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Exmouth artist Julia Gash tells of her love for Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 15:58 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:09 17 January 2019

Julia Gash at Exmouth beach.

Julia Gash at Exmouth beach.

Julia Gash

When artist Julia Gash was looking for somewhere to live by the sea, she discovered Exmouth, which shone out to her. Here, she describes her love for the town and how she would like to help it develop.

Artist Julia Gash moved to Exmouth from Sheffield three years ago, after a weekend in Whitby made her realise she wanted to live by the sea. But, rather than the chilly East coast, she and her partner were looking for a sea you could swim in without getting frostbite and a sandy beach, along with good transport links. She says Exmouth ‘shone out like a beacon’; she sold her business and they made the move. Julia tells us what she loves about living in Exmouth, and how she wants to help shape its future.

Moving from an inner-city, industrial northern existence to quiet, seaside town life was a huge cultural shift but one that we made easily.

The sea was, and still is, the big draw and never a week goes by that we are not in it or near it, whether it’s walking along the promenade, over the cliffs to Sandy Bay or taking the number 57 to Topsham and making our way back home along the estuary trail.

I work from home, creating portraits of places that celebrate the unique culture, iconic landmarks and local wildlife of a specific location. I work with licensees all over the world so emails roll in from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, France, USA and Canada on a daily basis, intermixed with Skype calls, Facetime and regular trips around the world. I am rarely in Exmouth for more than a couple of weeks but treasure every moment in the town that I now call home.

Julia Gash's map of Exmouth.Julia Gash's map of Exmouth.

Over the past year, we have renovated our 1920s seaside bungalow into a three-storey, contemporary home that looks out to the cliffs at Sandy Bay.

We have lived on a building site for most of the year and also built a kitchen garden where we practise the good life.

There’s nothing better than a home-grown beet or freshly pulled radish!

Immersing myself in life in Exmouth has included getting involved in Girl Guiding and I am now a qualified leader and second in command at the 4th Withycombe Raleigh Girl Guides!

One of Julia's two cats, Bibi, in her studioOne of Julia's two cats, Bibi, in her studio

Having been a Girl Guide myself, I recognise how valuable this institution is in empowering girls to try new experiences and make friends outside school in a safe space.

I cannot think of a better way to spend a couple of hours a week and I also have made lots of new friends and learnt lots by becoming a leader.

The mild climate in Devon is very different from the cold north.

Woolly jumpers and polar fleece have made way for Breton-style tops and shorts.

Julia with her crop of radishesJulia with her crop of radishes

Plants thrive in our Exmouth garden, which would have not survived the cold in Sheffield. I have never seen so many different species of birds in our garden (a neighbour has counted 30!).

I was so intrigued by such colourful and unfamiliar feathered friends that I signed up to a birdwatching course at Darts Farm and I am now an RSPB member and novice birdwatcher but I do now know my oyster catcher from my avocet.

One of the reasons why Exmouth stood out for us was that we could see that it was a town with an agenda to take itself forward into the 21st century.

We wanted to live somewhere that had vision and the courage to see it through.

I am therefore involved in the consultation process that is headed up by Wayne Hemingway and his team, and look forward to some of the ideas to regenerate the sea front becoming a reality.

I want to relax with a flat white overlooking the sea. I look forward to playing boules on the beach as part of a regular team and saying hello to lots of new visitors and residents who have seen the Exmouth light and life and like me, like it and want to be a part of carving out its future.

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