9 December, 2014
Crowthorne is a lovely village situated between Farnborough and Wokingham, in the Bracknell Forest district of Berkshire. Thanks to its close proximity to London, the village is a popular home for commuters and was, in fact, voted the second best place to live and bring up family in the whole of England and Wales (Family Friendly Hotspots Report 2013).
The survey considered schools, crime and safety, local amenities, green spaces and property prices amongst many other things, reinforcing many of the ideals which Crowthorne residents love about the village.
Housing and transport
With a population of around 6,000, Crowthorne is a modest-sized village, with a bustling community spirit. Surrounded by plenty of beautiful open space and picturesque woods, Crowthorne is equally well-placed for easy access to the M3, M25 and M4 for those commuters wishing for a slice of peace away from the office.
The village is well connected by public transport, with regular trains running from Crowthorne station to London via Reading. There is also a network of bus routes running through the village connecting with Bracknell and Sandhurst.
Crowthorne offers a mix of architectural styles dating from the mid-1800s right up to contemporary new-build homes. There are current plans for a carefully considered large development around the village that will see many new houses and amenities being built.
Residents of Crowthorne have become some of the first in Berkshire to benefit from the rolling out of speedy internet connectivity, as part of the Superfast Berkshire project. It's hoped that by September 2015, 90 per cent of Berkshire homes will be connected to fibre broadband.
Boasting outstanding schools including the highly rated Crowthorne Church of England Primary School (ages 4-11) and the Oaklands Junior School (ages 7-11), there are four primaries in total and a range of nurseries. Secondary-age children are served by the Edgbarrow School, which was judged 'Outstanding' by OFSTED. Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 scores are above the national average and this high level of schooling in the area makes it a popular choice for families.
Crowthorne is also home to the well-regarded Wellington College, one of the world's top coeducational day and boarding schools. The establishment has even seen famous faces such as Will Young and Rory Bremner grace its hallowed halls.
Sports and societies
An annual triathlon is just one of the notable events on the Crowthorne sporting calendar. A thriving variety of teams meet on a regular basis, including Crowthorne and Crown Wood Cricket Club, Crowthorne Rugby Club and the AFC Crowthorne football team. For golf fans the village has a tree-lined 18-hole course, as well as several other prominent clubs just a few miles away.
Being so close to the countryside offers a wealth of activities for outdoors enthusiasts, including a three acre lake dedicated to anglers, plenty of great walking routes and numerous cycle paths around the village.
For family days out the nearby California Country Park in Finchampstead and Shepherds Meadows in neighbouring Sandhurst offer exciting play parks and walking opportunities. Shepherd Meadows includes a skate park and wild flower meadows, while the California Country Park has an outdoor paddling pool which is open during the summer.
Edgbarrow Sports Centre has gym facilities as well as a range of indoor and outdoor options. Squash, basketball and short tennis courts are inside, whilst a new all-weather astroturf pitch has been laid outdoors.
For children, the village has active Cub, Scout, Brownie and Guide groups, not to mention various sports clubs and regular activities organised for youngsters by the sports centre.
Eating and drinking
There's a delicious array of eateries dotted around the centre of Crowthorne village, including great pub food and a choice of restaurants. Plus, for those with a penchant for real ale there are numerous options for grabbing the perfect pint.
The High Street has popular coffee shops, bistros and delis to discover. Those searching for a fine dining experience can enjoy several Michelin-starred pubs and restaurants, all just a stone's throw from Crowthorne. These include the Michael Wignall at the Latymer, which is just a few miles down the road at Bagshot.
With a thriving High Street providing a variety of independent retailers, there's certainly plenty of choice. The village centre offers several convenience stores for groceries, plus a Co-Operative and a Lidl supermarket. There's also a good size Waitrose supermarket, just a few miles out of the village at College Town.
Traders hold regular 'mini-markets' offering local produce, and even a beach-themed 'Crowthorne By Sea' event in the summer. At Christmas time there's late night opening and Santa's Grottos, all of which really bring the community together.
A close knit community, Crowthorne holds a vast array of activities throughout the year organised by members of the village, even on top of those already mentioned.
The Crowthorne Carnival is a popular event which takes place biennially and fosters a real community spirit - providing an opportunity for all residents to get involved and benefit from the activities. The event features a procession complete with carnival princess, live music and a treasure hunt.
For those with a flair for the dramatics, Crowthorne Amateur Theatrical Society meets weekly and puts on several shows a year, including a pantomime. These meetings typically take place in the Parish hall. The village also has its own symphony orchestra which puts on concerts and runs workshops. On top of this, there is a horticultural society and community awards for local volunteers.
The Crowthorne Village Action Group meets regularly to discuss local environmental issues and aims to uphold and maintain Crowthorne's village feel. The group works closely with local councils to keep residents involved and informed of changes to the village.
The village of Crowthorne clearly has a lot to offer and remains a popular area for both current residents and newcomers. It continues to attract new people and the upcoming developments will see the village grow nicely. As well as ranking second in the Family Friendly Hotspots Report 2013, Crowthorne also featured in the top 20 list in 2014.