Thames Valley Area Guide: Shinfield

Shinfield is a small parish to the west of Wokingham and just a few miles south of Reading. A commuter village located close to the M4, most people will drive through the area without seeing behind the scenes.

In this feature, we take a closer look at the village of Shinfield; from schools to housing, pubs and restaurants to some of the history.

Shinfield: A Snapshot

Bordering Arborfield to the southeast, the A33 to the West and the M4 to the north, Shinfield is a parish administered by the Wokingham Unitary Authority. The area also incorporates the hamlets of Three Mile Cross, Spencers Wood and Ryeish Green.

The centre of the village is situated in School Green on Hyde End Road which has several small shops, two real pubs (the Bell and Bottle and the Six Bells) plus a doctor’s surgery. There is also a junior and a nursery school along this stretch. If you continue along Hyde End Road to Spencers Wood you will also find Dobbies Garden Centre that is popular with locals and visitors to the area.

St Mary’s Church, Shinfield. Image via Geograph.

With some recreational facilities, there are a few sports clubs that run in the village including an amateur football team, cricketers and tennis club

Shinfield was originally called Shining Field by the Anglo Saxons and residents will be able to relate to this moniker given the surrounding meadows taking flood waters from the local River Loddon. This can happen during periods of high rainfall and is restricted to the fields and meadows bordering this waterway.

Heading southeast towards Arborfield along the A327, Shinfield has a charming rural pub called the Magpie and Parrot. A freehouse with a great reputation for live music, this is a true locals watering hole. Further down the road, just after you cross over the River Loddon into Arborfield you will find the Litchfield Equestrian horse riding school and The Harrison Clinic, a great place for a sports massage.

North of the centre of the village there is yet another pub, the 16th century Black Boy.

Image via Geograph.

However, it is in the heart of the rural setting of Shinfield that you will find one of the area’s hidden gems, the high-end French restaurant, L’Ortolan. Set in a former vicarage, the cuisine has been awarded a Michelin star and is a fine-dining venue with private rooms.

Shinfield has its fair share of manor houses and period properties which help to create a rural feeling despite the village’s proximity to urbanity.

The village has had some historical significance and one of these manor houses is believed to have been owned by Catherine of Aragon who resided there whilst on visits to Reading Abbey. The site of the current Centre for Dairy Research has formerly been an RAF training bases and a meteorological college.

The area has been home to many of Reading FC’s players as well as being the former home of Dawn French and Lenny Henry when the couple lived in Berkshire together.

Shinfield: The Detail

So, where exactly is Shinfield, what are the residents like and what kind of facilities can you find here?

Location

Located just a few minutes’ drive from Junction 11 of the M4 and closely positioned for easy access to the A33 for Basingstoke and the A327 for Farnborough, Shinfield is a convenient village for commuting.

The area is just 5 miles south of Reading and 5 miles west of Wokingham. There are good bus routes for both town centres and to local villages.

The closest rail station is at Earley which is 3.3 miles to the northeast.

Demographics and Stats of Shinfield

Shinfield is split into two reporting areas; Shinfield North and Shinfield South.

Shinfield North

Shinfield North has a population of 3,776 people of which 62% of these are children aged 0 to 15 and 9.8% are older people aged 65 and over.

58% of children living in Shinfield North achieved the expected level of attainment at Key Stage 2.

The average life expectancy for men living in Shinfield North is 79.8 years whilst the average life expectancy for women is 83 years.

14.9% of children in Shinfield North are at risk of living in poverty, compared with 6.8% across Wokingham Borough.

There were 110 crimes recorded in Shinfield North during 2013/14. This equates to 29.8 crimes per 1,000 people living in Shinfield North. This is higher than the average across Wokingham Borough.

In Shinfield North:

  • 6% of the working age population claim benefits compared with 4.7% in Wokingham Borough.
  • 7% of the population of Shinfield North who are aged 16 to 74 years are in employment. This is lower than the average in Wokingham Borough.
  • Over half of people in full-time work (52%) were employed in managerial, professional or technical occupations.
  • 5% of working age people in Shinfield North have no formal qualifications

Shinfield South

Shinfield South has a population of 7,738 of which 23.24% of these are children aged 0 to 15 and 13.87% are older people aged 65 and over.

67.6% of children living in this district achieve the expected level of attainment at Key Stage 2

The average life expectancy for men living in Shinfield South is 83.5 years and the average life expectancy for women 84.9 years.

Out of the 25 wards in Wokingham, Shinfield South is the seventh most deprived ward with 5.9% of children in Shinfield South are at risk of living in poverty

There were 242 crimes recorded in Shinfield South during 2013/14. This equates to 34.5 crimes per 1,000 people living in Shinfield South. This is higher than the average across Wokingham Borough.

In Shinfield South:

  • 9% of the working age population claim benefits compared with 4.7% in Wokingham Borough.
  • 75% of the population who are aged 16 to 74 years are in employment. This is higher than the average in Wokingham Borough.
  • Over half of people in full-time work (57%) were employed in managerial, professional or technical occupations.
  • 8% of working age people in Shinfield South have no formal qualifications

Education

There are several schools in Shinfield itself with a secondary school, Oakbank (last inspected by Ofsted in 2016 with a Good rating), Shinfield Infant and Nursery School and Shinfield St Mary’s CofE Junior School – also rated as Good by Ofsted,

The Vine Christian is an independent bible-based preparatory school for students aged 3-18 which was last inspected by the government in 2017 and requires improvement. There is also the Crosfields co-educational independent school for children aged 3 to 13.

Our best picks for…

…a pint with some Indian Food.

With so many pubs to choose from, we are hard pressed to come up with just one. However, if pushed we would recommend a visit to the recently renovated Six Bells. Offering a stylish and modern retreat with a flavour of Northern India, the pub has a great feel and just something a little intriguing about it. Of course, whilst you are in the area, the Bell and Bottle, Black Boy and Magpie and Parrot all have some fine ales to try.

Image via Six Bells.

…some amateur dramatics.

The Shinfield Players Theatre has been providing those local residents that have a penchant from drama with a great social scene since the 1956. Their productions are of a high-quality and the group is popular with a range of age-groups including a great youth group. Past productions include Bouncer, 39 Steps, They Came from Mars as well as seasonal shows like Dick Whittington and musicals such as The Sound of Music.

It’s worth keeping an eye on their website for details of their productions and even better to stay up to date for upcoming auditions.

…some gourmet delights.

L’Ortolan is Reading’s only restaurant with a Micheline star and offers some truly superb food. Booking out in the evenings for many weeks in advance, their lunchtime menu is actually not nearly as expensive as you might think. The experience is guaranteed to be an unforgettable one and the head chef does his best to incorporate as many local ingredients as possible. They also run a cookery school from the venue so if you have a budding Masterchef in the family, they will thank you for a gift experience from this restaurant.

Image via L’Ortolan.

Housing in Shinfield

There are a total of 1370 dwellings in Shinfield North and 2749 dwellings in Shinfield South. The most common housing types is semi-detached which accounts for around 35-40% of all housing.

The majority of sales in Shinfield over the last 12-months were for semi-detached properties, with an an average price of £434,192. The average price of a detached property is currently £577,238, with terraced properties being valued a £380,625 (on average).

The overall average price of a home in Shinfield is currently £425,305, and is similar to that of neighbouring Spencers Wood (£440,473), cheaper than Arborfield (£467,512) but more expensive than Lower Earley (£373,125).

If you are considering a house purchase in and around the Shinfield area and would like to know more about your options then contact Property Assistant. We like to make sure that buyers know as much about an area as possible before making a decision on their new home.