KING’S SUTTON A few London commuters travel regularly from King’s Sutton. Others prefer to drive to Bicester, which has a more frequent service. The majority of local residents work in Banbury or Oxford. Apart from the village green, which is dotted with thatched cottages and 18th-century stone houses, the property mix is almost exactly 50 per cent old stone houses, 50 per cent council brick, which residents say makes for a good community. They take advantage of the opportunities to get together through the Playing Fields Association, small tennis club and two churches. There are three village shops, one with a post office, and three pubs. Children go to the local primary school, then to Middleton Cheney Secondary. Despite the fact that several farms and barns have been sold off for conversion, there is still a farming presence. A stone-built four-bedroom house costs £320,000; a two-bedroom cottage with a garden £200,000.
Neighbouring Charlton is a one-street village with a popular pub. Pleasant stone houses cost from £500,000 for a Grade II listed four-bedroom cottage with walled garden. Aynho has pretty cottages, too, plus one or two Georgian houses priced at around £450,000 for four bedrooms. Both Aynho and Souldern have been badly affected by noise from the M40, but those who don’t mind say the A41 was bad enough anyway. There are some big properties around here, hidden away in a couple of acres, and for £620,000 you could find something quite special.
Deddington, a couple of miles south-west of King’s Sutton, was equal in importance to Banbury until the canals and railways bypassed it. It is officially a town, but its atmosphere is villagey and it is most sought-after. Houses and small shops gather around the spacious market place, where a thriving, award-winning farmers’ market is held on Saturdays. Side roads are lined with honey-coloured stone houses and cottages, many of them Grade II listed. A busy social life revolves around the primary school, the church, a variety of clubs from football, bowls and badminton to yoga and nature conservation, and there are a number of cottage businesses. Residents work locally as surveyors, accountants and solicitors, and the area is also popular with pilots flying from Heathrow and Birmingham. ‘They put a pin in the map between the two and seem to hit Deddington,’ says one local. Commuters have tended to drive to Milton Keynes, half-an-hour’s train journey from London, but now that the Banbury line is so much better they don’t need to. Otherwise, the M40 is close enough for convenience and has de-stressed the A423 between Oxford and Banbury. Prices range from £265,000 for a two-bedroom, double-fronted period cottage to £400,000 for a four-bedroom mid-terraced cottage near the village centre.