Didcot Parkway - any plus points apart from its strategic position?

(56 Posts)
allaflutter Wed 29-May-13 00:31:20

Apart from the good quick rail links to London and other cities, is it really as dull as people say on MN?

I have another thread about relatively inexpensive areas that may be on the up, but still compiling a list (Bedford, etc) as not a lot on the market in those.

What is Didcot like for:
green spaces
shops and places to eat/cafes
crime levels
connections to the Midlands, rather than just the west

One issue is, it seems to be all modern houses - are there period areas, and how far from the station? Is any nice area within walking distance or easy bus/taxi to station?


It's all modern ime because it was only really created for the massive power station.
It's ugly and boring IMO - there are much nicer places in the surrounding area for much the same prices.
I don't like didcott - can you tell?! grin

ArabellaBeaumaris Wed 29-May-13 07:57:35

I don't know Didcot itself but there are beautiful villages around it.

There's also a big rise in unemployment in the area so crime has risen in line with that.

If you live in one of the surrounding areas people will say how rough it is in comparison, I'm not sure how true that is or whether its just snobbyness. Obviously most places in Oxfordshire are not 'rough' when compared to other counties but its all relative smile

Abra1d Wed 29-May-13 08:10:50

A huge number of new houses are planned in Didcot and its environs, so be careful where you go if you look at surrounding areas. Villages like Harwell are very pretty but will be altered, character-wise, by having fields turned into new builds. The power station has now closed and apparently parts of it may be coming down, but will be there for a little bit. It's hard to miss.

alienbanana Wed 29-May-13 08:12:28

Its got some lovely villages nearby. I don't think its reputation is deserved really..

It wasn't created for the power station - it was there long before that (and now the coal power station is being demolished, if you dont like the look of it), there are lots of things locally that encouraged the growth... AEA technology,Milton park etc.

I wasn't aware of the job issue in Didcot though..

Don't underestimate the travel links - its really easy to travel anywhere from didcot.

There are some nicer

alienbanana Wed 29-May-13 08:14:54

I thought the permission wasn't granted for the fields between harwell and didcot?

The villages are really nice. Some can be rat runs in the morning, esp ones on the way to Abingdon or in the direction of the m40. Ones like hagbourne are lovely, despite their proximity to didcot

vess Wed 29-May-13 08:16:37

Not sure about the other things but it has a nice swimming pool with a wave machine and a slide, close to a lovely big playground. :-)

Abra1d Wed 29-May-13 08:59:57

I read one thing one week and one thing the next week, alienbanana! Latest seems to be 2,150 homes at Valley Park, Harwell Parish, east of the A34.

I actually don't find Didcot too bad. There is a lovely little community hospital and a library and that side of the town still retains something of a traditional suburban feel. The new shopping centre isn't bad, either, though not exactly Bluewater. And it's easy to get out and about into the countryside, or nip on the train to Oxford or Bath.

alienbanana Wed 29-May-13 09:12:38

Oh bloody hell... That's not great

Abra1d Wed 29-May-13 12:24:37

Of course, it could all change again--there have been so many reverses already!

allaflutter Wed 29-May-13 14:29:49

thanks everyone for replies! hmm I was hoping for something more positive - oh well! grin. I take it, no even a big park in town or nearby there?
I did mean to ask, if not Didcot itself, then any nice surrounding places which have their own station a couple of stops away to didcot?
I'd consider Abingdon, but no train there.

Pagwatch Wed 29-May-13 14:33:29

Goring, Pangbourne?

Didcot is grim tbh.

Abra1d Wed 29-May-13 16:12:39

Culham or Radley might be worth looking at.

alienbanana Wed 29-May-13 16:18:34

Cholsey is another one.

The area is lacking a bit tbh.. I wouldnt live there now.

Have you looked at Thame, or that sort of area?

alienbanana Wed 29-May-13 16:20:40

Actually, a lot of the area is ok.. but a lot of the nice market towns nearby don't have rail links, which is probably the only reason why didcot is still expanding.

Ooh, what about Newbury?

Thame has haddenham and Thame parkway close (it's actually closer to haddenham from memory)

Loads of lovely villages nearby, but Didcot itself is pretty bloody grim.

allaflutter Wed 29-May-13 19:22:45

wow, it's THAT bad then! shock
Thame, Abingdon and Radley - I've heard they aer nice, but as alien says, strangely no rail links - how do people commute, only by car to London, or do they all drive to Didcot then train? I assume it's no good relying on buses to the station .
I have no doubt villages that are nice, but I'm not ready for a village, lived in cities so far. Goring is v.expensive, isn't it?

allaflutter Wed 29-May-13 19:23:40

'that villages' in last paragraph.

alienbanana Wed 29-May-13 19:36:07

People bus into Oxford and train from there, or drive to the park and ride in Oxford and bus to London. Some will drive to Didcot and train from there, but reckon that's mostly the villages south of Abingdon.

I don't think there are a huge number of people who live in towns without rail links that do commute to London.. its just not really feasible.

The rail link really is Didcots major selling point.... The place may be a bit of a shithole, but its really easy to get out wink

(its really not that bad btw... I'd live there over Abingdon any day!)

alienbanana Wed 29-May-13 19:39:27

Thame (well, Haddenham) has rail links, so does Radley. Abingdon used to have a line, but its not been active in decades

allaflutter Wed 29-May-13 20:10:19

grin at 'shithole, but easy to get out'!
alien, so people bus from where to Oxford? all of these towns?
Is Thame/Haddenham nicer than Radley and Abingdon then (thought Ab was nicest)? Are T and H linked - or is it a hike from Thame to H station?
Do you think they will be growing in value for houses, or the opposite?

Didcot really isn't as bad as many people make out!

In answer to your questions, shops and places to eat are predominantly in and around the Orchard Centre, there are plans for expansion of this area over the next few years.

Quite a few green spaces and parks in Didcot and plenty in the surrounding areas.

Crime levels really are very low when you compare to UK averages. If you take a look at the Thames Valley Police page for the area there are links to the monthly updates which will give you an idea of the kind of incidents occurring locally and you can also look at the crime figures TVP

Connections to Midlands by rail and car are pretty good.

There are a large number of modern houses but the main areas for period properties are around the Lydalls Road, Foxhall Road and Manor Road area which is where the original village was and is very close to the train station.


Pagwatch Wed 29-May-13 21:42:36

It's a lovely area to live in if you don't commute.
My sisters live and work in Abingdon, wallingford and Benson. They are really nice if you live and work there.
I lived in Cholsey and commuted to the city. It was ok. Didcot was shit. My mother still lives there and it's a bit grim.
Yes, goring and pangbourne are expensive. So are Abingdon and other nice towns/villages . It's an expensive area

allaflutter Thu 30-May-13 10:59:23

thanks, MrsAlways, a more of a balanced view wink, but I think the rest of the posters have put me off now, ha. Unless these expansion plans are impressive? Still, I may go and visit - thanks for mentioning areas for older houses.
Well, Pag, I was surprised to see on rightmove that Ab isn't really expensive, nothing like Oxford - I'm sure it's due to lack of rail. How long is it by buses to the station? Is Wallingford better, and nearaer to rail? heard it mentioned favourable a few times. Is it tiny? Thing is, I don't need a daily commute, but say twice a week to london and I travel around to other places (Midlands, Bath etc).

allaflutter Thu 30-May-13 11:00:35


Abra1d Thu 30-May-13 12:11:03

Abingdon is not a particularly interesting place to live itself. The town planners have failed to make best use of its lovely location and the old abbey. Some bits are lovely--round Albert Park, for instance, but there are plenty of rather dull housing estates. It does have brilliant sports facilities, though, and some good shops and the schools are good. Just a bit dull.

allaflutter Fri 31-May-13 00:07:38

do you know Bedford, Abra? that's in my list already. Wonder how Abingdon or other places mentioned compare.

MiniPenguinMaker Fri 31-May-13 00:21:06

Didcot is so much better connected for London than Abingdon or Wallingford. I lived in one of the lovely villages and just adored it. Beautiful countryside - the Ridgeway - and, by car or train, convenient for the West Country or London. 45 minutes in to London, very easy. I'm not sure about connections to the Midlands as I never really went.

Abingdon has a regular bus service into Oxford, stopping in town and at the station, but it does take quite a while. It has quite a bit going on, though, and is quite aesthetically pleasing in its way and well connected to Oxford.

Wallingford is just really far away from anywhere and doesn't have great bus services. I worked there for a while and while it is quite a pretty market town I would hate to live there. Cholsey is just near Wallingford and IMHO is peaceful but quite dull. Its main advantage is that it's got a train station to get in to London - but the trains that stop there are slow, so you have to change at Reading anyway, making Didcot much more convenient for a fast commute.

I really wouldn't be surprised if Didcot 'went up in the world' in future. Many of the local state schools are considered to be very good. It's such a fabulous location and it's surrounded by such gorgeous countryside as well as being well-connected. If the actual town itself picked up, it would be miles nicer than most other options nearby.

MiniPenguinMaker Fri 31-May-13 00:24:22

Oh and yes there are areas of Didcot with more period property - the 'old' bit is more to the North of the town and is quite walkable to the station. I wouldn't say it was a huge amount nicer than the newer bits, TBH, though.

I think didcot has the ability to go either way, it'll either rise as it is well connected or it'll flounder due to lack of employment from shutting the power plant.

Haddenham train goes from London Victoria to Birmingham via haddeham and Thame which sounds ideal for you. Obviously there are other stops on that line too - I'm not sure whether Bicester is

MiniPenguinMaker Fri 31-May-13 05:43:54

Yes, Bicester has a direction connection both to London Marylebone (c. 45 minutes to an hour) and to Birmingham. House prices are cheap compared to Oxford and it's pretty nice. Might be a good option!

prissyenglisharriviste Fri 31-May-13 05:52:09


allaflutter Fri 31-May-13 10:23:47

thanks Mini - a very useful post! I assume from this that it takes more than 20min by bus from Ab to Oxford? Didcot - as Jazz says, it may even get worse after the plant closure - do they have any plans regarding use of the plant site? Logically it should be a very popular town, is it the housing stock that's awful? I mean all these villages around would benefit from good shopping etc in Didcot - where do they go shopping/eating out, if D is awful? I'd kick myself if it does go up in price hugely - but this will happen if it gets funded for high streets and gets done up by someone who cares.
I thought Bicester was one new housing development/estate (even though probably all clean).
How is Thame ideal, Jazz, can you describe it please? and how long to London?
Banbury - is it also very modern re housing? is it on rail?

MiniPenguinMaker Fri 31-May-13 11:59:54

I'm glad it was helpful!

Abingdon: yes, I generally find it takes 30 minutes on the bus in to Oxford. Buses start quite early (5.30 I think?) and run until around midnight. If you then add 1 hour to get to either London or Birmingham, it does seem quite far from the beaten track - to me anyway.

Bicester: there are some gorgeous period houses here! Don't rule it out - go and have a visit. And, to my mind, the period properties there are a steal. The centre of town is the older bit. There's a regular bus service in to Oxford and that takes c. 30-45 minutes depending on traffic. Trains to London run from Bicester North and take 45 minutes - 1 hour 15 min. Trains to Oxford run from Bicester town and take just over 20 minutes but this line is likely to close for a couple of years while they upgrade it.

I think Bicester might actually be quite interesting to you. It is kind of like Didcot in terms of convenience for London, but it's also got great rail links to Birmingham, so good for Midlands too. Bicester Village for designer shopping. Some nice restaurants and lovely village pubs nearby. Worth a look?

Thame: closer to London, but further from Midlands and less well connected to Oxford. Quite pretty, period property etc.

rubyflipper Fri 31-May-13 12:24:02

Stick to the south side of Banbury for period housing and leafier streets. Otherwise it's mostly new-builds (which aren't my cup of tea)

Relaxedandhappyperson Fri 31-May-13 12:29:19

Didcot is OK. Not a shit-hole at all, though not very exciting either.

Lots of new housing, ok shops and easy to get out of.

Don't bother living nearby and thinking of driving to the station to commute: the roads in the area are hideously busy.

Not sure the power station actually employed that many at the end, and Milton Park/Harwell are part of a big Gov't science/regeneration area getting plenty of investment so there should be plenty of jobs around.

Abra1d Fri 31-May-13 16:04:13

Allaflutter, don't know Bedford, sorry.

Bicester is OK but there are plans for very large housing estates to the south of the town (the M40/Bicester Village side). It can already be very busy traffic-wise, in the town.

alienbanana Fri 31-May-13 16:40:49

I don't think closing the power station will have a huge effect tbh. Its only the coal one that's going, not the whole thing and there are huge business parks, AEA technology, and lots more huge companies very close by that employ thousands of people. Of course it will have a bit of an impact now, but not in the long term.

Even if people do struggle to find work in didcot itself the transport links are so good its easy enough to commute.

I can't see house prices shooting up - they're building thousands of new houses so there isn't going to be the same demand as in previous years.

My Mum said yesterday she's worried it'll get like Swindon - now there's a worrying thought! wink

turkeyboots Fri 31-May-13 17:07:19

Swindon is 15mins away on the train and is nicer than its reputation - which keeps house prices low! Has cafes and green spaces and loads of community festivals. Didcot is all estate agents and charity shops IME.

Alos there is train to Cheltenham which picks up the West Coast line, so can go north withouth having to go through London.

Thame is very pretty but with all the shops you'd need if you didn't have a car- has a bus to Oxford/Aylesbury every 30 mins.

It's the haddenham and Thame railway links that will interest you most though as it has regular trains to London Victoria and Birmingham.

rubyflipper Fri 31-May-13 21:23:53

Trains from Haddenham and Thames terminate at Marylebone, not Victoria, by the way.

allaflutter Fri 31-May-13 22:37:51

thanks, Jazz and ruby - yes, I thought Victoria would be strange, Marylebone is fine for me. How long is the journey from Thame? Is the station not in thame though but in Haddenham - how far from residential Thame? is thame a proper town or more of a village?

I'm nore interested in Derby in Mids, not B'ham (never really go there) , but useful to know about cheltenham link from Swindon, turkey. I am already vaguely considering Swindon, but it's after Bedfor on list as it's still over an hour commute (train plus getting to Old town which is not a walking distance) and I still haven't actually been there.

Mini, thanks fr giving me more food for thought. Bicester sounds good but too far, I think - 1.15 plus time from station (unless period houses are very close to it), and indeed quick link to Oxford would be a major bonus - but if it's about to close, not great. You sound quite lukewarm about Thame. more expensive, tiny?

Relaxedandhappyperson Sat 01-Jun-13 06:06:56

Thame is much nicer than Didcot but the station is a drive away 2 or 3 miles); can't walk there unless you live in Haddenham which is just a dormitory village.

Oops not Victoria - sorry! I used to get that train once a week when I was a teen too...baby brain!

Thame is more expensive, it's a town rather than a village but it doesn't have as many shops as Bicester.
Thame does still have a nice family atmosphere/community and good schools though if you want those.

Yes the train station isn't actually in Thame... It's a short drive/bus away but not ideal for daily commute IMO - fine for a few days though.

Bicester is great for shops and good priced housing for the area, the trains are ok and the buses to Oxford are regular. It does feel a little soulless though. I always think Bicester village looks like a toy town! If you have teens this is where they're likely to get a job.

vess Sat 01-Jun-13 08:33:48

Lots of people live in Thame and commute to London. It takes about 45 min on the train, but you need to get to the station which is about 2 miles away from the town. There is a regular bus service which most people prefer, because it costs £6 to park at the station for a day.
Thame is about 15 - 20 min away by car from Oxford (not in rush hour) and probably a bit longer by bus, like 30 min maybe.
I think Bicester is the next stop after Haddenham on the Chiltern line.

Abra1d Sat 01-Jun-13 16:42:49

Thame is a lovely town--bustling, nice shops.

sarahrellyboo Fri 26-Jul-13 12:49:07

I think it's a great town.
I have lived here all my life. There is no issue with crime...with crime rates being drastically lower than national averages.
The parks are well kept and plentiful. There is a swimming pool, cinema and lots of countryside within walking distance.
This town was not created because of the power station...so those who say that clearly don't know the history of it.
The train station is good and generally runs well, it quick links to everywhere and there are good bus links too.
The family centres around this town are good...there are 3...there is always something on during the week for kids to do and events organised around the town on weekend quite frequently.

allaflutter Fri 26-Jul-13 22:51:24

thanks sarah! I ve written it off and still never went to look, but maybe I should, What aer the shops like? can yo ulist supermarkets, and is there ANY nice-ish street of small shops (i.e. bakers, deli, coffee) - if so, which one so I can look on Google street view.

WineNot Sat 27-Jul-13 20:02:57

Swindon is bloody great and has an awful reputation. Suits me and DH just fine... House prices are far lower than the surrounding areas. The town centre is pretty hideous but there are district centres all over the place meaning you rarely have to go into town.

1 hr from London, 45 mins from Bristol/Reading/Cheltenham. On the doorstep of some spectacular countryside and the Cotswolds. Midlands is easy to get to via road or rail.

Some crap areas (what town doesn't have?) but I recommend taking a look.

Good luck!

allaflutter Sat 27-Jul-13 20:36:25

Wine, so what are these district centres specifically? are they close to the station at all? I keep going past it on the train but am put off by office blocks all around, and it does have a bad rep but I would g and look if I knew where to look.

liquidstate Tue 30-Jul-13 14:47:35

Everywhere easily commutable is expensive. All the lovely old houses are expensive.

I work in Oxford and commute from a village outside Reading which is on a branch line between reading and Newbury. I travel around Didcot etc a lot. I love Wallingford, Thame and Wantage but they don't have a train station. Goring/Streatley, Pangbourne, Cholsey are nice and have stations. Chosley probably less pricier than the others but more new build houses. A new development is being built at the moment called Cholsey Meadows which I drive past a lot and actually looks nice (and I really don't like new build 'estates').

Maybe worth a look?

Alterntively look at West Berkshire where I am. Mortimer, Thatcham etc are all on the branch line between Newbury and Reading with easy access to the M4, M3 and A34 (for Oxford, Didcot and Abingdon).

allaflutter Wed 31-Jul-13 00:34:51

interesting, liquid! I was wondering about the line to Newbury, strangely these places aer hardly ever mentioned on Mn or generally, so I kind of assumed they aern't great. Please tell me more - are there mainly new builds there or not, green spaces/parks, shops?
Goring is v.expensive - hear about that a lot! Pangbourne out sadly, as an unpleasant ex lives there.

WineNot Tue 06-Aug-13 21:51:56

Only just checked back on this thread!

District Centres are little groups of shops/businesses etc, in the middle of most of the suburbs, I.e. usually one district centre per suburb. Obviously some are closer to the station than others!

The one nearest to me has a Tesco, pub, vet, oesteopath (randomly!) church, takeaway, estate agent and hairdresser.

Ignore the landscape from the train window... Hideous!

Where to look depends on what you're looking for smile. Avoid the estates that begin with a 'P'

Villages like Wanborough, Wroughton and Wootton Bassett are nice and have more independent/interesting shops.

West Swindon = lots of greenery and Lydiard Park (lovely)

North Swindon = newer estates... Quite built up in Redhouse, Oakhurst and Taw Hill which I'm not a fan of. Haydon Wick/Haydon End, Groundwell, St Andrews Ridge all North Swindon and nice.

You're never more than 15 mins away from the M4 in Swindon either. Transport links are brilliant!

Check it out...

fluffyhamster1 Wed 21-Jan-15 13:37:20

I live in Didcot. If you have the money to live in one of the surrounding villages then they are much nicer - and have good private schools. But if you are not in such a league then Didcot has greatly improved in recent years. The new shopping centre is about to double. The power station is being partly demolished and replaced with housing and more businesses. It is one of the fastest growing areas for job creation in the country - with the space centre, science park, etc. You don't live in the town because it is pretty but because you can get to Oxford museums in under 15 minutes door-to-door, London in 45 minutes, Bath in 45 minutest, etc. Great walks nearby as well, the Thames is a 20 minute cycle ride away.

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