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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody!

It has been a long time since my last post, hope to find some useful answers as always :)

First of all thanks for helping me out with my previous queries. I should have moved at least two times in the last year and a half, but this time it seems it will be for real! :clap2:

I'm going to relocate to the Newtown area in Powys (Wales) and I was wondering if some of you could tell me what is it like to live there. It's a small town, I know, but I've never wanted to live in a big city and I will reach Birmingham in a couple of hours in case I need something I can't find (quite unlikely with online shopping! :p ).
I wonder if you know something about the condition of the roads (would driving in winter be a problem?), the climate (I've heard it's in the rain shadow of the Cumbrian mountains which makes it a little bit dryer than many of the surrounding Welsh counties) and the people (How many Welsh speakers? I've started to learn the language but it will take some time to be able to use it :D ).

Please feel free to add anything you know about the place!

Cheers :tea:
 

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Hello Green

I know Newtown very well as my family are from the area and I also live about 20 miles from Newtown.

Tell me what you are looking and I will give you my opinion.

Also, let me know if you plan to work.

Regards
Simon
 

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Although I don't know too much about LIVING there, I have holidayed close to there on several occasions. It's excellently situated for many of the tourist spots of Wales (mountains, waterfalls, castles and, for a day out, the coast - all very beautiful). Great also for reaching north and south Wales. The town is indeed very small but fine for the regular things you need. And you won't have to trek over to Birmingham with Ludlow (moderate town) and Telford (huge town) very commutable. As SWJ says, it does depend on what you need.

I'm jealous - one of my favourite parts of the UK! Have a stroll around in Google Streetview: http://goo.gl/maps/X1CW
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Although I don't know too much about LIVING there, I have holidayed close to there on several occasions. It's excellently situated for many of the tourist spots of Wales (mountains, waterfalls, castles and, for a day out, the coast - all very beautiful). Great also for reaching north and south Wales. The town is indeed very small but fine for the regular things you need. And you won't have to trek over to Birmingham with Ludlow (moderate town) and Telford (huge town) very commutable. As SWJ says, it does depend on what you need.

I'm jealous - one of my favourite parts of the UK! Have a stroll around in Google Streetview: Newtown - Google Maps
Thanks for the useful tips 2farapart!
I've just had a look at the towns you pointed out:
* Ludlow is smaller than Newtown (10K vs 12.5K people): is there a particular reason why you mentioned it? Is there something particular you could find there and not in Newtown?
* Telford: I had no idea there was such a big town closer than Birmingham! Thanks! :clap2:

I know Shrewsbury is not too small either (80K people) what do you think about it?

You also mentioned the coast, where would be best to go for a day out? Aberystwyth seems to be the closest spot.

SWJ said:
Hello Green

I know Newtown very well as my family are from the area and I also live about 20 miles from Newtown.

Tell me what you are looking and I will give you my opinion.

Also, let me know if you plan to work.

Regards
Simon
SWJ thanks for replying.
I've already secured a job in the area, however I prefer not to say too much about it (as I've not signed anything yet! :tape2: ) however I will need to find a place to rent, any idea of which area to look for? As I will be moving with my gf (she can't drive) I don't know if it would be reasonable to consider one of the small villages in the outskirts of the town, how is public transport?

Many Thanks !!
 

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For some reason, when I visited Ludlow (beautiful castle there) I was of the impression it was a bigger town. My senile memory is aging obviously! :D

Yes, Telford is large, and so is Shrewsbury. Birmingham is indeed commutable in a day (the journey does feel longer than it really is), but you definitely won't be dependent on reaching Birmingham. I imagine Shrewsbury (being the nearest of the two) will offer sufficiently good shopping - it has all the major high street stores as well as a lot of smaller, independent retailers.
 

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You've been receiving some positive reviews on the area, and that's good from people in the know.

However, that part of Wales isn't my choice of location, for several reasons. Some of them are personal (where my family and friends are etc), but others are more general. My personal opinions, mind!

It really is rural, more sheep than people, lovely place for a holiday or short break, but not my idea of relocating full-time. Amenities are quite limited, not just shopping but also culture, top-flight sports (important for me!) and entertainment, there is no motorway link nearby and any journey involves rural roads which can be heavy with commercial and agricultural traffic, or caravans in the summer. Public transport is adequate but not very frequent or convenient, and can be quite expensive. Snow in winter is possible but normally it's not too bad. Also airports for short jaunts to Europe using budget flights are miles away. Nearest are probably Birmingham, Cardiff or Manchester, a couple of hours' drive. And culturally it's pretty monochrome, with few ethnic minorities with their cuisine, music and culture, which make urban UK such a vibrant place to be.

If you are older, nearer retirement age and just want a quiet life, it may be ideal but you really need to go there and spend a few days before committing yourself.
 

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LOL! More sheep than people! My personal nirvana - I guess that's exactly why I like it! :D :D

Very true about commuting. Every journey feels much longer than it really is. For example: the coast isn't far away but it takes 2-3 times longer to reach it than it would if there were easier, more direct roads. You can spend a couple of hours driving a route that would ordinarily take 40 minutes elsewhere - but it is a beautiful drive.

A reliable car (and good breakdown insurance) is absolutely vital.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Amenities are quite limited, not just shopping but also culture, top-flight sports (important for me!) and entertainment, there is no motorway link nearby and any journey involves rural roads which can be heavy with commercial and agricultural traffic, or caravans in the summer. Public transport is adequate but not very frequent or convenient, and can be quite expensive. Snow in winter is possible but normally it's not too bad. Also airports for short jaunts to Europe using budget flights are miles away. Nearest are probably Birmingham, Cardiff or Manchester, a couple of hours' drive. And culturally it's pretty monochrome, with few ethnic minorities with their cuisine, music and culture, which make urban UK such a vibrant place to be.

If you are older, nearer retirement age and just want a quiet life, it may be ideal but you really need to go there and spend a few days before committing yourself.
Thanks for this reply Joppa!

I've been living in a quite big town/city (450.000 people) for the last 10 years of my life and I can't stand it any longer.
I think I will be better off by living in a quiet place and look for the occasional city-day-out that the opposite, as I'm not relocating alone :hug:
However I'm really interested in what you said about the
roads: I will need to drive everyday covering an area that includes Dolgellau, Builth Wells and Wrexham. What about the roads in winter?


Thank you all guys!

Cheers!
 

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Thanks for this reply Joppa!

I've been living in a quite big town/city (450.000 people) for the last 10 years of my life and I can't stand it any longer.
I think I will be better off by living in a quiet place and look for the occasional city-day-out that the opposite, as I'm not relocating alone :hug:
However I'm really interested in what you said about the
roads: I will need to drive everyday covering an area that includes Dolgellau, Builth Wells and Wrexham. What about the roads in winter?
Well, moving to Powys will come as a big shock. I don't know you but my guess is while you may enjoy the change for a while, living in a very rural location - there's no getting away from it - can soon get frustrating and, frankly, boring. It really is sparsely populated. Once I drove for an hour without seeing another person (lots of sheep mind!). Another drawback of rural living is you probably struggle to get a signal on your mobile (cell) phone, which has become essential equipment for most people here, and if you live in a village, you may not get broadband or very slow and expensive connection - another frustration. And if you are used to US-style customer service, you'll find things very slow and frustrating here, though rural people are generally polite and mean well.

As for driving, it's not bad, few traffic jams except in summer school and bank holidays but don't expect to average more than 30 to 40 mph. About an hour to Builth and up to 90 min to other towns. In a bad winter you may be marooned for a few days, as rural roads don't get cleared as much or as quickly as urban ones. OK this year, but you'd have struggled last year when we had quite a lot of snow, between Nov and Jan.
Remember fuel is one of the highest in the world and it will cost between £70 and £100 ($110 to $160) to fill a tank of petrol (gas) or diesel. If you get company car and fuel, it's not too bad but you will be taxed on some of your benefits, reducing your take-home pay.
 

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I live in a very rural location too though it is a little better supported than Wales. My 'living rural' experience might help you decide if it's for you or not. The two biggest differences between where we live in East Anglia and Powys in Wales are that our nearest major town is just approx 17 miles and there are a couple of major road routes and a rail link direct to it around 5 miles away. Bearing these two (important) points in mind, this is how I find living in the country...

My broadband is stuck at 2Mb/s with little hope of ever being upgraded due to our distance from the nearest telephone exchange (it's mostly enough for our needs and we're glad we at least HAVE broadband here - many rural areas of the UK have no broadband - and satelite is desperately expensive). This speed is actually fine for everyday use but is frustratingly slow to download a nice new game from Steam. Streaming movies is mostly not possible.

We have no gas (electricity only - with oil for those who can afford it) and the infrastructure (aging wooden pylons and sagging wires) mean we experience power outages routinely when weather is particularly poor (high winds or torrential rain). Only having electricity means no back-up for heat if this happens in winter, and no means of cooking (well, we've learnt to cook over an open fire and keep a good stock of candles in). Rural locations are very low priority for utility providers whose first aim is to ensure amenites and institutions are connected to the national grid (hospitals, schools and businesses - with a smattering of homes being their least priority). Our longest outage in recent times was around 36 hours, and this year 18 hours in January with no heat or light.

We have a bus service to our nearest town twice a week (alas within an hour of each other of a Tuesday afternoon - what a concept of brilliance THAT is). Schools are supported by a bus service though.

The worst inconvenience I've found is that absolutely everything has to be accessed by car (and as Joppa pointed out, fuel here is frighteningly expensive, with many rural areas being a little bit higher). The nearest village with a local convenience store, post office, school, church, pub etc is 3 miles away. Therefore, if the only driver in the household (me) has a blinding migraine, it means everybody is stuck (we can call a taxi but they charge a premium for coming 'out of town'). Weather is also a factor because local roads are never gritted - again, low priority). We can become "snowed in" by a mere 3-4 inches of snow for 2-3 weeks each year simply because the 5 miles of winding lanes with deep trenches either side are too treacherous by car. That said, when there's no snow, our nearest major town with good transport network, sports and shopping amenities is 17 miles away - AND we have a good road route to it meaning we can be there in 25 minutes.

The best of living in the country is the lack of crime, the local people knowing you and helping each other, beautiful countryside views and walks, wonderful place for our dogs, no traffic and urban noise - and the peace of living in a beautiful place. Wales has much more of this in abundance - and sheep! :D

Therefore it's really going to come down to what's most important to you, what your needs are and what you enjoy most in life. We're lucky in that we do have a nearby rail link that connects us to London (eye-wateringly expensive £90 a day - but essential because I work there weekly), Cambridge, Norwich and Birmingham. We also have a major town 15 miles away on a direct route - something you won't have in Powys. We don't have kids nor any major health needs. We're not heavy shoppers and are largely allergic to any kind of sport except bowling (which we have approx 15 miles away). I DO miss a local chip-shop and fast food (that's a thing of the past, but for us a small price to pay).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
2farapart said:
My broadband is stuck at 2Mb/s with little hope of ever being upgraded due to our distance from the nearest telephone exchange (it's mostly enough for our needs and we're glad we at least HAVE broadband here - many rural areas of the UK have no broadband - and satelite is desperately expensive). This speed is actually fine for everyday use but is frustratingly slow to download a nice new game from Steam. Streaming movies is mostly not possible.
I could use a 10-20Mbit connection here in Italy, however I find that my mobile phone (which allow me a speed less that your 2Mb/s) is more than sufficient. If I want to see something in streaming I let it load into memory beforehand :D

2farapart said:
We have no gas (electricity only - with oil for those who can afford it) and the infrastructure (aging wooden pylons and sagging wires) mean we experience power outages routinely when weather is particularly poor (high winds or torrential rain). Only having electricity means no back-up for heat if this happens in winter, and no means of cooking (well, we've learnt to cook over an open fire and keep a good stock of candles in).
It would take some time to get accustomed to this, but in Newtown (12500 people) there are both gas and electricity so it shouldn't be a problem (However I'll buy some lighters and candles, you never know what's round the corner :p )

2farapart said:
The worst inconvenience I've found is that absolutely everything has to be accessed by car (and as Joppa pointed out, fuel here is frighteningly expensive, with many rural areas being a little bit higher).
The nearest village with a local convenience store, post office, school, church, pub etc is 3 miles away. Therefore, if the only driver in the household (me) has a blinding migraine, it means everybody is stuck
That would be the same for me, however there is the train station in the city centre with connection to Aberystwyth and also to London (I'm not sure if it's a direct connection or if you are supposed to change at Shrewsbury).
The Company is going to refund me a certain amount of fuel per miles, so it should be bearable (btw My car runs on LPG :D )

2farapart said:
The best of living in the country is the lack of crime, the local people knowing you and helping each other, beautiful countryside views and walks, wonderful place for our dogs, no traffic and urban noise - and the peace of living in a beautiful place. Wales has much more of this in abundance - and sheep!
Yep! I've got a dog too! I'm currently living over a crossroad, everytime I visit my gf's parents, who live in a small village of 5k people I would never want to get out of bed in the morning as it's so peaceful and relaxing; 6 hours of good sleep are much better than 9 hours of the bad one!
Regarding the part about your neighbours I hope to be able to fit in; I've already started to study some Cymraeg (Welsh).

Joppa said:
Another drawback of rural living is you probably struggle to get a signal on your mobile (cell) phone
I'll have to investigate over this point ...

Joppa said:
if you are used to US-style customer service, you'll find things very slow and frustrating here
I'm used to Italian-style customer-service, which is mostly slow and frustrating :)

Joppa said:
don't expect to average more than 30 to 40 mph
Is that what you call a "slower pace of life"? :D
I didn't expect it to be so slow, I hoped for an average of 50 mph which is the normal speed limit here in Italy ad would be quite reasonable : 30mph is reeeeally slow :( on the maps the roads that connect Newtown with the main towns in the area looked quite faster, could it be that you are talking about the smaller ones used to reach the villages after leaving the main roads?

Joppa said:
Remember fuel is one of the highest in the world
In Italy we have the highest in Europe (Yes, even higher than UK!! IT=1,814 euro/l (1st position in Eurpe) vs UK=1,700 euro/l (8th position in Europe); reference: http://www.energy.eu ) with one of the lowest wages of the "Modern European Countries" (1200-1400 euros/month --> 958 - 1117 pounds/month)
And as I said before, the Company will refund most of it.
BTW, as I am relocating with my car I know I'll have to do something about it within 6 months of my arrival. Do you know what am I supposed to do? As it's an old car (1997), would it be better to buy a new one, even if I would need to buy it with installments?
Joppa said:
If you get company car and fuel, it's not too bad but you will be taxed on some of your benefits, reducing your take-home pay
Could you please expand a little bit on this?

Joppa said:
Once I drove for an hour without seeing another person (lots of sheep mind!)
You really do hate sheep, don't you? LOL

I don't know how to thank you guys for all the useful informations you are submitting!

THANKS!!
 

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LOL!!!!

I forgot! I get no mobile phone reception, but that's largely due to the fact my house is made of one and a half foot thick 400-year-old cow dung rather than more lightweight materials - that and being in the middle of nowhere. We can scrape a slight connection if outside (usually depicted by one of the residents standing in the middle of the lane shouting down their device in desperation).

With gas, you won't have half the power cut worries you'd have without it. Just spare a thought for those of us weeping when the last candle burns out. :D

The road between Newtown and Welshpool I'm fairly familiar with. As far as Wales goes, it's a primary route, but it's single carriageway and, as Joppa warned, used by lots of trucks and farm traffic with no real option of overtaking. It's hard to be able to achieve beyond 40-50mph anywhere in that region of Wales without being labelled "dangerous idiot" (or "tourist" - same thing) and flying off the road to celebrate the occasion! :D
 

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And if you drive like a typical Italian (yes, I have had misfortune to drive in your country more than once), you will be called a dangerous lunatic and will soon come to the attention of Polizia (Heddlu in Welsh)!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
And if you drive like a typical Italian (yes, I have had misfortune to drive in your country more than once), you will be called a dangerous lunatic and will soon come to the attention of Polizia (Heddlu in Welsh)!
Don't worry, I will not get to the attention of the Heddlu (do you pronounce it He-th-lee ?!?) as I am not your typical Italian driver :D

Do you have a idea how to find out if a particular area is covered by broadband internet and/or by mobile phone reception?

2Farapart and Dylan you are a bunch of funny people :juggle: , by the way, is Cow's dung only good for blocking electromagnetic waves or has it also other good properties? (I guess parfume is not one of them :heh: )

Cheers! :tea:
 

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For mobile phone coverage, you need the postcode of your intended locations. Input it into coverage map for service providers on their website (called coverage map) - O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Three.

About tax liability for car fuel provided by your company. If they aren't providing with a company car, as it seems the case, then you need to work out your business mileage and show your fuel allowance only covers it and not any part of your private mileage. Google under 'fuel allowance' to tell you how to do it. Much depends on how your petrol/diesel cost is reimbursed.

It's not too diffcult to register your Italian car. Look at 'Registering a foreign car in UK' under direct.gov.uk. You need to get some documents from Italy before bringing your car over. Many EU residents just drive around with native registration (number plates), provided you get it tested regularly when due in Italy (like MOT here) and is insured in Italy. No UK insurers will cover a foreign-registered car. As you say, it may be simpler just to get a used car in UK to avoid all the hassle. Around £5000 will buy you a small car 1-2 years old still under manufacturer's warranty. Check fuel consumption as driving sensibly in rural Wales can get you around 60 mpg (20 km per litre) with some cars. I like VW Polo diesel if you can afford it.
 

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I live in Newtown. Shopping... we never travel further afield thanTelford. Local shops are cheaper if they stock what you need, like you say... there's the web for everything else
Sports : the Welsh are incredibly sporting. There's not the larger commercial ventures, granted. Transport: limited public, and costly due to distances. Winding country roads. Very rarely closed by snow. One day last year on some remote roads. Petrol very slightly above cheapest uk. Plenty people car share... local sharing schemes. No overcrowding or pollution, and strong sense of community. Good local health care, although major hospitals 40 minutes away. Plenty cheap rental accommodation.

It's not a Welsh speaking area, you rarely hear Welsh although there is now a successful Welsh medium primary school.
 
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