June 11, 2013 at 8:09 am #5425
Hello! We are still thinking about moving to Oxfordshire, but are now considering south Oxfordshire, so my husband can commute from didcot. The schools around Abingdon look good (any recommendations?!), but trying to establish any nice villages. Have seen on the intent some nice houses in long wittenham… Would LOVE any advice on villages that are good -preferably social- and those to avoid…
Thank you!!!June 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm #5429
There are parking charges to leave a car at Didcot Station so I normally cycle from Abingdon (30 minutes). To be closer to the station Sutton Courtney and Steventon good sociable villages as is Long Wittenham. I don’t know the village schools so well. But I do know that in Abingdon there are some excellent primary schools but because of a mini baby boom it can be difficult to get your school of choice. Two are judged outstanding by Ofsted (Thomas Reade and Rush Common). Personally I love living in the centre of Abingdon-on-Thames with lots of nearby river walks. Didcot now has an up and coming shopping centre. So between the two and Oxford not far away it is a good location.June 13, 2013 at 9:30 am #5443
Many of the villages are nice in South Oxfordshire (not too helpful, sorry)! Sutton Courtenay was recently listed in The Times as one of the top 10 villages for families, and is popular with commuters who need easy access to Didcot Parkway.
With my work hat on: We have created a video guide about Abingdon & South Oxfordshire which might give you a flavour of the area you’re moving to: http://www.finders.co.uk/tenants/abingdon-navigator-guide
Also, each of our property descriptions shows which schools the home is in the catchment area of (and also includes local fee-paying schools) and you can also search for a home based on the catchment area of a school.
With my ‘personal’ hat on: I grew up in Sutton Courtenay and went to The European School (which I think is now The Europa School) and loved it. Sure, when you’re a teenager it’s a bit of a pain to not live in Oxford city centre, but looking back I had a great time growing up there!
If you want any help finding a rental property or if you have any other questions, feel free to email me: email@example.com
VictoriaJune 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm #5452
Didcot Parkway is a good place to commute by train (to London?) from – the “parkway” bit means there’s a big car park so no problem getting a space, and there are plenty of trains as a couple of lines go through it, and I understand that the season ticket price is barely more than from Reading, for obscure historical reasons. Also a reasonable chance of getting a seat in second class.
As for villages – I hope my remarks don’t offend anyone – just my opinion. For the record, I live in Harwell (about 2 miles west of Didcot):
You don’t say if you are in the market for private schools or state schools. I’ll assume the latter for now.
Didcot is circled by many villages, so you have a wide choice. Almost all of them have traffic problems, due to people trying to get through to either Oxford/Abingdon or to Harwell business site (which is actually nearer Chilton village than Harwell village). These are due to get worse due to the Didcot area being where most all the new housing for South Oxfordshire and Vale of the White Horse District Councils will be sited. There is currently major house building going on between Didcot and Harwell – due to be 2,300 houses and then plans for a similar number again in the decade or two to come. Another massive housing estate is due to start shortly between the north of Didcot and Long Whittenham (basically extending the existing Ladygrove housing estate further to the NE). This won’t physically encroach on the villages to the north anything like the building to the west will on Harwell village, but it is something to be aware of.
The one village I can think of which is unaffected by traffic, and which is a reasonable size for community activities to flourish, is East Hendred (about 5 miles from Didcot, in the Wantage direction). If I was buying again in this area, that’s where I’d go. It’s lovely. There are 2 well-regarded schools (one CofE, one RC), 2 churches (ditto), shop, community activities, etc. Surrounded by lots of footpaths, quick access to the Ridgeway.
Issues with Sutton Courtney – I have heard that the school is not well regarded – due to proximity to private schools and therefore some of the natural catchment being “creamed off”. It’s also a very “long” village ie a long distance end to end. This makes it feel a bit weird to me – you’ll have to have a look to see what I mean. The centre is very classic-villagey, but it goes on either side for quite a way. I wonder what this does for community cohesiveness.
Particular issues with villages to the north of Didcot – Long Whittenham, Appleford, etc – are the bottlenecks created by drivers trying to get over the Thames river crossings/heavy peak time traffic. Suggest you actually go there in rush hour and see what you’d be up against. Having said that, outside of rush hour, the traffic tends to be light. But you might want to avoid a property on the main street in a village and go for a side road instead. It is certainly possible to find that the main street in a village can have more traffic noise than a residential London street. So beware, if you’re after a quiet idyll.
Milton village – too small to have a critical mass of population sufficient to warrant its own school, shop, scouts, etc.
Harwell village (where I live) – LOTS of community activities. Key drawbacks – peak time traffic, due to get worse because of the building of THOUSANDS of houses on the farmland between Didcot & Harwell. Although I live here and love it, in all honesty, I would not advise you to buy here because of this. There is also more social housing here than you might think at first glance, and so there is what one might euphamistically call a socially diverse community – good in some ways, difficult in others. You might want to check this out in other villages too, if it bothers you. The primary school has also had an unimpressive couple of Ofsted reports recently. It’s actually pretty OK, but certainly doesn’t do enough to stretch its pupils in my opinion.
East & West Hagbourne (to SW of Didcot) also suffer from traffic probs (people trying to get to A34 or Harwell business site). W Hagbourne is too small to have its own school. E Hagbourne school has a v.good reputation, but there is not much physical gap between Didcot and E Hagbourne anymore, which would put me off.
Blewbury is lovely, but the high street is an A road (A417) although a relatively quiet one.
The villages out towards Wallingford/Cholsey are worth a look, but tend to be pretty small and significantly further away from Didcot station (South Moreton, North Moreton, Astold Tyrrold, Aston Upthorpe). I think the latter 2 villages are considered “swish” / exclusive.
Chilton is pretty small, but the school is good. There is new housing there near the school, but it’s a relatively small estate (c.200). The village is very close to the A34 so there’s passing traffic noise, although no through traffic through the village. It’s close to Harwell business site so surrounding roads can be busy at rush hour.
Hope this gives you some ideas. If you have any questions about a particular village, let us know.June 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm #5455
Wow Jane that is so helpful! I think we are thinking private (obviously these things can always change though!)
Thank you all-lots of things to consider!June 25, 2013 at 7:45 am #5555
Hello…any other recommendations !?June 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm #5594
Have you considered further south. We live north of Newbury about 3 miles from M4. There are plenty of small villages on the Downs, very pretty very rural and in an ANOB so fairly protected from building. There are some larger villages, Compton, Chieveley with reasonable size Primary schools, Hermitage has Brockhurst and Marlston House Prep school which is co-ed. Didcot is about 20/25min drive depending on how fast you drive up the A34, my husband and others do it from our village as the trains are much more regular than Newbury which is closer.
We live in a tiny Hamlet near a village called Peasemore and they are very rural, on the other side (east) of the A34 Hampstead Norreys is a bigger village with pub, school, community shop and I hear good things about it – it would be a great village for a move out of London.
Any just something to consider.
KateJune 28, 2013 at 4:21 pm #5595
I actually went to boarding school in hermitage!! It is beautiful but not sure I can live there again!
What are the good private preps around there?July 2, 2013 at 11:13 am #5605
You must be a Downe House girl then?!
Lots of the children go to Brockhurst and Marlston House Prep, about 3 miles from Hermitage. Very old school Enid Blyton prep (the children are allowed to climb trees etc), Co-Ed but from year 2 the children are taught in single sex classes until Year 7 when those that have left for Girls schools have gone and those remaining are Co-Ed. Lots of sport (daily), musical, horse riding on site (in the 500 acres of grounds), claim every child gets their first choice of school. We like it, was completely opposite to the Victorian Prison my children started their education in in Battersea.
People travel from almost Hungerford, Highclere, Pangbourne, Compton, Brightwalton to get to the school.
Anyway hope that helps.
KAugust 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm #5800
You forgot to say that Cholsey does have a station and the trains stop there.
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