The Communities of Brize Norton and Carterton


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Introduction

The town of Carterton and the village of Brize Norton lie adjacent to one another in the South of the Cotswolds. They are close to Burford, Bampton and Witney. Oxford lies fifteen miles to the East and the Upper Thames Valley is five miles to the South. Carterton is one of Oxfordshire’s newest towns serving RAF Brize Norton.

There is a very significant housing development within Carterton just outside the Brize Norton village boundary to the West. A new road from this housing estate will serve as a bypass to Brize Norton village and relieve some of the traffic. Housing development within the village of Brize Norton has been limited and consists of infill. There are plans to turn the centre of the village into a conservation area.

Brize Norton and Carterton are well placed for tourists to the Cotswolds, Oxford and the Upper Thames Valley. There are a number of bed and breakfast establishments.

There is a Community Hospital and Minor Injuries Clinic in Witney and a new Health Centre in Carterton. The population relies on general practitioners in Carterton, Bampton and Witney, and the main hospitals are in Oxford. Ambulance services come from Witney, fire services from Bampton, and police services from Carterton and Witney. Just outside RAF Brize Norton is a garage and shop open twenty-four hours.

Leisure facilities are extensive. They include tennis courts, badminton, judo and dancing, golf at Burford, horse riding, indoor swimming at Witney and outdoor swimming at Carterton. There is a leisure centre in Witney and a new centre being built in Carterton that also has Astroturf facilities at Carterton Community College. There are cinemas in Witney, Oxford and Swindon, and restaurants in Witney, Burford, Oxford and surrounding villages. Oxford also has an ice rink and three theatres.

There is a frequent bus service. This runs through Brize Norton village between Carterton, Witney and Oxford with connections in Oxford to London, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, and many other cities and towns. Oxford is probably the most convenient railway station though commuters travel from Charlbury where parking is easier and some people also go by car to Didcot or Swindon.

Carterton

The town of Carterton began in 1900 when a Mr Carter bought land from the Duke of Marlborough to sell in plots of land to incoming ’homesteaders’. Development continued slowly up to the 2nd World War when Carterton was still a small village. There was a RAF grass airstrip. During the ’cold war’ the Americans took over the Air Base, developed it and Carterton began a period of rapid expansion. The Americans left in the early 60’s and the RAF came back in to make RAF Brize Norton their largest transport and refueling base.

The village, now a town, continues to grow rapidly and the population is now approx. 15,000. There is a new housing estate of some 1,200 homes in process of development, plans for development of RAF housing and a further smaller estate.

The RAF has a large influence on the town. The base employs some 3,400 military and 500 civilians, a significant proportion living in Carterton in military and also private housing. Consequent upon this is a very mobile population affecting all areas of town life. 

Carterton is friendly and safe with the many facilities of a small town.

There are five primary schools and one senior school. The newest school, in the housing estate, has just been built. It is linked to St John’s Church as an aided CE school and there at present 64 children on role with a nursery opening after Easter and a growing role as houses are built on the estate and others move into the town.


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© Phil Holmes  Updated on Tuesday, 27 May  2003