‘We moved to Devon and it was a nightmare – locals made us feel so unwelcome’

A couple has shared their unfortunate experience of moving to North Devon, revealing the shocking behaviour they faced, including “petty meanness” and “exclusive localism”, which they say ruined their stay.

They claim they were constantly reminded that they were outsiders and made to feel like “aliens”, despite their dreams of a peaceful life in a beautiful part of the world. They also didn’t hold back in their harsh criticism of the local youth and parents.

The couple, who prefer to stay anonymous, have since moved away and confess they haven’t looked back.

The couple relocated to South Molton, on the edge of Exmoor in North Devon, in November 2017. At first, the couple spent their first two years there busy.

And just as they started to have more free time, the Covid pandemic hit the world, reports Devon Live.

Here, the couple explained what happened next.

They wrote: “However, notwithstanding both of those circumstances, we were surprised and disappointed at just how insular life in North Devon generally and South Molton in particular would turn out to be.

“We both worked in caring environments either in the NHS or social care and worked throughout the pandemic looking after vulnerable people. But despite this we realised very quickly that we were outsiders and that locals would take every opportunity to remind us of that, whether it was relevant or not.

“Standing back, we found we had a lovely home in a small, thriving market town surrounded by lovely countryside. Life should be idyllic. But we were aliens.”

They continued: “Not only did people remind us of our “outsider” status all the time but they behaved differently towards outsiders. We soon discovered that some tradesmen even charged us more than they did locals for the same things.

“It is quite unnerving to find that whilst colleagues would go so far as saying hello and explaining something you needed to know, they would completely exclude you from casual conversations and even turn their backs if you attempted to engage. It also became clear that everything undesirable was blamed on outsiders:”

They described how their children were unable to afford to buy in the area due to the prices rising.

They said: “The indigenous population have a culture of blaming outsiders for everything but the reality is that this is simply bigotry perpetuated within a mean-spirited culture.

“We came across significant racism, homophobia, exclusive localism and petty meanness which was once common in many remote, rural areas but others have grown and developed and become enriched by the diversity and broadmindedness of their peoples whereas many in North Devon hold on to their archaic culture but complain about how impoverished they are.

“The young people have nothing to occupy or interest them but are culturally prevented from experiencing a wider world view.”

They concluded: “North Devon is beautiful but it can be very depressing because of the attitude of the local people.

“Early in 2024 we moved from North Devon. We did not look back.”

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