The Community of Brize Norton
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|Photos at the Brize Norton Annual Cricket Festival and 30th Horticultural Show. Bank Holiday Monday, 25 August 2003
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 serves as a bypass to Brize Norton village and relieves 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.
The village has a population of around 1,000 with Cotswold stone houses near the Church and spread along Station Road that leads to Bampton. A further group of houses lie alongside Burford Road. The village dates from the Middle Ages and is mentioned in the Doomsday Book.
Up to the first half of the 20th century the village was a self-sufficient agricultural community linked with Bampton. It had a post office, several shops, and a garage. It also shared the nearby station with trains to Lechlade, Witney, and Oxford, and beyond. It now has just two pubs (The Chequers and The Masons Arms) but is served by a modern well-equipped village hall adjacent to a recreation ground with a cricket pitch and pavilion, and a modern adventure playground. Five farms survive and there is a small industrial estate near the old railway line and a local family run builders’ merchant that has an extensive stock.
The majority of the population work outside of the village and rely on shops and amenities in Carterton, Witney, Swindon and Oxford. The Post Office now runs twice weekly from the cricket pavilion in the village. The village has several excellent sports teams in particular football and cricket.
The village has its own primary school (with a good Ofsted Report) whilst toddlers and preschool meet in the Village Hall. The church has good relations with the primary school. Burford School, the main catchment area secondary school is served by a school bus from the village. There are also secondary schools in Carterton and Witney.
The village comes under West Oxfordshire District Council and has its own Parish Council. The village has been successful in the Best Kept Village competition, and runs a number of events including an annual cricket festival and horticultural show (Photos at the Brize Norton Annual Cricket Festival and 30th Horticultural Show. Bank Holiday Monday, 25 August 2003).