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Moving to Devon!

its time to retire! I’m just turned 63 so Lea and I have decide to do it. We have watched escape to the country till we can recite the dialogue. 

We we need to be able to return to Kent on a regular basis for the first year or two. So we have been looking at the area around Honiton/Blackdown Hills. (3.5 hour drive back to watch over businesses and see friends) We go down to Devon to investigate when we can. This year has been anything but easy, but along with everyone else we have made the best of it. But what we would like to know is a little about the climate and what grows well. Areas of difficulty. Soil issues. We will find out soon enough but it’s exciting to hear what all of you down there already know. 


  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,145
    Congratulations on your retirement, my OH has just retired, was 60 this year.
    We live in West Devon so I don’t really  know what the soil’s like up in  Honiton, if it’s like Exeter is dark red and very do-able. 
    I think there are a couple of people on here from that area. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Forester_PeteForester_Pete DevonPosts: 152
    Mild, wet and windy is my experience of Devon so far. But would not be anywhere else. Am looking forward to my first proper growing season in 2021 having got that bit of the garden in some order this year.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,145
    @Forester_Pete. Me neither Pete. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,336
    South is mild with fertile red sandstone soils. East gets into chalk and limestone. Anywhere that faces west/south west will be wet and windy. If it's high up in the hills it can be coldish but generally cold winds rather than hard frosts. Be careful looking on the Blackdowns that you are aware of the Somerset Levels and the worst areas for flooding.

    We are in the northeast corner of Devon, (north and west of the Blackdowns and Honiton) on a complicated bit of geology between the Culm Measures (poor soil), a very hard type of sandstone (Exmoor stone) and some better loamy soils. There's no limestone here so our soil is acidic. A few miles away its that rich red sandstone soil. 

    Devon is a big county - it varies a lot.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • DevonianDevonian DevonPosts: 175
    All the best with your move, a great choice! I'd echo what others have said that it varies hugely. For the most part of lowland Devon we receive average rainfall for the UK or a bit below and well above average sunshine. Combined with mild climate (especially near coast) the growing conditions are ideal for green fingered inhabitants! 

    You can find maps of soil type with a bit of Googling but yes best advice is to take a look at surrounding gardens. Could also be worth a visit to good local garden centres too.

    Here in South Devon, plants such as agapanthus grow voraciously - always makes me chuckle how some gardening sites recommend cosseting agapanthus like a pampered pet... One guy down the road from where I live has a bank covered in them (evergreen variety), and every autumn he strims the lot right down, and they just grow straight back as vigorously as ever!

    A great opportunity for you to experiment! Enjoy...
  • SuesynSuesyn South Somerset Posts: 614
    We are in Somerset, not far from the levels, our weather is generally wet and mild. The soil in our village is pretty solid clay but half a mile down the hill where our allotment is there is a band of "greensand" which is much lighter.
    I would suggest you find the house and area that you like and work with the garden that you get.
    Good luck with the search! 
  • ErgatesErgates Devon, east of ExeterPosts: 2,047
    We are in East Devon, the other side of Ottery St Mary from Honiton. Love it here, quick drive to the sea, easy hop into Exeter for shopping trips, plus transport links via M5, A30 and trains.
    As others have said, it tends to be mild and damp here. We have acidic soil, so since we moved here, I’ve been able to indulge my love of camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. If I’m planning new plants, I tend to walk round the neighbourhood and see what seems to be thriving in the local gardens. 
    Worth checking what the underlying geography is like. We live over prehistoric pebblebeds, remnants of when this area was an ancient seabed. Dig down a few feet in the garden, and we hit ‘pobbles’, big round sandstone pebbles, some as big as your head. Can be restrictive if you were planning major landscaping! 
    Wonderful area though, very pleased we moved here 16 years ago, and would be reluctant to leave.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,145
    I wouldn’t live anywhere else either,  I love my acid soil,  admittedly we have boulders if we dig too deep, have made a dry stone wall from them
    I’ve been here 35 years OH born a few miles from here. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • I love living in Devon moved from the midlands thirty plus years ago now live on the fringes of Exeter. 
    It will depend on what area you move to regarding soil and weather conditions, I can leave Dahlias in the soil over winter where I couldn’t back up country and sometimes even geraniums will survive.
    The Devonian people are pretty special as well so welcoming.
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