With the smallest Sainsburys in the UK located in an old shed to the cruddiest dirty market in the SW. The only shops are charity shops and cafés full of gaseous pensioners. Nothing interesting happens in this town. Once or twice a year a few locals dress up as victorian peasants rather than 21st century peasants and hang around the “square” which is a traffic island with a bench and a map board.
The main car park smells of animal faeces, mainly because there is a shed full of animals kept there twice a week, that are destined for pasties and pies.
You rarely see a resident smile. The shopping extravaganza is a TOFS factory shop where you will always find sizes XL to XXXL have sold out.
There isn’t even a greengrocer but there’s two butchers and a cheese shop. There’s also a [allegedly] dire health food store that seems to stock one of each item and is staffed by [allegedly] grumpy people who openly argue and criticise each other. It has a café, but the food is from supermarket produce and bought in items according to the sour staff. Takeaway is Chinese, a choice of three 1970s style, one tiny Indian, a kebab house and a couple of naff chippies. Service in all of them is dour and uninspiring.
One road is lined with hippy health clinics where you can have your back and your chakras realigned to the sound of whalesong and the aroma of incense.
Entertainment is church or a shed with some beehives. Sometimes there’s a z list entertainer at the George Hotel. The museum consists of a handful of grotty antiques and a reconstructed ancient fire tender that was probably in use up until the end of the last century.
You can buy petrol if you want to queue in the middle of the main roads while lorry drivers fill up on diesel and pasties. House prices aren’t particularly cheap and the new builds featured in the national press for bad build quality. There’s two recently built schools but neither are outstanding.
On a plus there’s easy access to the North Devon Link Road which will get you back to civilisation within a couple of hours. There are some beaches within half an hour drive, tourist traffic & tractors permitting. There’s the moors which is an area of fenced off fields and aggressive hunt followers watching the hounds chasing the wildlife around. There’s also lots of shoots where birds are routinely slaughtered and tons of toxic lead shot are spread over the water catchment for all the local towns and the city of Exeter.
Crime is low, bur there is nothing much to steal unless you need a sheep or a cow. Drugs are mainly in the nearby towns of Ilfracombe and Barnstaple along with the small homeless population.
There’s no beggars or drunks in doorways, but there’s few pubs to attract any drunks and the ones that are there are less than welcoming to visitors.
All in all the town has an air of 1950s decay and neglect and no indication of anything 21st century. Even the WiFi is painfully slow.
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