welcome back! i'm also a canadian, i lived in london for a bit and now i'm in sussex, near forest row. this sounds like your kind of place, though the cost of living may be too high, and i admit to not knowing where ********** is!! good luck! not so long ago we went through this, amazing what will lead you to your home. x
Mittenskittens - I remember loving Brighton when I visited - I'll go and do some cost of living research....
I've never lived there, but if I could live anywhere in the UK, Brighton would be my choice. It's a haven for crunchy people, and has farmers markets too. As far as I know, the cost of housing is similar to London, though.
hey grahnola, i'm from vancouver, and i love england though it took me some time to stop being homesick. things are cheaper outside of forest row itself, there are many little villages, don't give up right away! we go into the village frequently for classes and such, we homeschool and there's quite a bit going on, but we live in a beautiful spot in a teeny tiny village. x
Oxford is quite happening, lots of good festivals round about, lots of homebirthers and crunchy parents, lots of green outside freshness and plenty of farmer's markets etc.
We live in Banbury about 20 minutes north of oxford. It's a great place to live - you can bike loads of places, there are some boaters who live on the Isis river (think it's the Isis, maybe the Cherwell)
I would second Hebden Bridge. It's very convenient for ********** as it's only just over the border into Yorkshire, and ticks all your boxes. It's a semi-rural small town in the Pennines with plentiful, good-value, beautiful stone housing. Access to amazing countryside and scenery. Thriving arts/cultural scene, vegetarian restaurants, liberal ideals, big lesbian community, organic gardening societies. I was brought up nearby and drank raw milk my whole life - it didn't occur to me that other people didn't as it was just what the milkman brought. It's within easy commuting distance of Manchester & Leeds - big modern lively cities - and also not far from York which has amazing medieval, Roman and Viking ruins. It's in the North so the cost of living is generally lower.
I am Canadian and have been out of Canada for as long as you have been in it (not here in the UK the whole time). I live in rural Kent and love it. I moved here from Brighton, which is exactly what someone wrote earlier. It is a big town, though, and it felt like everyone was a massage therapist/ yoga teacher/ doula (which I am). I found the community to be saturated with "like minded people" and felt like who ever died with the most wooden toys won. That being said, it would have been great to live somewhere close, like Lewis, and then have Brighton there for natural product shopping, classes, art etc when you needed it. Where I am now is equal distance to the Forest Row Steiner school, and the Canterbury Steiner school. Both are beautiful and very different and both have large Steiner communities surrounding them. I am pretty alone in my earthy childhood upbringing but am surrounded by farmers and people who are very connected to the earth. I can access culture when I want and I am appreciative of that. I like the non-competitive side of having a unique parenting style in this area. I just thought I would share :)
Im in a simular boat right now but things are a tad faster paced as I move a week Monday with no fixed area!! Not scary much lol
After months and months of searching we have found Lincolnshire the cheapest for houses looks like decent school and options for work etc.
Im moving to where ever I can get a job unless I can get away with staying at home with my boys.
I was considering going to Canada instead of going back home to England. Im sooo glad Ive chosen blighty.
Good luck with the research, take care it dosent consume you like it did me lol