Options for moving to Bristol area - feedback please!

(36 Posts)
ApuskiDusky Tue 15-Jun-10 13:59:44


I'm in the process of negotiating a new job in Bristol Centre (close to south end of Bristol Uni precinct), which will mean moving within commuting distance. DH works in aerospace, so will end up contracting in the area - Filton and Weston super Mare most likely. And I have one pre-schooler and a baby on the way any day now, so have to worry about primary schools - private not an option, and we're not church attendees nor about to start!

I think we've ruled out Bristol centre itself - having to be so close to the right school, the compromise of small gardens, and the issue of DH commuting out to the M5 don't seem to make this attractive - but open to being convinced otherwise!

I'd really like some views on the options we are considering:

1. Long Ashton - I would cycle or park & ride in to centre, DH gets out onto M5 via Portway or Ham Green road, two primaries in the village, but with some history of not enough spaces. I hear it has lots of young families.

2. Backwell - I would drive to Long Ashton park & ride then bus in, (or get the train, but Temple Meads not that close to the office), DH onto M5. Good schools.

3. Portishead - again looks like the Long Ashton park & ride is the best option (I am assuming it's not practical for me to park in Bristol city centre as the office has no parking), Portishead seems to have a number of good schools. Have no clue on what the nicer areas are though.

4. Winscombe - further out, but seems like a nice village, not too small, I would probably do the park and ride again. I don't know if the space and village life is enough compensation for poorer access to city facilities though.

5. Nailsea - I don't know much about this, apart from its train station, seems to have good schools and a decent housing stock.

Anyone know any downsides of any of these options, or other suggestions that I can look at? Any help would be much appreciated!

TheBoyWithaSORNedMX5 Tue 15-Jun-10 14:23:44

I can't really comment on the areas you've mentioned but have you considered Bath or Keynsham? This area here has it's own station that serves both Temple Meads (for the centre) and Filton Abbey Wood (for BAe/WsM).

The commute wouldn't be fun though.

ApuskiDusky Tue 15-Jun-10 14:41:29

Hi, I had ruled out areas east of Bristol because of DH's work situation, but I hadn't thought about him getting the train. He's less tolerant of commuting than I am though! Will see what he says, we do like Bath.

TheBoyWithaSORNedMX5 Tue 15-Jun-10 15:01:56

blush at "it's own station". Gah!

Well, houses within a shortish walk of either Bath Spa or Oldfield Park stations tend to have fairly small gardens, unless you are loaded that is. OTOH the Weston and Newbridge areas of Bath have pretty good access to the M4 (for the M5, for your DH) and to the centre of Bristol for you - you could P&R it (there's one at Brislington) or get the bus the whole way (picks up from the Upper Bristol Road, a very short walk from eith area), or indeed cycle to Bath Spa station.

Tis just a thought.

ApuskiDusky Tue 15-Jun-10 19:55:07

bumping in case there are more people around!

PussinJimmyChoos Tue 15-Jun-10 19:59:34

WHat about Westbury on Trym? Good links to Bristol and easy travel to Aerospace

Or, Stoke Gifford - again, close to Aerospace and has Parkway Station nearby

PussinJimmyChoos Tue 15-Jun-10 20:00:26

I meant good links to Bristol city centre

jennycomelately Tue 15-Jun-10 20:19:04

Backwell, or Flax Bourton maybe - Backwell school is the best in the area so it's worth checking out its catchment area.

Long Ashton has had a lot of pressure on primary school places as new housing built without increasing school places, but that may have been resolved by now.

Portishead - nightmare to get out of in the rush hour. Good Waitrose though!

Winscombe is nice but quite a drive into Bristol, don't know about schools there.

Nailsea - I'd choose Backwell personally!

Other places in North Somerset - Clevedon has nice bits and isn't too bad to get into Bristol

Yatton - under the flight path but I know people who like living there.

Wrington is nice and has a decent primary school, not too bad to drive in from.

The Chew Valley is beautiful but takes a while to get across to the A370 and M5. Also under flight path.

It's a lovely area so I'm sure you'll be happy wherever you end up smile

ApuskiDusky Tue 15-Jun-10 20:19:27

Thanks - I did look at Westbury on Trym, but was a bit nervous about how close you need to be to the primary school to get in - 0.4 miles is the furthest allocation for Sept 2010 apparently. But I like the sound of the 'village within a city' aspect of it.

I got the sense that Stoke Gifford had less of a 'heart' or centre to it because of the amount of new builds, is that true or unfair?

I should say I am v open-minded about the type of house, as long as there's enough space and the area is right.

Please buy my house in Blagdon in the Chew Valley. 30 minutes to P&R, good schools and I'm desperate to sell it.

Apart from that, Long Ashton I like but the schools situation is a disaster. DD went to Apple Tree nursery there and most of the kids in LA ended up going to primary in Pill, as such a lack of spaces. Also traffic in the morning is a disaster.

Backwell many people like. My view is that it's not one thing or another, not sure how much community and lots of traffic.

Portishead has had lots of regeneration so some bits are good. But there is only one road in and out of Portishead and it has huge congestion problems for commuters.

Winscombe is quite nice, I used to go there a lot. Bit further out so quite a long drive to P&R, I wouldn't even consider commuting to Filton from there. Also really boring, just one pub, lots of old people.

Nailsea - yes, good schools and facilities. Someone will be along in a minute to tell you it's great. I would shoot myself if I had to live there.

To be honest, I would rent in Bristol and see how you feel. I live in Horfield and my DD goes to Ashley Down which is an OFSTED outstanding schools. It all gets a bit hazy when it comes to secondary schools.

ApuskiDusky Tue 15-Jun-10 20:33:11

Cheers, jenny and QoW. I am a bit worried about what the road from Backwell into Bristol is like traffic-wise - the one time we drove down it was on a Friday afternoon, and we got stuck in really bad traffic, but there was also an accident on the M5 so might have been people trying to find a different route.

Maybe I can cross off Winscombe, doesn't really sound like me!

Can you put your finger on what's not good about Nailsea? I've seen that before on a past thread but wasn't sure why, as it looks like it has potential on paper...

(QoW, lovely house by the way!)

PussinJimmyChoos Tue 15-Jun-10 20:39:58

Stoke Gifford is actually quite a nice community. DH and I are thinking of moving there and there is a little village, local coffee shop, primary and secondary schools are very good and it would be an easy commute. Also has a lovely day nursery and a fitness/leisure centre there.

DH and I had another look around last week and found a little park there - all new build for the kids - really nice. It is also close to a Sainsburys and the big shopping centre at Bradley Stoke, which has Tescos, Costa and other shops

Westbury on Trym is pretty rigid with the schools, but that is because they are sooo popular! If you can get in there though - its definately a good choice as you won't have to move again when its secondary school time.

Westbury Village is nice - lots of shops and added advantage of Westbury on Trym is you are close to the Downs which are fab for summer picnis, winter walks, kite flying etc

ApuskiDusky Tue 15-Jun-10 21:21:09

Thank you, this is really helpful - ther's only so much you can find out remotely, and I'm not able to do much physical exploring at the moment!

I think I am coming round to the idea of looking further at the Bristol 'burbs - I'm not sure I am a village person, but village schools were tempting me!

PussinJimmyChoos Tue 15-Jun-10 21:35:31

No worries - if you have any more questions, ask away

If your husband is working in Aerospace, I would try and stay within the area and not outskirts - Nailsea etc as the commute would be a mare!

Runoutofideas Wed 16-Jun-10 12:59:33

We live in Westbury on Trym and I find it great for the children. School, preschool, toddler groups, library, doctors, cafes and shops all easily walkable and there is a good community feel.Regarding schools though, both Elmlea and Westbury on Trym are highly regarded and very oversubscribed. You would be better off making sure that you are very close to one or the other, rather than being halfway between the two, as you run the risk of getting a place at neither and being allocated a school a couple of miles away.

Sherry39 Wed 16-Jun-10 20:58:07

I live in Nailsea. I can get why it doesn't appeal to some. But I find it a great town for familes with younger children.

I grew up here and moved away in 1984 and returned last year due to my husband having a new job in Clifton and the commute from where we were living was just too far.

I don't think there is anything actually wrong with it, just its not everyones ideal place to live. We like it as its a great town to walk everywhere. Lots of footpaths and easy to get around. Also good town centre with a large pedestrian only precinct. Decent schools, pre schools and lots of playgroups and other facilities in easy reach.

I guess the worse I could say about it is it isn't a hub of social living. Its really become a commuter town since I lived here before. But our family is happy here. Its an easy commute to Bristol and the M5 and to other towns and so on.

I've lived in cities, towns and rural and as we can't live rural round here, Nailsea ticked almost all our boxes (one of only 2 places to do so). We looked at Backwell and Long Ashton briefly but they had far less in the way of facilities than Nailsea and fewer shops etc. And the busy main roads running through both villages concerned me in the longer term.

I think the only way to really get a feel for a place is to go visit, spend a few hours, check out the shops, read up on the schools and so on and maybe make a few phone calls. I know I phoned GP's in Backwell and Nailsea. Also viewed nurserys in various towns in the area. Nailsea came out top there with Golden Valley nursery. Nothing else came close in any of the other towns we considered.

Others say they would not choose to live here, fair enough. I'd not choose Backwell or Long Ashton, but both are ok in my book. Just not quite right for us.

ApuskiDusky Wed 16-Jun-10 22:05:17

Thanks so much to you both, it's really helpful to get your take on the places. You're right, Sherry, we will have to get out and about to explore - whilst schools and commutes are the most pressing factors, we ultimately want to feel happy in the community we move to, and it's hard to get a sense of that without getting out there! Just got to have this baby first!

Sherry39 Wed 16-Jun-10 22:15:13

Glad it was of some help.

I think some can be negative about Nailsea as its seen as boring for adults. TBH it doesn't have masses of pubs and clubs. Suits me fine. Does have good sports facilities, GP's, childrens centre and other things.

If we go out we tend to go into Bristol or someplace else anyways. And for us, used to living 45 minutes from any town of size it suits us fine. I'd rather have decent parks, open spaces and so on that pubs, clubs or coffee shops all over the place.

Schools here are good. I'd find living in Bristol itself awful, so what suits one won't suit another.

Feel free to drop me a message if there is anything specific you want to ask about the area. Happy to help

saggyhairyarse Wed 16-Jun-10 22:24:27

I live in Portishead and love it.

There are good schools here, it is easy to go to Bristol (15 mins to Clifton)/Cribbs etc, lots of fantastic walks on the door step, easy to get to South Wales/Forest of Dean (where we go for weekends/horseriding). I find it very sociable here; I am from Bristol area but not local to Portishead, I think because of the redevelopment of the marina area, Portishead attracts new people to the area so there are not the problems of trying to break into a closed community.

Traffic is a problem, my DH is self employed and so leaves at 7.30 and comes homeafter 6.30 so misses the rush hour.

ApuskiDusky Wed 16-Jun-10 22:37:46

Saggy, how much of a problem is the traffic? If we were in Portishead, at least one of us would have to cope with rush hour at least some of the time after doing childcare / breakfast club drop-off - how long would you say it takes to get to Clifton if you leave between 8 or 9?

JimmyTarbuck Wed 16-Jun-10 22:41:27

I lived in Oldfield Park, Bath for 15 years (actually on the street linked to by TheBoyWitha). Oldfield Park is great - excellent local shopping area and the commute into Bristol was easy for me. There are plenty of families with young children there, good baby and toddler groups and good primary schools. On the down side (depending on your point of view), it is an area heavily populated by students from the two universities in Bath. The numbers are increasing too. We didn't move away (to beautiful Derbyshire last year) for that reason, but I must say that it is so much quieter here at night. Now I am sounding old, so I'll leave it at that.

ApuskiDusky Thu 17-Jun-10 20:44:27

Thanks Jimmy - good to know the upsides and downsides! DH thinks Bath may be too far east, so I think we're going to focus elsewhere for now.

VeryHungryNatterpillar Thu 17-Jun-10 21:40:28

There is some on-street parking in Bristol near the uni precinct but you probably have to get there early. DH originally used to drive in and park on Pembroke Road at about 7.30am when there were always spaces, then walked to work.

I've lived in North Somerset for the last 6 years. The A370 into Bristol is really good for commuting in (it only gets busy when the M5 is blocked) so all of the villages along there are perfectly commutable. DH also used P&R and X1 bus which runs down A370 which were both excellent. We lived in Cleeve which we loved as there is beautiful countryside on the doorstep for walking, but it was under the flight path and lacked facilities.

Long Ashton - always articles in local paper about difficulties with getting into primary schools.

Backwell - excellent schools and easy into Bristol. Nice village - I would live there. Not sure how easy onto M5.

Portishead - really nice with excellent schools but also always newspaper articles about difficulties getting a place. M5 roundabout dreadful - I spent 20 minutes queuing to get over the roundabout at rush hour on Thursday last week. Most areas of Portishead are nice, no dreadful areas!

Winscombe - nice village with excellent schools but it is a long way out (probably 50 minutes into Bristol using P&R). There are other nice villages near here as well (e.g. Churchill / Langford / Congresbury / Wrington / Axbridge). Wrington is a really lovely village which is very popular but houses are expensive. Avoid Banwell (naughty kids cause problems in the school).

Nailsea is nice but its secondary school doesn't have such a good reputation as Backwell. Station is actually a mile away from Nailsea and is closer to Backwell.

Yatton has got a station as well and is very convenient for the motorway and A370. It has good schools and a few shops. It is a bit of an ugly duckling but everyone who I know who lives there loves it.

Hope that helps.

ODmummy Thu 17-Jun-10 21:58:39

I live in Portishead. No areas to avoid and all schools good. I would say it would take 45mins to get into Bristol if you leave between 8 and 9. You can avoid the motorway roundabout by going back roads Naish Hill / Wraxall. It takes less than 15 mins to get to Clevedon so if going to W-S_M could get on M5 there? The J19 roundabout is a pain, but it's such mice place to live ...

saggyhairyarse Thu 17-Jun-10 23:00:51

Late reply about the traffic...yes, I agree, about 45 mins.

It is a nice place to live and hopefully, one day, the rail link will be opened up and/or the road network improved.

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