Bike shop owner Rebecca Haywood on swapping London life for Exmouth’s coastal charm. Interview Gabrielle Jaffe.
After 20 years of living in London, working in TV and fashion, my husband and I moved to Exmouth to open a bike shop. I grew up in Brighton and always knew I’d move back to the seaside. My kids couldn’t be happier. They’re beach-mad and love it when their teachers take them out of the classroom and on to the shore to learn about rocks and fish.
Our lives are so active here. We joined the sailing club and my daughter now sails out on the open sea. On weekends, we go cycling. There’s a new track that goes from here to Exeter and back down to Dawlish on the other side of the river, where we take the boat back to Exmouth, completing a 25-mile loop.
We chose Exmouth because it’s a proper town with a permanent population. As a business, we’re not reliant on six weeks of holiday craziness, and we can immerse ourselves in community life.
When we opened the shop in June 2012, it was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and everyone was out on the street. People saw us painting the shop and came over to give us champagne to celebrate the opening. They’re so welcoming here and there’s a young, buzzy vibe, with live music and an arts festival in May. But the beach is the best bit. As soon as you look at the waves, you forget all your stress and see the bigger picture.
For more details, visit bikelands.co.uk
"I grew up in Brighton and always knew I’d move back to the seaside."