Your site is very informational for me. Nice work.
I am currently looking to buy in this area and I have to say that some of the comments are an eye opener if not a worry! While looking around I felt that most people seem to be upbeat regarding the changes that are (hopefully) about to happen. I think there is a lot to be done and that some peoples attitudes need to move on before the town can. However, I have to say that the majority of people that I have chatted to regarding the town have been very friendly! And the changes that some people have risked at a lot of their own money for (such as 11 the quay Damien Hurst’s place) should be applauded. The councils need to do more to promote the town more, litter clearance (perhaps to the legal standard of EPA) might be a start. Most of North Devon appears to be on the up and we must not allow North Devon District council to forget Ilfracombe. The town deserves much more credit than people are allowing and I hope that 2006 can provide the building blocks..
Linda K, USA
Hi! I used to live and work in Ilfracombe, for three summers from 1984-86, at the Collingwood Hotel. Does it still exist? Still in operation? I have fond memories, as well as some not-so-fond of my time there. Greetings to Michael and Wilma Challacombe, Clif and Michelle Higgins, Mark, Debbie, Ian, Carol, John, Pop Barbary, Dennis, Tony the baker, and others who may remember me!
My Partner and I spent a week Aug 2005 at John Fowlers site along with our two boys 4 and 2.We had a fantastic time.We saw no trouble in the town or anywhere.As a tourist I felt safe and would go back tomorrow
In Response to Tony H from Bristol.
So you found Ilfracombe then
a few hours down the M5 and here you are
Sorry its been a disapointment to you.
There would be no point in asking you to come back here in a few years to see hwo the place will have been regenerated!
I have lived here for 30 years and I wouldnt call myself sad
unless like today I read something about the town were I have grown up and still live.
Like many places towns,citys you will never find a place that is perfect everywhere has its imperfections but I am not talking about the faults that you have listed "faults" in your terms.
You come from Bristol which part
is it perfect?
You say "drop a Bomb "
well thanks mate that would be my family ,home,friends,work all gone
thanks would you like me to return the favour Im sure not
Bit of a strong line to use?
Sad residents -
Well again like everywhere yes there will be some you cant please all of the people all of the time.
Poor council -
You are correct in some ways there are many changes that have been put forward over the years but have been turned down.
But hopefully things are starting to change
but why should this mean we deserve bad publicity.
Verbally abused - by whom
Burnt out hotel_
aka cliffe hydro hotel
This hotel was built in victorian times as a family home and very gracious looking it was.
It has since been a hotel and since closed down.
there have been a couple of applications made to demolish and re build but they were not fully accepted by the council.
Im sure I can speak on behalf of many residents, local fire services, and police when I say that we all wish this site would be demolished and regenerated.
At the moment yes it is an eye sore but more importantly than that it is causing big health and safety issues and draining local services of their time ,safety and money.
The building knocked down that no one has picked up?
If only it was as simple as that im sure it would have been done many times by now.
Again no one likes the look of this area least of all the residents in a nearby retirement home
we all hope that the proposed plans for this area will start to take place very soon.
Taxi -drivers -
You mention taxi drivers and that you cant get one well no offence to any local taxi drivers intended
"taxi s in Ilfracombeare as common as black cabs are in London" !
Well Ilfracombe is on the up some local buildings are being renovated
John Fowler is pouring even more of his own money into boosting the town and now Tesco s have seen that there is potential in this town. Im sure the other big boys will follow.
Oh well tony nothing ventured nothing gained no ones going to force you to come back,
but you will wish you could soon.
This towns going places!!!
I am a taxi driver in ilfracombe and i think this town needs a lot of money spent on it.I dont think it is a nice place to live any more to much trouble can not even go out for a nice drink in the pubs with out some donut kicking off over nothing.I have now moved to braunton and i love it here.I did not think i would ever move out of ilfracome it was such a nice town to live in.They need to put more money itn to the town and spend it on things the town need.Look at the land mark what is that all about it is mony down the drain.They need to do things for the kids of the town i mean all they have is arcades and pubs and people wonder why they cause so much trouble in the town thats all i here all day in my taxi people going on about the kids of the town making there lifes hell.If your thinking of buying here i would not unless the town council pull there finger out and do some thing.
Chas McCoy Liverpool
Anyone in Ilfracombe Know Chris Rowe (ex cpl Reme) He'd be 79/80 now.We served in many places together.Just wondering if he's around.
There arent any "Bad" estates in Ilfracombe. Sure there is a bit of snobbery in places but in general they are good houses with gardens in a good community.
hello people of ilfracombe i am thinking of doing an exchange to your town can anyone tell me if there are any realy bad housing estates to be avoided the street is called chichester close does anyone know what its like there please cheers from micky
Sadly it's the continuing acceptance of those faults/sins/idiosynchrasies that keeps some of the thieves, druggies, muggers and nutters in our midst. But hey, why bother to try and change such firmly entrenched attitudes ... the new Tesco super store and the revamp of John Fowlers holiday camp will do that quite nicely I reckon. Both are likely to contribute to an increase in the local property prices and impact the commercial profile of the High Street. Hello money, bye bye rubbish.
The beauty of Ilfracombe is that no matter what peoples perceived faults/sins/idiosynchrasies, they are still accepted within town community life- live and let live, (even the idiots that every town has who cant see the positive side of things). If people cant view the town in the same positive way (accept its faults and welcome its benefits)they might as well be miserable in milton keynes as ilfracombe.
Ilfracombe is just starting to get some much needed pride in its own existence after decades of being run into the ground by naysayers from NDDC and above all by its own people who are sometimes too afraid of positive change to let it happen.
Lets have some more pride in the place that we live-our home. If you dont like something try to change it or to learn to like it.
The past 26 years have certainly left their mark then. If newcomers to the website think some of the comments posted here border on bigotry I can only suggest that they visit the town and experience the real thing. It's evidently still in plentiful supply.
Nice to see so many people with fond memories of the town , i have lived here on and off for 26 years (im 26) and i have loved it and still do. Endless summers as a child on the tunnels beach and hele bay , enough good freinds to last anyone a lifetime and great activitys to involve yourself in like canoeing , swimming and of course - fishing - at the age of 9 or 10 upwards in the holidays myself and freinds would be alowed to go fishing all night long , till morning on the peir without adult company - something my freinds in other parts of the country would never be able to do because it was not safe .. i would say i would not have wanted to grow up anywhere else , and i have lived in other places in the country. As mentioned before , the town can be whatever you make of it - the people make the town and i think this towns people in majority are fantastic and freindly... there is a good community spirit and i see it every day. As a 26 year old who has lived here a long time i would also add that i know of nobody who is an active racist or who would abuse someone for thier colour skin - although mr shudras nearly falls into the category of bigot as labeling EVERYONE who lived here as dumb rednecks who would "burn a cross into your lawn if we could work out how to use matches".
I do not feel this way as nor do many other inocent people who harbour no such intent, for someone who is such an enemy of discrimination , this apears to be prejudice on your part.
May i also point out to other newcomers to this forum some of your other bigotry to save them having to read your other abusive posts like "hopefully we'll get an influx of job seekers that will displace the bulk of 'local' parasites both in terms of jobs and homes."
Have a nice day
Was born in Ilfracombe in 1940, my father was part of the staff of Dagenham County High School which was evacuated to Ilfracombe early in 1940. Lived there for over 3 years and have many wonderful memories of going fishing with my father and the really supportive community. Have been back once in 1963 for a visit. Have lived in New Zealand for the last 56 years, but still think as Ilfracombe as my 'home'.
Hannah doesn't live here anymore ... but still reads the websites. Tony H wouldn't bless this ground with this presence anymore, but knows now by default where the drugs are sold in this town. And so, I guess, does most of Hannah's generation. Come on guys get real and deal with the problem so that we can all have a safe and happy life, not just those lucky enough to own houses, have jobs and a family life. You owe it to the young.
i previously lived in ilfracombe for 11 long years, until i managed to leave at the age of 18. it may look picturesque but really it is a dump. full of drugs and chavs. no jobs so i ended up bummin about. im glad im moved away from that area.
I used to live at Lee 1 Brookdale was bought up there with my 3 sisters and brother mother and father, and lived at Lee for 18 years we went to school in Ilfracombe and use to go shopping with my mother every saturday. I think it is a beautiful place to live and be bought up, I worked at the Beacon Castle Hotel no longer there! reading the comments of people brings back happy memories to me I miss the place and often dream of Lee and Ilfracombe, it's a place that has much to offer young and older. I have a brother in Bideford and a sister in Braunton, a sister in Nailsea Bristol, I now live in Carshalton Surrey and have my younger sister living with me. and yes I do miss Ilfracombe as it was a big part of my life and have this urge to come back and to find some people I used to know and lost touch with. I guess I have to come back to visit again and see how it's moved on from when I was last there. as I know Devon very well, hard to turn your back on such a beautiful place as Ilfracombe.
Have to agree with Nicola from Bicester; I too have been in that Italian restuarant with my girlfriend. Italian heavy metal music aside (at least that's what I thought it was!), I didn't find the service at all objectionable and the food was very nice. Well priced too I might add.
Good for you Hot Stuff! Nice to see that despite the moaners and wingers, there are still people who have a positive attitude in Ilfracombe!
And meanwhile amidst all of this impotent town council hand wringing and local wannabe feel good factor a house down the road from me is up for sale again for the second time in 2 years. The London refugee who bought it for nealy £80k over the odds is selling it on for another whopping £60k on top of what he paid for it ... to another Londoner. Hello money, bye bye rubbish. Keep those property prices high and force out the scum!
Hot Stuff- Ilfracombe
I moved here 4 years ago with my wife and two young children. I started a business 6 months ago.
Ilfracombe can be your Nemesis or Salvation- its whatever YOU want it to be.
The locals are very welcoming and friendly (and have been very supportive with the business). Unfortunately there is Devonian discrimination against Ilfracombe. In a competition run on Lantern FM two prizes won by Barnstaple residents went unclaimed because they would not dream of coming to Ilfracombe.
Ilfracombe has a wide and varied choice of shops, thankfully few major chains. We have gadgets gifts clothing, interior design, coffee bars, cafes, bistros,florists, antiques, art, chocolate, computers, games, fruit&veg, THE BEST BUTCHERS anywhere, the best curry house anywhere. Yes we do still have too many tat shops and charity shops if that floats your boat but you dont have to shop there.
On the down side there are very few positive role models for the youth of the town- thenearest reasonable HE establishment takes 1.5hrs plus to reach by bus and there are very few permanent employment positions in the town. Therefore the girls think having babies is suitable employment and the boys choose dole and dealing.
Roll on regeneration roll back NDDC discrimination and Rock on Ilfracombe
Sarah from Southampton
After two holidays with my family to nearby Woolacombe I completely love Ilfracombe. It's set in a beautiful harbour and I have many happy memories from there, including buying plenty of fudge from a shop down by the water!
The town itself we spent a lot of time in while we were down there, and when we return next year I'm sure we'll spend equally as much time there.
Hi, I am interested in the negative comments made and as an Ilfracombe town councillor and have chaired the local regeneration group since 2001; I wish to make it clear that NEARLY ALL decisions which negatively affect the town are made by the North Devon District Council, or Devon County Council based in Barnstaple and Exeter respectively. Neither council has a good record in supporting our community, indeed, in 1999 an independent report by a national body slammed NDDC's attitude to the town. Since then several of us have done more by working hard to get regional and national government involved ...in 2001 we got SureStart ( the first rural group) and in 2004 Neighbourhood Management ( again the first rural group) and this year we have received acknowledgement by the Regional Development Agency of our new development Strategic Action for the town; we have been offered " 7 figure " monies for investment in new projects for the resort. It is a 20 year project which includes year round ferry services, better roads and linkages, and better housing...even Tesco's recognise it is a place to invest...so WATCH this space the sleeping elephant is about to wake from slumber...BUT not lose the beauty of our surroundings, nor the warmth of the welcome.
Im moving there in a few years, cant wait to get back to the country, after spend so long in LA its going to be a welcome relief !
All our family love devon &ilfracombe &combe martin we have been going there for years loads to see and do.
When I was a young girl my mum and dad brought me to Ilfracombe. Now my husband and I have been coming to Ilfracombe sometimes twice a year for the last 30 years. When I was young we stayed in a caravan in Hele Bay and now we are staying in a cottage in Hele Bay. We never get tired of coming. Each day you can go somewhere different Bideford,Westward Ho,Instow and of course Combe Martin (best fish and chips
Anne Marie from France
I love Ilfracombe! I spent time in this beautiful town because I worked with Lamda/Coutant, the people were very friendly with the french people.I have a very very good souvenir about your town!
Anon - Devon Local
yes, it's probably best to cowardly hide here. But I agree with most of what Tony H said. Ilfracombe is a waste of space, dirty buildings and grimey streets! rude locals with no respect for others! and what's with the design of the Landmark theatre (nuclear power station??), NOT a deserved tourist destination!!! the council should be ashamed of themselves, but then they only try to please what the majority of residents actually want, so hey. Devon if beautiful though, if you're a tourist go to Clovelly, Woolacombe, Lynmouth, and Dunster, MUCH more deserving places and very worth the visit.
Nicola from Bicester,Oxfordshire
Just got back today from Ilfracombe, having just spent 7 days there and all I can say is WOW! Myself and my partner stayed in Gabriel House and the view from our balcony overlooking the sea was amazing- could have stayed there for longer. Again the local people where very freindly and the reastaurants were all excellent, we were spoilt for choice, all though our firm favourite was the Terrace Tapas and Wine Bar.
Ilfracombe is one of our favourite places by far and we will go again next year and who knows we could end up living there one day!!!!
Nicola From Bicester, Oxfordshire
In reply to Tony from Bristol, Myself and my partner thought Ilfracombe was a beautiful place and the people VERY freindly indeed. The Italian that he mentioned was excellent and even though they were busy, they sat us down and supplied us with drinks until a table became free.
Maybe it was his attitude to the local people that made them turn there noses up at him and his family.He obviosly has a higher standard to everyone else.
My family regularly holiday in nearby Berrynarbor, and Ilfracombe has become more than a second home to me. I know the streets back to front and hope to live and work there as soon as I am old enough. I am suprised that anyone has a bad word to say about this beautiful town.
Tony H - Bristol
Drop a bomb to flatten the land and it won't be missed, what a horrible town Ilfracombe! Having just returned from a seven day holiday or nightmare, we all came to the conclusion that Ilfracombe is not a holiday resort but a local hive for sad residents. I felt sick to call myself English in this town that reminded me of a French holiday to another sad location in this world. Ilfracombe is suffering from a poor council and worst residents that deserves all the bad publicity I have read through the internet. If you are a tourist beware and I am being serious, this is very much a Locals town and god forbid a tourist visiting a restaurant or the local services. In seven days, we as a family of five were verbally abused and suffered extremely poor service at many establishments throughout the town. I have no good comments about the people of Ilfracombe except for the tourists we met who were approachable and courteous. The views were impressive but this is natural, other man made buildings suffer a poor neglect but I blame both the council and residents for this once respectable town losing all its credibility. I would assume the council tries to make changes but the residents object to any planning decisions that have left the town back in the ages. The views are great however, overlooking the harbor is a nice burnt out hotel and near the cooling towers to the local power station (Sorry Landmark Theater) is a building that has been knocked down but no ones bothered to pick up the rubble. Ask a taxi driver (If you can get one!) where to go, they will recommend Fore Street. We recommend to any potential visitor to avoid this street like the plague, two local pubs are present at the bottom of the hill that will not be happy with you coming through the door. We got very dirty looks by the people behind the bars as if to say " this is for local people, please leave otherwise I may turn to stone" and don't expect to eat in the restaurants, each and every restaurant on the street turned us away as they were too busy! What a joke, there were loads of tables available in each restaurant. DO not even consider CIAL ITAILIA, they were rude and obnoxious plus we heard from other tourists that the food was not up to any standard. We were finally allowed to eat in Capstones restaurant but the looks of annoyance from the staff were unbelievable. Don’t expect to use plastic, they have not heard of credit or debit cards but if you do find a use, you will be charged for the pleasure. I write all these bad comments (I could write hundreds more) as the town need to understand that their local economy need the tourists to visit and a little hospitality would go a long way. The mayor has written a comment about Ilfracombe or about a resident and he is making it clear that they have no intention of listening, my father is a mayor of a very respectable city and he would not waste his time writing comments but making positive statements to council to sort out their residents, especially businesses or even visit other areas to see how they run their town.
Reply from host
Wow strong stuff from Tony - and it's not a very nice picture that he paints.
Can anyone from Ilfracombe offer a reply? And are there any tourists whose experiences of this north Devon town are quite the opposite? We look forward to all your comments.
Charlotte from London
Went to Ilfracombe for the first time last week and was v much impressed. Liked the harbour, town walks and theatre. Happy to see expensive bistro there, wish I could own that big white hotel on the harbour and make it different. Would like to move there. Have a Pakistani husband now aged 6O who is a journalist; I am a writer/editor with 4 daughters aged between l6 and 24. Saw the hoodies on their skateboards, but it was only 6pm. Hope Shudras will be wrong in a few years time - don't suppose there are many people in north Devon who have grown up with black or brown or yellow friends, as we do in the cities. I am inclined to investigate further.
Illfracombe is just so amazing!!!It is unique and special.There is something about it!!! Beautiful houses, and sceenery!!!!!!!
Ilfracombe has appeared in the latest issue of Ideal Home (May 2005 – Pages 180-182). The three page article is under the Title “Escape the Crowds”. It identified three destinations a) Dominica – Caribbean; b) Majorca c) North Devon with a good sized picture of Ilfracombe harbour (old photo with pier still in tact). Nonetheless it says “Find tranquillity in North Devon and find sandy beaches and pretty seaside towns” It goes onto say that “If you can head down during term time or mid week you’ll find a quiet, well heeled Ilfracombe” etc
Hi to the South Wallians ( Welsh ) as most of Ilfracombe was built, or tunnelled, by welsh miners there are many "locals" who have welsh ancestry, besides which Swansea is the nearest city to north devon. Until mid 1980s nearly all TV in Ilfracombe central and east and Combe Martin was welsh origin...even now digital Tv transmission is only available from Preseley transmitter ...so here's looking at yer and see you in the Pier Tavern, Sandpiper, Brit, Waverley, Ship & Pilot, George & Dragon, and Prince of Wales... they're all within 100 yards of the harbour! the licencees need you
john from cardiff
Hello devon and devonains! Just reading Gaz's comments got me all nostaglic about North Devon. Yes, us South Walians really do enjoy visiting Ilfracombe over the summer weekends via the Balmoral/Waverly - better than driving down the turgid M5 like all the Brummie/Midlanders/Northeners/mere mortals (delete as applicable) do! Actually, it made me realise, the South welsh are the only people in the world who can regularly go to north devon via boat, and we love it!. Yes, the bristol channel from the exmoor coast does feel 'compact', like sailing down the Nile Valley, probably because of those awesome sandstone cliffs give make it feel like a ravine. (Incidentally, Exmoor was once part of the Brecon Beacons - they both have exactly the same geology of Old Red/Devonian sandstone). Lynton/lynmouth look like a couple of Austrian villages which have been bitten off and sandwiched into a wedge on the exmoor coast! Highlight of sailing to ilfracombe via cardiff has to be going past Great Hangman (1043ft), the highest cliff in Britain - an awesome sight, as is it's sibling Little Hangman (716ft). Every time we get to Ilfracombe via the paddle steamers it is always welcoming, charming and friendly - probably because all the pubs and chip shops know those hard-drinking/eating welsh people are spending their cash - apparently the pubs in ilfracombe do their best trade on summer weekends! Cafe on the habour-front does the best cream team/ clotted cream scone in the world, and considering clovelly is not far away that is saying something! This year, I've booked a ticket going from Cardiff to Ilfracombe, and then onto Lundy Island - it'll be great to see bideford bay and hartland point from a totally different perspective (come to think of it, you don't get to see the bristol channel from the bideford bay stretch of the A39, do you?). What do Lynmouth/Lynton/Ilfracombe/North Devon/Lundy Island people think of us south walians who 'invade' their area every weekend? I say this because I was reading on your website about Midlanders/Brummies (people born north of the Thames Valley basically) buying second homes in devon, and local devonians getting annoyed/aggrieved about this. I'd would like to think there is a good relationship between south wales and north devon; for example, we used to send over coal and limestone to improve the poor acidic soil and provide good fires, and I remember relatives of mine saying that a lot of the helpers in the Lynmouth 1952 flood disaster were from cardiff/swansea. In return, Devonians send us the creamiest/classiest clotted cream in the world! I personally would hate to see devon turned into the midlands (the devonian burr is a lot easier on the ear than the awful nasal 'rhining' brummie accent), and if north devon did turn into 'little dudley' or whatever, most of us south walians wouldn't want to go there, therefore loosing quite a lot of weekend business for ilfracombe. Not being anti-brummie, just pro-north devon (mind you, being pro-brummie would be a bit difficult really, wouldn't it?) If people in the Midlands want a summer bolt-hole, go to Spain! On the issue of tourism loss from the Midlands, well us southern welsh have been going to ilfracombe via paddle steamer for nearly 200 years - that's loyalty for you, not to mention a lot of chips and beer being bought and helping the local economy! Like I've pointed out, welsh people love ilfracombe, always have done, and we don't want it spoiled by a load of po-faced brummies turning into a sort of Wolverhamption MkII. Big up for North Devon and see you later this year!
gaz from cardiff
Most of us cardiff/south walians go to ilfracombe via the waverly/balmoral every summer weekend and we love it! Great journey, as you get to see the likes of porlock, lynton, lynmouth and Great Hangman (at 1043ft the highest cliff in devon) from a totally different perspective. Lynmouth/lynton looks like a film set from the coast! Weird thing is, the bristol channel feels more like a large river when you sail down the exmoor coast. My favourite memory of 2004 was when last July when we sailing to 'the coombe' from penarth - you should of seen the locals faces when we arrived in the habour! (Probably, 'oh no, here come the welsh!) Actually, the popularity of lynmouth/lynton and ilfracombe was because of the south welsh - it was the only place on a sunday to get a drink when most of wales was dry and we would sail over to devon on the paddle steamers for a pint! Looking forward to seeing north devon coast from the boat this year.
Mark and Frank, we've also got the Royal British Legion Youth Band,Blazing Sounds Band, Humdrum Conumdrum, who are always on the lookout for new members/helpers. How about our Lifeboat, Mark? Again, they're always after people to help. The Volunteer Bureau will certainly shoehorn you into Ilfracombe. We currently have an ongoing voluntary activity called Cow Green which is turning a patch of waste ground into a communal garden.
The Cairn Pleasure Grounds are always after helpers as well. There's plenty of things going on here, all you need to do is look, or ask. It's good to hear from someone who wants to come to 'Combe and take an active interest in the town I love. All the best to you Mark, I hope you enjoy it.
Paul Crabb. The Mayor
Can I draw any possible viewer's attention to the following. As a teenager (some years ago!), I did a 'Statistics' GCE, now I can't remember the precise details, but with in excess of 25 positive comments, 1 non-commital and ALL the negative comments coming from one person, I think that means Ilfracombe is PROBABLY lovely, with odds of 25-1 ON.
I am concerned that Shudras has such poor memories of our town, I seem to recall from one thread that he was assaulted soon after moving here. If your opionions are so easily and permanently coloured by one rogue violent idiot(s), aren't you letting him/them win?
In my experience, this is one of the most relaxed, laid back, and beautiful places you can live. So much so, that Country Life identified it as THE place to move in the DEC 2004 issue.
I would temper my comments /slightly/ by saying that no-where is perfect, but with a few exceptions (that would all fit in one prison van if I had /my/ way!), this town is about as good as you will get. Any employer thinking of relocating here, would be rewarded by a clean enviroment, and a willing work force. And whilst property prices are becoming more expensive, it's less bad than many other places in terms of expense. All that, and your staff will love you for sending them here!
Think of all that improved productivity!
Mark you asked what community Groups are there in Ilfracombe? Per capita Ilfracombe has more active societies and groups than any equivalent community of its size in the UK.
They range from amateur dramatics through major sports activities, including a womens football team, "open mike" nights at the Landmark , model boats, gardening several conservation societies; and we have Trans-send a volunteer co-operative which organises farmer's markets and a large community eco-garden project as well as running a renewable energy advice centre. There are many many others which give community support. A booklet is available from the library listing them all !
As someone hoping to move from London to Ilfracombe very shortly I have been reading all the comments with great interest.
I was sadly directed to the chav site which appears to be a haven for the embittered ,despairing and misanthropic , who would rather laugh at and pour vitriol on those less fortunate or motivated than themselves ,than perhaps do anything positive.
I was wondering what there is in the way of community societies that I could consider joining when I move.Obviously every bit of help counts in reviving somewhere as deserving and full of potential as Ilfracombe , however limited my talents might be !
I'm hoping it'll be a nice Summer this year so I can pay another visit, might go up Hillsborough this time.
Where do you think would be the best place for them to live? Have you any places you might suggest?
Nice to see the varied and balanced input from Jane and Caroline. As with any other resident, be that incomer or local, my view of the town is coloured by my own direct experience of it. And it's been truly horrific. I'm glad, and not at all surprised, to see that some have the sound common sense to recognise the realities of todays job market ... good luck to you if you've returned to make a go of it or are thinking of setting up a business here. My own experiences however have left me with little doubt that it's most definitely not somewhere I would want my children to settle ... so as soon as they are old enough in a couple of years time I will make sure that they are motivated and able to up sticks and head somewhere (anywhere) else. Who knows, now that the news of Trafalgar is trickling through down here we may start to see some of the old world insularity begin to catch up with the 21st. century ... we can only hope.
As this year 2005 we will remember the 200th anniversary of the Death of Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar, I thought perhaps it was worth rembering that John Lapenotiere (Born in Ilfracombe in 1770) of HMS Ship 'Pickle' a schooner and the second smallest ship present at the Battle was the person selected by Admiral Collingwood to sail to England with news that the battle was won but it had cost Nelson his life.
Hello, especially to Shudras. I have read all of the comments left on this page with interest. My mother and father moved to Ilfracombe from Coventry 29 years ago, at that time I was three. They ran the George and Dragon pub in Fore Street until the late seventies. My mum has lived here ever since. When I left North Devon College I first moved to London, there seemed to be so much on offer there that simply wasn’t available in Ilfracombe. I managed a year before Ilfracombe pulled me back. I will always remember the feeling as the national express coach exited the roundabout at Mullacott and started its steep descent in to the town.
Ilfracombe will never have the beach appeal of its trendy neighbour Woolacombe, nor realise the dream of those that long for village life. However, there is something that Ilfracombe has that I cannot fully explain but no matter how hard you try the place seems, for me at least, to have a magnetic power. Having said that, after a few years of dead end jobs (hotels, care homes) I decided that there was one thing missing in Ilfracombe - opportunity. Once again I moved away, this time to Glasgow. I could describe in great detail the memories of my arrival by train at Paisley station... let me just say it is not a feeling I would like to experience again any time soon! I spent 15 months living and working in and around Glasgow. I never went out alone, in fact in my final months I didn’t go out at all. Once again I returned to Ilfracombe and, seeing what I had in London and Glasgow, I had absolutely no intention of ever leaving again. I found a half decent job in Barnstaple, the public transport could have been better, but living in Ilfracombe and working in Barnstaple (even for a non-driver) is absolutely possible. I bought a house and settled down. Five years ago I was lucky enough to find a fantastic job right here in Ilfracombe - they really do exist! I love Ilfracombe and I love living here. I have an active social life and a fantastic group of friends, not just those I grew up with, but many that have moved to Ilfracombe in recent years. There are unpleasant areas and inhabitants of Ilfracombe - what town/city doesn’t have them. However, they are easily avoided. Ilfracombe is a beautiful town with many good and friendly people. The town is now enjoying somewhat of a revival with ‘incomers’ investing money and creating jobs. Ilfracombe has enormous potential and I sincerely hope that the coming years will bring bumper seasons for the majority of businesses that rely on the seasonal trade. I also hope that larger companies with more opportunities for school leavers and graduates will realise the potential that Ilfracombe has to offer.
maria from spain
I love Ilfracombe, definatly. I use to go to Ilfracombe every summer, cause from the first time I went there I knew it was special. People is amazing, so nice... Anyway, I think I´m coming back this summer so I qill enjoy it again: lucky´s at night, the harbour in the evening...
Chris, Ilfracombe, to Me, Too Close For Comfort.
Spot on with your comments, but with regard to the negative things happening here,isn't this whats happening everywhere else, not just 'Combe?
Jane Revell-Higgins Ilfracombe
Having just caught up with the more recent comments on this site I think that it is clear that the majority of people have good and positive things to say about Ilfracombe. All towns have their idiosyncracies - Ilfracombe is no different. There are cliques of individuals who play the system (benefit system, that is) and who have no desire to work or achieve any worthwhile goals in life. Perhaps they stand out more here because it is a small place. There are also those who are heavily alcohol dependent and whose entire lives appear to be mapped around visiting various drinking establishments every day. Then there are those who think that the world owes them a living but who shy away from doing anything that takes an effort. Naturally a town like this needs new blood and lots of it - and to me it is perfectly acceptable to see new people arrive just as many local people have migrated elsewhere to find a lifetyle that better suits them. The only way to improve the lot of all residents is to have more local work opportunities - I don't see that many locals rushing to take on the loans and accompanying risks that will create the new businesses that will require staff. So it is largely down to "incomers", "blow-ins" - call them what you will. Oddly enough you'll find that it is the incomers who are more likely to make the effort to support local causes, events and the various independent retailers in the town -which translates into keeping much that would otherwise die of neglect alive. There are far too many positive things to focus on in a town like Ilfracombe to allow a very small minority to drag us down. And whilst it is true that Ilfracombe is not for everyone for those that choose it for all the right reasons it is a great place.
Me, Too close for comfort.
Hello Shudras! But I should point out, that although I may see many faults with the town, I am still one of the 'indiginous population' as you put it - I hope I shan't be judged in the same way for that?
Ilfracombe, however much you deny it, truly is a beautiful place. It has a bit of everything, and the scenery is breathtaking. I spend practically every day in Ilfracombe, and I must say, the affection for Ilfracombe never does wear off, however much you try to shake it. Or, as is the main problem, people may try to change your mind otherwise.
And there is the problem. Ilfracombe's people are lovely, but a minority do seem to have an adverse affect on the way people see the town. Don't get me wrong, but I can see how people like Shudras can get very unsettled by residents of this town. They can often be rude and aggressive, especially younger people of a night. I know that's a comment that could be made of anywhere, but it just seems more... well, sinister around Ilfracombe.
This has nothing to do with being 'local', or not. I think saying all locals are the 'indiginous population' is rather unfair (well, I find it unfair, but then I am local). I couldn't say what Ilfracombe's 'problem' is, but I suppose it has something to do with an increasing attitude problem within younger people, increasing freedom being allowed to them (I apologise for the patronisation, I suppose since I'm young myself, I should be to blame. I hope I'm not), and basically, people taking a good time too far. Alcohol greatly contributes to the violence and yob culture.
I suppose the chavtowns site, does explain some of the problems of Ilfracombe... Well some of the problems of the people, but until then, it's not the fault of all the locals of Ilfracombe... You can't deny, however, that the town is a beautiful and historic one, even if that's not appreciated by some of the more vandalous residents...
chris blackmore, ilfracombe
Hi Frank, good site. I think if you check with Mark And Kelly at The Terrace in Fore Street, it's Spanish Tapas, rather than Mexican.A small point but our son works there as 2nd chef, so I hope I'm right.
Robert Green, born Ilfracombe 4/7/1949
Grandad owned the Cliff Hydro Hotel, plus farm in Hele(where we lived) before decline in the sixties. Also owned speedboats Whoopee and Spitfire?? that took folks on exhilerating rides out into bristol channel. Anyone remember the 'greasy pole' that used to be lashed to a bollard on the quayside, and the fun of watching the young men trying to knock each other off with pillows!!!
Ilfracombe, such a history, such memories.
Take heart Shudras, I have lived at my present address in a small town in Australia for 24 years and am still not regarded as a real local! Try joining a few of the local community organizations and get involved, get a life!!
One of these days if its still possible I shall revisit my birthplace and savour its renewal.
You're dead right there Roger. This town has some serious issues ... and it ain't just me that thinks so. Take a peek @ www.chavtowns.co.uk and do a search on Ilfracombe and see what some of the younger local residents think. I'm afraid that I still don't recognise the town that Frank continues to describe. And I'm sure that the majority of the reminiscences from visitors to this site show a genuine affection for the place ... it's just that it wears off if you live here and now.
Roger from Cardiff
It does not matter what changes happen to or in Ilfracombe, it will still be the wonderfull place where I spent nearly every summer as a child during the school holidays.We used to stay at my Aunts in Foxbeare Road, and woke every morning to see the tents in the field opposite, belonging to Moles Farm. My Aunt woluld leave early in the morning, to go to work at the Old Laundry, and my Uncle, who used to drive for Loverings Coaches, would, make his way to the depot on the main road overlooking the harbour. My parents and I would spend our time visiting all the familiar places, my faverout being Hele Beach. Those days are gone now, but I still visit Ilfracombe whenever I can. I know those days wont come back, and the town has changed, some good some bad, same as everywhere else,but for someone to be constantly slagging it off as shown in previous entries, there has to be some more deep rooted problem that probably needs treatment.
My favourite place in Ilfracombe is the view of the sunset from Capstone Hill, it's so beautiful up there. I also very much like the Tunnels Beaches, it's great to sit on the rocks there and gaze out over the sea when it's flat calm. The coastal scenery is fantastic as well. A wonderful town.
I think some writers may be missing the point of this board. It is for people to discuss the merits (or otherwise) of the north Devon location of Ilfracombe.
It is intended to compliment our 'Hometowns' section and not for a few people to use as a vehicle to conduct personal attacks on fellow contributors.
Please keep your messages polite and 'on topic' if you want them to be published.
Well Ed (& Tom), glad to see that some of my other contributions are trickling their way through the websphere. I'm always tickled to see yet another example of the indigenous population up in at arms at the audacity of an incomer or visiter who dares to criticise or comment adversely about the region. Fact is guys some things need to be aired and I have as much right as anyone to do just that ... especially having lived here for than 10 years now. And if that's counter to some local sensibilities then all the better. There are some offensive and backward looking attitudes that persist down here that need to be confronted in all available forums. The fact that it's an incomer who raises the issues doesn't make a blind bit of difference I'm afraid. Get used to it.
Shudras, anyone who's been on the Second Homes forum knows about your intense dislike for Ilfracombe and Devon generally. It must be better there though, else you'd never have left Berkshire. The are much worse places in the world than Ilfracombe, so count yourself lucky.
I'm looking forward to going back to Ilfracombe, as I enjoyed my visit there very much. Ilfracombe seems like a nice town to me.
raymond anstey devon born living in oz
hi my mum was a local moved to exeter after the war but as kids my sister an i would summer with gran in a small house in wilder road.
i even did a couple of tearms at hermitage school.
i love it i hope to visit in dec but am concerned about what i am hearing about punch up merchants
an abuse come on of all the places in the world dont spoil my memmories
I have lived in combe for 6 years now, and was lucky to land a decent job,get a foot on the property ladder, and am proud to have a young family at the age of 24.
Ilfracombe is a beautiful place with great history, and a positive future.
p.s...shudras may i suggest a change of scenery, perhaps a permanant holiday to combe martin!
... and one other prominent public body that Frank forgot to mention is of course the local constabulary. Because you can be sure of one thing in this town ... if you do make your voice heard too often, and you don't have a Westcountry accent to go with it, the local bobbies will be scraping you off the pavement and asking their colleagues in CID to investigate yet another unprovoked street attack. Low crime area it may be by comparison, but Insularcombe 'locals' specialise in a very nasty form of persecution. Incomers, visitors and foreigners beware. A rural idyll this ain't!
Interesting to read the comments from visitors to my "home town" web page. To those who are disappointed with the town MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD, either tell the Town Clerk at the council offices, or drop in and speak to Gary Smith the newly appointed Neighbourhood management programme manager at the Surestart office in the High ST, or myself at Trans-send, the centre for Sustainable living, in the High St. But above all remember it is a small relatively isolated community which give it significant acess and social fabric issues with too many multi-occupation houses built by gerry building victorians, these problems take time to correct, but some of us as volunteers are making the effort to change this, we don't just whinge we work the process. Meanwhile it is a VERY low crime area, it has many beautiful buildings, magnificent sea and landscape and fanstastic community feel...many others would love to be here.
Why do I still live here? ... I own a house here and, unlike a lot of the local element, I don't think that anyone owes me a living or a place to live. You're right, lots of places have their rough and seedy elements. My experience of the Insularcombe contingent sadly is that they actively seek out those who they perceive are different or have what they consider to be a better quality of life ... even if it was obtained by hard work rather than bleating endlessly about the state of the housing market and the country as a whole. Thanks for the offer but my socialising days are over in this town. I'm just interested to sit back now and watch the fabric of the town(both social and physical) change beyond all recognition. As the money pours in so will the migrant and immigrant workers who are prepared to do a fair days work for the average weekly wage. I predicit that over the next 5-10 years the 'locals' who want to rant about their rights to a job and a house here will gradually fade away as they are displaced by those who are more willing and have a financial future. Can't wait ...
Well done Lisa, balanced view.
Lisa Smith, ILFRACOMBE.
Dear Mr Shudras, It is very sad, and sometimes true that there is an elament of animal behaviour in this town. Nowadays this can be found in any area of the world where there is a lot of migration. Local people are often left with unaffordable housing and little prospect of jobs when the leave school. This may one day apply to your own family. The youth of today (and often the middle aged folks) find this frustrateing and when mixed with drink this becomes explosive. I too find this appalling but still find Ilfracombe an attractive place to live with a reasonably safe way of life. Please dont lable us all as biggots and raceists. Look for the less seedy social ares of Ilfracombe and you will find a friendlier group of friends. I hope to see you out there enjoying our comunity.
where would you live if you could?
No where is perfect
I have known Ilfracombe for 35 years. i love it as a visitor
lived parracombe short time
Tunnels Beach, one of the most delightful spots in the world..according to my kids and i agree
Those who live in ilfracombe (and have work) are very fortunate
I simply love it there and will be back this year
Question for Shudras: Why do you still live there?
So the new Tesco store takes one more step to realisation. I can't wait. That should paid to a lot of the high street establishments in the town that think there is still some commercial future in providing a poor and surly service to anyone who doesn't sound as if they come from the West Country. I just hope that a successful national organisation like Tesco has the good sense not to employ any 'locals' who think that the rest of the country owes them a living and that it's acceptable to adopt an insular and bigoted attitude to everyone they come across ... hopefully we'll get an influx of job seekers that will displace the bulk of 'local' parasites both in terms of jobs and homes.
my dislikes about ilfracombe.
litter and rubbish esrecially on collection day. there just isnt any need for it clear any mess up quick.
locals who are not interested in the tourist trade or tourist spending money doing their best one way or another to damage the town.
proposed new developments taking years to plan and finish leaving eyesore buildings visable for years. an exception...the new development on the old texaco garage. what a fine building at one end of the high st and started and finished quite quickly
Martin Jones, Chicago
When the winter windchill factor hits minus 70 farenheit here in Chicago, 35 degrees and rain in Ilfracombe really wasn't so bad after all! When it hits 103f and 100% humidity in Chicago, 75 degrees and a strong westerly was just fine.
Growing up in Ilfracombe was an amazing experience. Yes, we were first generation, and so sometimes regarded as "foreigners" (Wales was a long way away back then!)Yes, back 30 years ago you had to move away to make a living (unless you inherited a hotel.) Yes, it did sometimes feel like the end of the earth. But now, after visits to the Caribean and Hawii, you get to realise that Ilfracombe was quite as beautiful, (and the temperature often more tolerable!) After living in the rush of Chicago, the feeling of nothing to do but walk the hills or swim the ocean or laze on a beach haunts me from the past.....
After the 24/7 noise of London and Los Angeles, the quiet nights abed and the wonderful sounds of the surf bring back peaceful toughts.
Is it the same today? Not the last time I visited. But one thing is sure, when I retire from the craziness I found elsewhere, Ilfracombe WILL call me back home. It calls now and I can hardly wait.
fiona hinchliffe formerly wyatt born ilfracombe
my husband children and I moved away 5years ago to kent.
We return to ilfracombe as often as possible to see our parents The children love our visits playing in the rock pools with their cousins,playing football and feeding the ducks at Biclscombe park(shame the zoo has gone).my husband allways walks along the coast to Berynarbour to see his mum and dad stoping to padle with the boys at HeleBay and Watermouth along the way.while Ivisit my mum who has recently moved in to her new bungalo with wonderfull views of the Torrs my mother and I allways go to the landmark theatre
Ilove watching my nieces appear in the different and varried shows,and the view from the bar especialy at sunset on a stormy day is breath taking.
Hi to everyone
Fiona Mark and boys
I just to live in Ilfracombe for 2,5 years, and I enjoyed allmost every second of it. Nice and friendly people. Ilfracombe is in my mind allmost everyday, and Im defenately coming to visit again someday. I just to know Frank too. Greetings to Frank from the finnish bird, who use to work behind the bar, first at George and Dragon, and after at the Prince of Wales! =)
Michael Harding-Hill born in Ilfracombe 31 March 1
My Grand Mother was a Newcombe and lived as I did until after the War in what was called I believe Runacleve or Runamede which was and still is at the entrance of what was called tunnels beach chould you chould you confirm for me the name of that House (Hotel) during the War I remember that my Grandmother put up mant Canadians which were bellited in Ilfracmbe.
I visit N Devon as much as I can and always call in at Ilfracombe. I live now in the Cotswolds but still miss the sea, I wish I was able to move back to Ilfracombe but I,m sure I shall be unable to do so. The point of this email is the establise if possible family back ground if you can help I would be much obliged. You can find out about me if you wish by putting my name on the web.
Michael Harding-Hill. Thank you.
Sylvia from Wales
As I once had relatives in Ilfracombe and enjoyed many holidays there over the years as a schoolgirl in the 50's and still go now on short breaks - I decided to sit and compose a little poem on a cold February day, reflecting fondly of how beautiful a place it is there in summer, and how it has it's own dramatic appeal in the bleakness of winter - simply called- ILFRACOMBE
There's a little called Ilfracombe
It's just across the sea
It may be small &amp; hilly
But it's second home to me.
It has a little harbour
Which is my favourite place of all
I love to sit and watch the sea
On a place I call MY wall!
I had relations living there
Where I would stay for free
I'd spend my summers over there
I used to long for Whitsun
When the boat would sail from here
Across the sea to Ilfracombe
Where my heart is all the year
I liked Ilfracombe in the 60's from a Converted Lifeboat my family owned, we stayed in the harbour for the fortnight and then sailed back to Barry.
Halcyon days and no politics!
Welcome Terri, now go out for a few evenings down on the key and let us all know how you feel after a few months of indifferent service at the bar, outright verbal abuse because you don't come from round here, and, if you're really very unlucky a good kicking to round things off. If Ilfracombe cracked off and fell into the sea it wouldn't be missed ... Oh yeah, hope you like crack because you'll find the early signs off that in this sad little hole as well. Enjoy! ... p.s. Hope you ain't 'got colour'as they say in the Deep South ... if these guys were smart enough to work a box of matches you'd have a burning cross on you lawn ... look what they have done to their own environment down by the old arcade.
TERRI BUSHNELL ILFRACOMBE
I HAVE MOVED HERE FROM BUCKINGHAMSHIRE AND I LOVE IT!
Christine from Swansea
Going to Ilfracombe has been in my family for some generations as my grandmother &amp; great aunt had a cousin, Auntie May, living at the flats on the Harbour (then Quayfield flats-now Parliament Court). My mother spent many a happy visit there and loves going over still for short breaks. I too have been captivated by our almost yearly visits since I was a small child (i am now 42). I especially have fond memories from 1981, when I went for a holiday with my husband to be that SAME YEAR. He proposed to me half way through our week's holiday at Jan &amp; Eddie's place, Beverley House in Fore Street. It has always been a part of my life and all that happens in it. We have had many a holiday with our two boys, (now 21 &amp; 14 yrs. old), come full circle so to speak! as we now find ourselves returning as a couple year after year.
Rod from Dublin, Ireland
I came to Ilfracombe and Lee Bay as a 10 year old with my scout troop. It was my first trip outside Ireland. We took the train from Fishguard to Bristol and came to Ilfracombe up the Bristol channel on a magical ferry. I fell immediately in love with the place in 1962. The people were funny/friendly, lots of ret'd army blazers and moustaches etc. I cam back in the mid-70's on a nostalgia tour. It was rather depressing. Skin-heady, booze/drugs and very low cultured place. We skidaddled after 2 days.
I returned again in 2002 with my 12 year old daughter. Much better but still booze/chips/panto-esque stuff. With such a great location given by nature....4 out of 10 for the human emelment , 8-10 for nature
I must be living in some other Ilfracombe. I don't recognise much about the beaming sunny descriptions of some happy idyl with a thriving community extending the hand of friendship. Truth is that there are some areas of this tired insular little town that you just don't want to find yourself in of an evening, or during the day for that matter. And that applies even more so if you happen to come from anywhere to the east of Swindon or, God forbid, have a darker skin tone that the majority of the population. I've met more than one visitor who's run the gauntlet of yob culture of an evening only to be knocked back by a closed and surly culture that presides in some of the local pubs. Most can find that sort of experience at home and don't come back. And who can blame them. Few things can be as dissappointing on your summer break than to be subjected to some bigot's spite and illogical hatred of anything that is not 'local'. Few things, except perhaps living here. Over the 9 years I've lived here I've gradually seen my social and commercial interactions erode piece by piece until now I wouldn't bother to put another penny into any aspect of this town's economy. Ilfracombe has some real 'us &amp; them' social problems that cripple it commercially and degrade every resident, no matter if they are 'local' or 'incomer'. Please folks, let's have a bit of honesty. Sure the surrounding areas are fantastic and the pace of life down here is preferable to slugging it out on the tube each morning. But let's not pretend that all is well in the Garden of Eden. It ain't and I've got the memories, scars and titanium plates to prove it. I personally look forward to the growing influx of second home owners, retirees and house owners realising the inflated capital of their SE properties. The more people with a cosmopolitan, inclusive and tolerant attitude to life that spend time here then the quicker the place becomes a nice to live for all, not just for some.
There is no doubt about it .... there is something unique about Ilfracombe and little by little the entire town is reviving. When I first visited back in the 1960s at the age of 10 I pronounced that I would live in Ilfracombe one day .... finally in 1996 I made it ! OK it took a while. I had a lot to do and was temporarily lured first to Singapore then to New York and I've been just about everywhere else you could mention. Then one summer I brought my daughter here for a holiday with a bunch of her friends. They loved it too. So as soon as I could, I sold my house, packed everything up and I brought my businesses with me. And,of course everyone laughed. "You can't possibly publish a trade journal from a place like Ilfracombe," they said, "There's no way you can run national trade exhibitions and conferences from Ilfracombe," they chortled. "You won't last a month," they warned.
Well I am still very much here and have found great premises - the former Midland Bank in the High Street and across the street above Swivel (sea view) - good staff and have even invested in a restaurant. Life here is great. We work hard, we play hard, we get involved in supporting local fundraising initiatives and have launched a website called positivelyilfracombe in response to the many calls we receive in our offices about the practicalities of relocating publishing businesses to Ilfracombe. Funny that all the detractors are now wishing they'd done it too. Quite fashionable now to relocate out of the London area and Ilfracombe is beginning to become a popular choice. It would, of course, have helped if the railway line had remained but you can't have it all.
Hopefully we'll see several new-to-town businesses arriving here this year as a result of our encouragement which will mean more decently paid jobs and a training ground for the many graduates who would love to stay in the town rather than seek their fortunes elsewhere. Yes, Ilfracombe is truly a splendid place to live, work and flourish in .... and for everyone toying with the idea of escaping the M25 or the M40 commute .... come and visit. Get a feel for the place, take a look at the properties your money can buy here and make those plans to move.
The locals definitely don't bite.....
Jean Chater - previously Wallbridge
I very much enjoyed Frank's description of his adopted home town. I knew him when he was a mere strip of a lad and remember his fondness for the sea and the sand dunes of nearby Ainsdale so I am glad that he has ended up living in that beautiful part of the world. He looks happy and content there and has certainly convinced me that it is a place worth visiting. But what happened to his lovely black hair?