apart from the traffic, which I suppose is what you’d expect. We subscribed to the paper for some time, and crime is so low, they actually report when a car wing mirror has been knocked off! Good shops; good big supermarkets; good schools (though watch out for the not-so-good primary on the East side of the city); a college with good facilities; a leisure centre (though we’ve never tried that one out); a theatre, small cinema and enough pubs and restaurants.

Newquay has a much nicer feel. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and of-course the surf is first class. The only down-side is that you have to put up with the summer tourists. I wouldn’t buy any of the Victorian terraced houses because half of them are B&Bs for the stag and hen nights and I doubt you’d get a good night’s sleep at weekends. Alcohol induced crime is higher here, but the council are very good at dealing with it. Extra police wonder the streets in summer and the litter and mess is cleaned up before the shops open the next morning. Burglary and more serious crimes are much lower than national averages. Good schools; shopping is limited to either cool surfy clothes or market-style chavvy shops, though it does have an excellent Woolworths; good swimming pool; good skate park and lovely beaches.

Redruth is not a particularly desirable area, with high unemployment and high teenage pregnancies, but once you’re up to St Ives, prices go up again due to the artistic desirability and good surfing (Can’t remember what the school was like there though). Any further west and unfortunately you’re just too far from anything apart from the sea. It’s so pretty, but you’d need to travel an hour round tiny roads for a WH Smith. Or even a post office these days.

Falmouth. We never seriously considered here. Although it attracts up-market tourists for the water sports; out of season the area is a little down-class. (Sorry to sound snobby, bit these are the things people want to know when they’re moving). The secondary schools aren’t great and I gather there’s a problem with teenagers with nothing to do. There’s a leisure centre with a good play-pool, but it shuts ridiculously early – I think it was about 6 or 7pm when we went.

We found lots of lovely areas to live, but with something practical wrong with them for families. Eg. Camelford looked really nice, but for a decent 6th form or college you had to travel right the way down to the south coast. We nearly bought in Perranwell Station, but although outside the catchment area, most kids went to Richard Lander school, which was great till we discovered they catch the bus at 7:30am to get there. If you’re not too fussy about the style of the house, I would recommend buying in a village between Newquay and Truro; we didn’t find one that we weren’t happy with. Mitchell, Summercourt, Quintrell Downs, Shortlanesend, Threemilestone, Goonhavern are all well placed and reasonably priced and we were happy to live there. You do have to be prepared to drive a lot, just like you would I suppose with any village. I never came to a conclusion on St Columb, St Columb Major and Fraddon. They seemed fine on the surface, but I’m sure there must be a reason why houses were so much cheaper there!

Unless you’re a millionaire or are happy to stand at a certain angle on one leg on the toilet; don’t expect a sea-view anywhere in Cornwall.

I hope I have been of assistance.

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11 Comments

Martin Stone

Hi, can i say firstly that i found your article very interesting. We are thinking of moving down to the Truro area and i wondered if you could give us any insight into the job situation. Funds should enable me to work at worst on the minimum wage and my partner Mandy has good sales/secretarial skills. Any info would be welcome.

Martin.

Reply

Helen

Hi! I don’t think Mandy will have a problem with secretarial and sales skills in Truro, and if you move now; you’re just in time for seasonal work; of which there are loads; tourist attractions; hotel work etc. Next autumn there’ll be more competition for jobs, but you’ll be looking in the right place. Elsewhere in Cornwall, jobs are thin on the ground.
Have a look at the Cornish Guardian website; all the jobs are advertised on there.
Oh, also; be prepared for lower wages in Cornwall. However, life generally costs less there too. (especially we found, children’s clubs; swimming/dancing etc cost a lot less in Cornwall.
Good luck with your move!

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Yvonne Elder

I live in Cornwall have a job I love and a house I can afford in Pensilva on the edge of Bodmin Moor but only 17 miles from Plymouth. I have raised two lovely daughters here. The schools in Pensilva and Liskeard are very good and both went to University. Ofsted reports dont always tell you what you want to know and Truro absolutely IS NOT the only place to be in Cornwall.P.S: I moved here from Berkshire.

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gloria

I’ve lived in Cornwall for 40 years and wouldn’t be anywhere else; find out more about what it’s like n the inside from my website.

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Jo

Hi, found info really useful, we are relocation to Cornwall soon and have seen a lovely house in Penwithick, 2 miles from Eden Project. Do you know anything about this area. Really confusedaboyt area\’s as so many people say such different things. We have a 9 year old daughter so schools are really important too. Any advice will be great. I will be working around Truro, St Austell & Newquay.

Reply

Helen

Sorry for taking so long in approving and replying to your comment. I don’t know so much about that area to be honest. I remember looking at a lovely house on the internet in Penwithick too! I think we discounted it because it was catchment area for the secondary school at St Austell, and that didn’t have a good Ofsted report. I wouldn’t judge it on that now – you have to visit the school yourself and talk to the kids. My daughter’s secondary school in Tonbridge (Hillview) had an outstanding Ofsted and I wasn’t impressed with it at all.
Also, St Austell was being regenerated at the time we looked at it, which was now now more than 2 years ago. I don’t know what it is like now, but the local papers at the time talked about the fact that this was taking too long. It seemed like a nice town though. If you’re working in Newquay, bear in mind it’s quite a slow windy journey from Penwithick to the A30 (if I remember rightly) and in summer that will take extra time. I’m sure locals will tell you ways to avoid the tourist traffic.
Good luck with the move!

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maria beach

i really have to differ on the ‘move to truro or yr not near anything’ front. firstly, we are moving tot eh village of downderry this june from essex with 4 kids in tow and we arent mega bucks rich, however the rent in cornwall is way more affordable than it is here and u get loads morefor yr money. the village has less than 1000 residents yet we have a beach, school, docs, pub, restuarant etc plus an absence of tourist, yet yr 4 miles from looe which has its little high street, 10miles from liskeard which has tesco and morrisons plus a high street and most importantly 10 min dirve to torpoint ferry to plymouth which has EVERYTHING. also areas such as hayle/cambourne/redruth, st austell and newquay have all the major supermarkets, perfect little high streets and really the best of both worlds because in the surrounding villages and particularly in hayle itself u do get the distinct feeling yr in a little seaside community and out of the ratrace

Reply

Helen

Hi – thank you for your comment about moving to Downderry. I hope I haven’t offended people with my comment about needing to be near Truro – I didn’t mean to and we travel all round Cornwall when we go on holiday there and love loads of other areas. Since moving from Tonbridge in Kent, I realise how spoiled we were in terms of being near the type of facilites we enjoyed using. My main criteria for choosing an area to live was good schools and being close to places we used often. In my original post I probably should have been less general and made it clear that my opinions were based solely on what suited me and my family, and not necessarily everyone else.
Not so much lately, but then my kids did many after-school clubs, went to the library often and swimming most weekends. Several supermarkets, performing arts clubs, sports clubs, parks, schools including 6th forms, college, leisure centres were all available to me within a 5 mile radius. Having been used to that luxury for 30 years, I would find it much too difficult to suddenly change to travelling much further for these kind of things. For me, 10 miles to the nearest major supermarket is too far.
So, having defended myself(!) I’d like to say, it sounds like you’ve found a gem in Downderry. I haven’t been there, but a village with all those things are rare these days. I’m very happy since moving to Somerset, but I still get a little jealous of people moving to Cornwall! Good luck!

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Helen

Hi – I am not sure if you are still checking this and replying as the last reply was in 2011, me and my husband desperately want to move to Cornwall, we have had holidays there for many years and really want to change our lives and move from Nottingham to somewhere near Newquay. we dont have any children so we would only have ourselfs to support, we would want to rent not buy so there is not so much pressure. My main worry is jobs and being accepted, i have heard stories about locals not accepting outsiders. Is this really the case or just people just trying to wind me up 🙂

Reply

Helen

Hi! It has now been more than three years since looking into moving to Cornwall, so I really can’t advise on the job situation, particularly as the recession wasn’t happening then. Look online at the Cornish Guardian website at the jobs available.
As far as being accepted; I really don’t think you have to worry. The number of people with Cornish accents are far outnumbered by those who don’t. In fact, you are more likely to find that people are far friendlier in Cornwall. There were also rumours about moving to a Somerset village, but we’ve been nothing but welcomed here.
Good luck with the move!

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Helen

Thanks for your advice, its much appreciated.

Reply

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