About Us

South Oxfordshire

The District of South Oxfordshire covers nearly 260 square miles. Its boundary reaches from the edge of the City of Oxford in the north-west along the borders of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire to the outskirts of Reading in the south. It has four main towns: Didcot, Henley, Thame and Wallingford, with Didcot becoming increasingly dominant as the main urban centre. Within 10 years, some 25 per cent of the district's population will live in Didcot.

Much of the district is rural in nature, with the land in agricultural use. The main exception to this is the southeast where the wooded Chiltern Hills rise sharply from the Thames Valley. Most of the southern end of the district sits in either the Chilterns or North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The northeast of the district forms part of the Oxford Green Belt. In total, around 70 per cent of the district has a green belt or AONB designation.

As of March 2011, there were 134,300 people living in South Oxfordshire district.

The district has a mixed economy with no over-reliance on any one employer. Smaller rather than larger enterprises are typical. There is very little heavy industry and an increasingly dominant service sector. A significant proportion of the district's population commutes to work outside the area, principally along to the M40/M4 road corridors to London and by rail from Didcot Parkway and Reading to London.

Agriculture remains an important land use within the District. Tourism plays an important part in the district's economy, centring on the Thames and Chilterns. There are also important links to the surrounding tourist hot spots of Oxford, Windsor and the Cotswolds.

Vale of White Horse

Lying between the Ridgeway and the River Thames, the Vale of White Horse - whose name comes from the oldest chalk figure in Britain dating back to around 1000 BC - stretches from the edge of Oxford to the edge of the Cotswolds.

The district has three historic market towns - Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage - and also covers Botley, located on the edge of Oxford, as well as the large village of Grove, near Wantage. There are many picturesque villages set in the beautiful Vale countryside.

Only 60 miles from London and with good access links to the Midlands and the Southwest via the M4, A34 and M40, the Vale is home to many cutting-edge businesses and has a thriving economy with a highly skilled workforce.

The Vale is also a popular place to visit, with plenty to see and do.

It has a population of 120,988, according to the 2011 Census.

Tourism and events

There is a wealth of information about Southern Oxfordshire on this website for those who are visiting or new to the area.


Corporate plans

Corporate plans are close to completion for both councils for the period 2016 to 2020, and we will be expecting the chief executive to play an active part in delivering housing growth and regeneration projects.

The plans for 2012 to 2016 can be viewed here:

South corporate plan

Vale corporate plan

Devolution brings challenges and opportunities for the councils. Oxfordshire's districts are setting the agenda with bold proposals which can be seen here:



The councils publish monthly board reports showing their performance. An example is here:

Board report

Our most recent residents' surveys are here:

South residents' survey

Vale residents' survey

And here's what our employees think about working for the councils:

Best Companies survey results

Credit: Chris Love