SOUTH Oxfordshire is the best place to live in England for women over the age of 65, a new survey has revealed.

The district was also named the third best place in England for women overall by the study by the National Centre for Social Research for BBC Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour.

But it was pipped to the post by West Oxfordshire, which was named as the best place to live for women overall.

South Oxfordshire’s high ranking was largely due to its low female mortality.

The district also has a low crime rate and fewer women live alone than the average – only 36 per cent.

Jane Murphy, deputy leader of South Oxfordshire District Council said: “There are a lot of villages in the district, so there’s such a great sense of community.

“Everyone knows their neighbours intimately and they all look after each other.

“There are also lots of activities for retired women. There is Zumba, swimming and badminton classes specifically for older people.

“Lots of women whose children have grown up are making new friends.”

Across the UK, West and South Oxfordshire came third and fifth respectively behind East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire, both in Scotland.

For women under 30, the best place to live in Britain is West Oxfordshire, mostly thanks to good employment prospects, with 77 per cent of working age women in jobs.

West Oxfordshire also scored well due to low crime rate and its rich mix of culture. South Oxfordshire also scores well for young women, coming eighth out of 380.

Jeanette Baker, a district councillor for Witney East Ward ran a recruitment business in the town for 28 years. She said when she started working she was ‘one of only two’ women she knew of in Witney who were in business.

She said: “It’s improved so much since then’. There are excellent opportunities for all ages, whether you’re leaving school or in your 70s.

“The council are very progressive, we’ve worked really hard to make West Oxfordshire a better environment for women. We’re encouraging businesses to have flexible hours too.”

The Vale of White Horse also scored well, coming 35th overall out of 380 local authorities in the country. Oxford came 147th and Cherwell 171th. West and South Oxfordshire also placed in the top ten for women aged 30-65.