The area around present-day Didcot has been inhabited for at least 9000 years, with recent archaeological finds dating from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Iron Age and Bronze Ages. During the Roman era attempts were made to drain the marshland by digging ditches through what is now the Ladygrove area north of the town. Whereas some of the surrounding villages lay claim to much earlier existence, the first known written record of Didcot is from the 13th century. At that time, and for several centuries afterwards, Didcot was a rural village with a population of about 100, smaller than most of the surrounding villages. Parts of this original village still exist in the Lydalls Road area and part of the Church of England parish church of All Saints dates from the 11th century.

Recent history

Didcot, currently home to around 27,000 people, is the main growth area in South Oxfordshire. Since the 1950s the town has been linked with major scientific employers such as the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories at Harwell and continued growth of hi-tech companies based locally, including at Culham (and the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion research project), and the Diamond Light Source synchrotron, will ensure the area’s prosperity for years to come.Zone pour l’Innovation et les Réalisations Scientifiques et Technique

The new town centre, The Orchard Centre, opened in August 2005 and three year later a new £8 million arts and entertainment centre, Cornerstone, opened within the Orchard Centre. It contains exhibition and studio spaces, a cafe and a 236 seat auditorium. These facilities also provide a focus of a number of surrounding communities such as Sutton Courtenay, Harwell, the Hagbournes, Upton and Blewbury.

Railways & Power Station

Didcot’s change from a small village to an important residential and employment centre began with the railways. The Great Western Railway, reached Didcot in 1839 and in 1844 the Brunel-designed station opened. The more obvious route for the line between London and Bristol, via Abingdon, was blocked by a local Landowner, meaning that the junction station for Oxford was built )at Didcot. This original station burnt down in the latter part of 19th century and the current manifestation of Didcot Parkway Transport Interchange was opened in late 2014. For many years Didcot lay at the junction of the routes to London, Bristol and Oxford (Great Western) and to Southampton (via the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway), although the latter line closed to passengers in 1962. Sites of the associated large military ordnance depots have disappeared beneath Milton Park Business Park and Didcot Power station, which opened in 1968. In 2014 the first three cooling towers of Didcot A, long the image of Didcot, were demolished. The railway link is still important for Didcot today. Didcot Railway Centre, formed by the Great Western Society in 1967, which houses a collection of Great Western Railway locomotives and rolling stock in 1930s sheds, is one of the most visited attractions in Oxfordshire.


Didcot (/ˈdɪdkɒt/) or (/ˈdɪdkət/) is a town and civil parish in Oxfordshire about 9 miles (14 km) south of Oxford. Until 1974 it was in Berkshire, but was transferred to Oxfordshire in that year, and from Wallingford Rural District to the district of South Oxfordshire becoming the largest town in the new district. Didcot is known for its railway junction, power stations and for hosting two of the largest science and technology parks in Europe, Milton Park and the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.