Moving to rural Dorset with no transport

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  • #11369 Report

    So Im a single Dad of two girls 5 & 6 and we are currently living in the wonderful town of Harpenden herts in a social housing flat. There is no garden, balcony or even a bath tub here but the location is amazingly nice with everything on our doorstep. My girls are both in the closest school which is ofstead outstanding and the neighbours are quiet and settled professionals whom we literally never even overhear.

    Now we have been offered a swap from a lady who has a two bed, 200 year old croft cottage in Dorset, right in the sticks miles from even the nearest shop. The location is picture postcard beautiful with miles and miles of farmland and woods all around. The rent is lots cheaper too!

    Now to the reason ive posted here; Im asking for advice from anyone who may have moved to a rural location as a single parent *without* a car. I dont drive, never have. Not interested (and cant even afford to send off for a licence at the moment let alone buy and run a car). Is it doable? Ive looked up about the area and there are free community buses three times a week to a nearby small town and catchment schools obviously have a school bus. Also sainsburys deliver to the postcode, which is the way I get 90% of my shopping now so no change there.

    Is it stupid of me to think we can manage walking 1.3 miles to the nearest train station,(there are no normal bus services, just the community one) then catch a train just to get a shop?   To be fair we as a family dont do cinemas and eating out due to having no money. We spend 90% of the time sat indoors so Im thinking the garden could be a ‘tree of life’ for us when it comes to things to do. Just looking for any advice really. Thanks in advance!


    #11376 Report

    Hi Anonymous,

    Firstly thanks for the reply!

    The cottage is in fact in a village, but a village that is two or three roads without much else than housing and a church and village hall. It is social housing also (from an association) so there is the same security.

    As far as walking, yes you have a point about winter. There is no paving, even on the “main” street and walking in the road in the dark with my girls isnt something I’d look forward to.  We do already walk miles and miles every week (us three have never had another option), they have never got to school by any other means no matter the weather so in one way it will be easier for them (with a school bus). I will have to think about my youngest going on a bus without me but I cant imagine it being a huge thing given the location. More likely a large van or something. As for taxies, I never use them due to budget. Im stuck on tax credits at the mo, unable to find a job that fits with school runs and no weekends etc (the girls rarely see their mother and I have no other living family within reasonable travelling distance). I cant even claim jobseekers as the rent is so high in Harpenden that Jobseekers would actually *cost me money* to claim believe it or not… There is no job centre here so signing on would involve a £7.40 return fare and due to the benefit cap Id only get under a fiver anyway ! I was hoping it would be easier to find a job in a smaller and closer community, rather than the soulless ‘towny’ job market in Harpenden where every job that has the right hours seems to want immaculately groomed 20 somethings and Im nearly 50 with a large belly and Essex accent!

    Thanks for your input, I will be very careful how I go forward!


    #11379 Report

    Heh, I dont mind the hills after growing up in the pancake that is Essex 🙂 As for jobs, yeah I don’t know there, I was hoping there would be possibly something agricultural or maybe gardening for the retired people in the area, I dunno 🙂 I cant find one in the middle of an extremely affluent Hertfordshire town at the moment so it can’t be worse I guess.

    Universal credit hasnt kicked in here yet. I just receive child benefit, housing and tax credits. Its really untenable long term with the rents here coupled with the benefit cap. We already have nearly £100 less than the legal minimum the government says a family our size should live on per week due to the ridiculous rent. The money we get for food etc goes to a housing charity for rent which is senseless ! We really do need to move 🙂

    Ill do more Googling around the job market in the area before I sign paperwork and jump ship, thanks again


    #11491 Report


    Hi Keith, I endorse everything that Anonymous advises. Without a car, living in a rural area with two children would be very limiting and perhaps a bit lonely for all three of you – certainly for you.

    Farmwork is an option, but it would unlikely be school hours friendly.  But if you can sort childcare somehow, then I reckon you’d find a job in that sector.

    Good luck in reaching the right decision for you all.

    #11519 Report


    Im from Dorset, grew up in sticks, I am very biased, but I’d love to move back. It’s a beautiful friendly place, you won’t be an outsider for very long if you talk to folk and get involved. You might even find a bit of local work if you’re handy with gardening or diy.

    Because it’s a bit isolated you will find other folk about with kids, and they will soon get invited over for play days, and glad of it!

    Do you cycle? second hand ones are cheap enough, get the kids on them too (-:


    If you’re any where near Stratton, I’ll ask my brother if he knows of any !



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