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Exmouth and Dartmouth are among best places to live in south west

Exmouth beach (image courtesy: Radio Exe)

Sunday Times not that impressed with Bristol though

Two Devon towns have made it into the Sunday Times annual survey of best places to live in the south west.

The newspaper's judges are fans of Dartmouth and Exmouth, but not of Bristol, which has dropped out of the list for the first time in the 12 years since it has been published. They condemn the city's "ruthless property market and gruelling public transport system." 

But Dartmouth and Exmouth have little to fear from the icy pens of the paper's pundits.

Of Dartmouth they say: "Unlike some of its South Hams' neighbours, this atmospheric nautical town is no one-season holiday wonder. There are sparkling views of the water at every turn and nearly 3,000 moorings for sailors, as well as food and music festivals, allotments and sports clubs.

"The Flavel Arts Centre, run by volunteers, is a highlight. This busy community hub shows films, plays and concerts and offers a supportive home for choirs and youth groups. 

Exmouth is damned by faint praise in one respect. The Sunday Times claims: "No longer a last resort for OAPs."

For a town with Europe's largest school, that's quite a claim.

More positively, they say: "Exmouth is filling up fast with a younger crowd, attracted by trains to Exeter, east Devon’s only naturally sandy beach and homes to suit every rung of the property ladder.

"Key to the town’s improvement is Sideshore, a sustainable watersports complex on the prom that opened during the pandemic and is an object lesson in how to revitalise seaside resorts with style. 

They believe Sherborne in Dorset is the best place to live in the south west, saying: "Sherborne is handsome and historic, but it’s the friendly, energetic population that really makes it stand out.

"There are more than 200 community groups covering every conceivable interest, while the opening of Sherborne House as a high-end arts and community centre later this spring will add extra cachet to a town that already has a perceptible spring in its step.” 
 Apart from the winner, places are not ranked, but published in alphabetical order. They are:

 
·       Sherborne, Dorset 
·       Cirencester, Gloucestershire 
·       Clevedon, Somerset 
·       Dartmouth, Devon 
·       Exmouth, Devon 
·       Falmouth, Cornwall 
·       Isle of Purbeck, Dorset 
·       Tisbury, Wiltshire 
 
Helen Davies, editorial projects director and Best Places to Live editor, says: “These are all places where you can feel grounded as well as upwardly mobile: they have a mature sense of community, lively, supportive high streets and an eye to the future, whether that is eco-friendly measures, transport and regeneration, or imaginative inclusion of new housing.” 
 
The judges visited all the locations and assessed factors from schools to transport, broadband speeds to culture, as well as access to green spaces and the health of the high street. 

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