Devon is known for its uniquely pretty towns and villages – but behind the fabulous facades, not all is as it seems, according to the people who live in them.
Colleen Smith www.devonlive.com
The brutally honest and sometimes downright nasty reviews have appeared on iLiveHere.co.uk, a website which accepts reader submissions about what they think of the places where they live.
The funniest are tongue in cheek references which contain a few home truth bells among us true locals.
Although none of the top ten 10 worst places to live in the UK are in Devon, these surprising nine Devon towns have been brutally savaged by locals who are not afraid take aim and expose the worst flaws for all to see.
Let’s have a look at the harshest (and very unfair) comments thrown at some of our favourite Devon towns…
NORTH DEVON: Watch out for all the Karens on tour
A sunny day in Ilfracombe, sent in by Jules Florence (Image: North Devon Journal)
A certain sort of holidaymaker is making life unbearable for anybody without pots of money according to the brutal reviews about life in North Devon. The Karens are popping up everywhere it seems:
- “There are Karens walking with no masks on and complaining about the peasants staying next door to them.”
- “The Karens’ pets have pooped all over the beach.”
- “And Karens have even been blamed to deaths on the coast path: “Do not think about the South West Coast path!! Karens have to burn off the Italian food and booze, so they need to jog and they don’t care if you’re in the way… and you thought people just fell off the cliffs. Lol”
Anybody earning under £30k should avoid moving to the area the harsh review adds: “Karen’s will constantly belittle you for being renters.”
And the new review concludes: “How about a campsite? Maybe, but the elite will leave no room for your pitiful 4-man tent, as they park a caravan the size of Cargo plane right next to you.
“To think I looked down on Skegvegas and Mablethorpe in my youth. I would much prefer to be there now.”
APPLEDORE: Not nearly as magical as its Harry Potter name
Appledore Quay (Image: Stephen McKay/Geograph)
Harry Potter fans who are drawn to Appledore by the mystical sounding name should remember that Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is a fictional character.
This review is written by a couple who have lived in the town for four years and said they were “were attracted to Appledore by its magical name.”
They added: “After living in this remote outpost for near on four years however, I can safely confirm that this North Devon realm is about as mystical as a pitbull’s ****.
“Just don’t go, that’s all. If you want a Harry Potter world, either go to Harry Potter World or stalk Daniel Radcliffe or that girl who plays Hermoine.”
LANDKEY: It might as well be 500 years ago
Landkey views towards the Tarka Trail
This local reviewer said: “I came to Devon to enjoy life and have fun and must be off my head to have gone with Landkey.”
Although the town is only a few miles out of Barnstaple “it might as well be 500 years ago in feudal times, because the reality of one of the small minded locals coming at you with a pitch fork is very real.
“You can’t fart without someone having an opinion on it. Don’t whatever you do think it’s acceptable to have fun and let fireworks off or anything, because they will all take to their whingeing and moaning.
“This place is in the dark ages with all its gossiping and small minded rubbish. Every public building in Landkey where locals are allowed to gather should be avoided. They steal your soul. It’s a depressing festering place. Run now.”
COMBE MARTIN: The Camberwickerman Green Village
Watermouth Cove between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin (Image: Andrew Bone)
A cross between children’s TV’s Camberwick Green and the 1970s British cult folk horror film The Wicker Man is how Combe Martin is described: “For those that didn’t know, Combe Martin locals walk just like the Camberwick Green puppets.
“‘Combe Martians’, as they call the locals, are straight out of The Wicker Man film with a bit of Camberwick Green. There’s Mrs Dingle, and Roger Varley; loads of Mrs Honeymans plus loads of Windy Millers. It’s not funny, Combe Martin’s terrifying; every year hordes of drunken pagans come down from the hills and go marching up and down the street, banging drums all night.
“Other times, crowds of weirdos regularly gather to chant on the nearby beacons at sunset, and frighten the seagulls.”
DAWLISH WARREN: Also known as Watership Downer
Storm clouds over Dawlish Warren (Image: Tracey Bosworth)
“Dawlish Warren is marketed by the tourist board as a traditional seaside resort for family, fun holidays. They haven’t visited in the past 20 years evidently, and failed to notice it is really Royston Vasey in disguise. I swear the League of Gentlemen was inspired by this place.
“Dawlish Warren represents everything that is wrong with UK seaside resorts, all rolled into one.”
“In the summer it is full of the cast of Shameless, all squashed 16 deep into self catering caravans screeching at their offspring and eating as many calories as they can cram into their fat faces on the way to the beach.”
This Dawlish Warren review is so vindictive that the Editor of ILiveHere.Co.uk has removed personal comments about local pubs and shop staff saying: “Lots of things about the person’s alleged resemblance to a TV character we can’t repeat.”
OKEHAMPTON: Avoid becoming an Okehamptonite at all costs
Okehampton town centre (Image: Google)
“Passing through Okehampton during the day, in a car, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a normal market town on the edge of Dartmoor. You would be very, very wrong. Okehampton is a town truly rotten to the core.
“Often over looked by the outside world due to it’s location and lack of any thing good there. This is the curse of Okehampton. Too small to be noticed, too big to be destroyed without anyone noticing.”
The reviewer gives ‘things to do’ advice for anybody who fails to flee and becomes an Okehamptonite.
The nightclub Nero’s is Okehamptons premier (only) after 11 drinking hole: “Mix all this booze and squadies from Okehampton’s army camp in side a 30-foot square box and you have a nightmare comparable only to an Alfred Hitchcock film.”
Simmons Park: The reviewer says that this ‘oasis of green’ is sadly no escape: “Any attempts by the council to make the park or indeed any place in Okehampton better are met with the same trademark response from the town DESTROY, DESTROY, DESTROY.”
PAIGNTON: Brush up your Strictly dance moves
The decline of Crossways in Paignton
This review urges anybody who is about to walk through Paignton that “a stint on Strictly would help”.
“When strolling through the town, I find a quickstep will ease you past the usual ne’er-do-wells.”
The paso doble will assist in avoiding dog dirt on the pavements and the samba is recommended “when queuing in shops to stop pickpockets helping themselves”.
If you don’t believe the reviewer he says to look no further than the notorious, totally empty Crossways shopping centre. Which is fair.
SOUTH MOLTON: The town square is a traffic island
The Square in South Molton
Allegedly it has “the smallest Sainsburys” and the “cruddiest” market in the SW.
“Once or twice a year a few locals dress up as Victorian peasants rather than 21st century peasants and hang around the ‘square’ which is a traffic island with a bench and a map board.
“There isn’t even a greengrocer but there’s two butchers and a cheese shop. One road is lined with hippy health clinics where you can have your back and your chakras realigned to the sound of whalesong and the aroma of incense.
“On a plus there’s easy access to the North Devon Link Road which will get you back to civilisation within a couple of hours. There are some beaches within half an hour drive, tourist traffic and tractors permitting.
“Crime is low, but there is nothing much to steal unless you need a sheep or a cow.
“There’s no beggars or drunks in doorways. All in all the town has an air of 1950s decay and neglect and no indication of anything 21st century. Even the WiFi is painfully slow. Best avoided.”
AXMINSTER: There are no secrets here
At first glance, Axminster appears to be a quiet and pleasant town, with a small shopping area, a pretty railway station, and a large Tesco – but according to this reviewer the truth is revealed “when you dig a little deeper”.
The claim is that it’s the real “local locals” you have to watch out for. They are like Susan out of The Archers: “These people are really something else. You can’t even talk to someone without being approached by strangers at a later date, who know exactly what was said down to the most minute detail.”
The reviewer attended the local school and says it was an “often incredibly violent place, which at the time (1990’s) was put into special measures thanks to it’s crumbling structures and unpleasant atmosphere”.
But don’t try to escape by bus: “The main bus stop in town is actually a traffic island with a bird bath on it, well, i say bird bath, but over the years it’s spent more time being used as a toilet or a sick bucket than it ever did bathing birds.”
DARTMOUTH: All is not as it seems
Dartmouth in Devon has been voted the second best seaside town in the UK
Dartmouth may have been voted the second best seaside town in the UK, but outside the pretty riverside town, it’s not all as it seems.
“Most incomers as the locals call you arrive into Dartmouth via one of the River ferries, where you will be met with the best kept town centre awash with art galleries and quaint unique shops. All this with Sir Aston Webbs Naval College sitting grandly overlooking the beautifully set postcard image. Dare you creep up the “Hill” into Townstal, then the rot starts.”
Apparently once out of the upmarket harbour area it’s all Spar pasties and Panda pops: “They shun Sainsbury’s as they don’t sell gas and electric tokens and favour the Spar shop which is burgled by the same person every month.”
And the reviewer claims that decent folk “are interspersed with social services cases generally shipped in from Plymouth or Totnes”. and adds “You will never fit in with these people unless you can decorate your garden with ornamental nappies to the annoyance of your decent hard working neighbours.”