I moved back to Somerset in 2018 with my husband and three kids, then aged one, three and five. We had been away for a decade and over that time lived in central Southampton, Warminster, Salisbury and then a suburb between Southampton and Winchester.
We finally decided to move home after discussing this on and off over many years. I did the classic thing of writing a list of pros and cons, which I’ll go through here but I have to say that fell to the wayside and we followed our hearts.
The cons of the move that we identified were mainly opportunity for both us and our kids. There are less sixth form colleges here in South Somerset, it seems like less people go onto study further education. In addition there are no universities in Somerset, unless you include the two universities in Bath*.
It’s likely that my kids will move away if they want to go to uni and whilst I will encourage them to be independent adults I would like them to have the option to live close by in the long term. People do often settle where they study and/or maybe they will decide that there aren’t the right career options here for them.
The range of career opportunities aren’t as great here in a rural town as in a big city like Southampton. Having said that I have landed on my feet and am loving my job.
There are so many pros to living here. We are near to family, home grown friends, beautiful countryside and I feel happy and connected here.
There are the small things that matter. I like to go jogging through nearby parkland and people that I jog past will frequently say Hi. This was not the case in a previous place we’ve lived. It sounds like a small thing but it matters so much to me. There is also something about having friends around you that you’ve known for eons too.
I would say tear up your list and follow your heart! This was a big decision for us, we took a big (but well planned) gamble. We put our house in Hampshire on the market. There was a scary time when my husband had handed in his notice and I had yet to find a job after 5 years of being a full time mum. The other aspect to this move is that we decided to switch roles in terms of being the full time parent, and for me that meant a return to full time work.
I read lots of things online about how hard it is to get a job after being a full time mum. But I experienced none of that as I applied for three jobs and got one interview and was so fortunate to get that job, which was in Dorchester so not far from our new base in South Somerset. We also found a new house we loved, and although it was a bit nail biting it all worked out. We still keep in touch with our friends from Hampshire, and it’s only a couple of hours in the car so not too far.
I love it here, as you can tell! We get green woodpeckers and foxes in the garden. I’ve seen a king fisher and heard a tawny owl in the local parkland. I’m happy and I’m home.
*Bath is not part of the administrative county council of Somerset, it’s a shire county so geographically it is in Somerset.