Top places to live in Devon South Molton
Craving an outdoorsy life but don't want to be driving miles to get to the nearest shops and supermarket? South Molton and its surrounding villages could be for you, especially if you can't decide between beach, walks and moors. It's got it all on the doorstep. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
It’s a classic market town on the edge of Exmoor National Park dating black to Saxon times. The area is rural and unspoilt but the town’s got a busy market square and a popular twice weekly pannier market, a Sainsbury’s supermarket, cottage hospital and a swimming pool.
Yes, you’re going to be in the car more here with your nearest town Barnstaple 12 miles away and the cathedral city of Exeter, 33 miles down the North Devon link road, but if you’re after great value for money, an outdoorsy lifestyle, with horse riding, walking, cycling, golf and fishing, and 90 miles of stunning south west coast path, South Molton and its surrounding villages, including Chittlehampton, could well be your place.
The Cheese Larder (amazing home-made brownies), a modern Med cafe and eatery, Zest, plus the award-winning Mason Arms is just 9 miles away at Knowstone. You can do a chocolate-making workshop with the Swiss-trained Carlo of Melchior Chocolates (and buy yummy handmade chocs).
It’s bustling, especially when the twice-weekly pannier market is on (excellent local produce), with a good range of shops around the unspoilt market square, including a butchers and bakery. Muddy always pops into the indie boutique, Paula and Julie, for a trawl through the rails, and we’ve recently discovered Source for the Goose, good for a vintage rummage and Annie Sloan chalk paints. There’s a regular flea market where you can rummage for vintage clothes, kitchenalia and retro finds, and the organic emporium, Griffins Yard, where you can grab a good coffee and stock up on eco health and homewares.
For kids, there’s the buzz of Quince Honey Farm with its hives and honey and the black leopards at Exmoor Zoo, while you may prefer a gander at the National Trust’s Arlington Court, with its gardens and fascinating carriage museum.
If you want to recce the area – or if you just fancy a relaxing stay with Exmoor stomps on your doostep – we recommend Heasley House. It’s laidback posh and dog-friendly, with amazing food and a family feel.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
Good value for money, and more bang for your buck than nearby Croyde. Expect to pay £295k and upwards for a new detached 4-bed but more like £600k and up for a period property with land for a family. Good local estate agents include Webbers and Stags.
The Muddy-reviewed West Buckland, a high-performing co-ed day and boarding school for 3 -1 8 year-olds, short-listed for Boarding School of the Year in 2020 by Independent School Magazine which has excellent links with the community. It has fourteen bus routes covering the area up to the coast, including from North Molton 3 miles away. Kingsley School at Bideford (Muddy review here) small, single campus co-ed Boarding and Day school for kids aged 3-18 with a bus running daily from North Molton. The academically strong and sporty Blundells 19 miles away at Tiverton has a daily bus route which picks up from South Molton.
BEST KEPT SECRET
Bamfylde, the fictional independent school in R.F. Delderfield’s 70s novel To Serve them All My Days was based on the novelist’s own school of West Buckland.
The A361 North Devon link road bypasses the town for access to Barnstaple to the west and Tiverton and M5 at Junction 27 to the east where Tiverton Parkway Station provides a rail link to London Paddington, 2 hours 20 mins away.
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