Cherwell is a predominantly rural district in North Oxfordshire centred around the River Cherwell valley, where the Oxford Canal follows the gentle meandering course of the river. There are three urban centres-Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington, all with good rail and road connections.The population of the district is approximately 161,016 (2021 Census).
The historic market town of Banbury is set amidst the gentle rolling hills in the north of the district, with the Cross from the nursery rhyme “Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross” set at the meeting point of the roads from Oxford, Warwick and Shipston-on-Stour.The town has the benefit of direct access to the M40 motorway and it provides the main market and shopping centre for a wide area, with a twice weekly market, an old town of atmospheric lanes with independent shops and then more modern shopping at the Council-owned Castle Quay shopping centre. The quarter straddling the Oxford Canal at the very heart of the town was the recent focus of an exciting regeneration project by the Council which included the opening of The Light, an entertainment venue with a premium seven screen cinema, 10 lane bowling alley and waterfront restaurants.
An historic market town 12 miles north-east of Oxford, Bicester has seen rapid growth in recent years. It was first awarded Garden Town Status in 2014 and has been acknowledged as a key area for growth in the UK, receiving central government funding to enable provision of a range of innovative new homes and facilities with plenty of access to green spaces. Bicester’s close proximity to the M40 has ensured continued investment in new business and industrial developments whilst significant numbers of visitors are attracted by the luxury shopping destination of Bicester Village and the heritage interest of Bicester Motion, the UK’s first dedicated centre for the restoration and display of vintage and classic cars, motorcycles and aeroplanes.
Situated just five miles north of Oxford, Kidlington remains officially a village despite its size (13,600 – 2021 Census), and at its centre is a thriving community with a village atmosphere. There are also several industrial and business parks, including the recently developed Oxford Technology Park which provides a base for science based businesses in close proximity to the research and academic centres of Oxford. Thames Valley Police and the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service both have their headquarters in Kidlington, whilst London Oxford Airport is on the parish boundary.