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Things to see and do


England has a rich history and Southern Oxfordshire has been at the heart of it. There are pre-historic Bronze and Iron Age settlements all around. Saxon Kings and early spreaders of Christianity, invading Normans and feuding medieval families, Henry VIII dissolution of the monasteries and the Cavaliers and Roundheads of the English Civil War - have all left a legacy.
 
Whether you plan a relaxing weekend away or a short break, there is plenty to entertain. Historic buildings, gardens, landmarks and even a Time Team excavation site can all be explored. Lovers of the countryside will find an area of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. If you fancy a stroll along the river or a more vigorous hike, there are many options and routes from rolling chalk hills to natural woodland.
 
Life here is not just about teashops and gentle strolls. The area has activities and adventures to provide fun-filled memories for you and your family. And as the favoured location for filming the Midsomer Murders TV series - you may even stumble upon a crew now and again.
 
You may find our book "52 things to do far from the madding beaches" of interest.  You can download an electronic version here.  To buy your own copy for £7 please email tourism@southandvale.gov.uk 
 
To find details of Southern Oxfordshire's things to see and do click on the category bar below. It will open to display relevant results. Click the bar again to close the results and open a different category.
 

Results for all.

Arts and Crafts

Lassco Three Pigeons - Thame

Crammed with every conceivable type of reclaimed Architectural antiques, salvage and curiosities with new items arriving daily from clearances as well as large and small scale restoration. On site coffee shop.

London Road
Milton Common
Oxfordshire
Post Code: OX9 2JN View more

Guided walks and tours

Bothy Vineyard - Abingdon on Thames

Bothy Vineyard continues an ancient tradition of wine making in the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire. Our excellent microclimate, warm sandy soils, long ripening season and mature vines help produce wines of consistent depth and high quality which have won many awards. Our philosophy is to produce the highest quality wines from grapes cultivated in as environmentally friendly way as possible. Visit us to experience the freshness and character of English wine at its best. The Bothy Shop is open on Fridays, Saturdays and the first Sunday of each month, 10 - 5pm. Free wine tastings.

Frilford Heath, Near Abingdon
Post Code: OX13 6QW View more

Brightwell Vineyard - Wallingford

Brightwell Vineyard produces award-winning, quality English wines which frequently win medals at National and International competitions. The 14-acre vineyard is situated 1 mile north of Wallingford and 8 miles south of the city of Oxford abutting the south side of the River Thames in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and produces white, rosé, red and sparkling wines. Wines sales and tastings are available from Brightwell Vineyard’s on-site Wine Shop, open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12 – 6pm, and at other times by arrangement. Group wine tastings and vineyard tours are available by appointment.

Rush Court, Shillingford Road
Post Code: OX10 8LJ View more

Historic houses and sites

Abingdon Abbey - Abingdon on Thames

The great Benedictine abbey of St. Mary's at Abingdon was an Anglo-Saxon foundation of about 670AD. It was founded and rebuilt after 955 by St. Aethelwold and again in the 12th Century by Norman abbots. It became extremely wealthy, only to be destroyed under Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Nevertheless parts of the medieval buildings remain (13th-15thC).

The Long Gallery is a late 15th or early 16th Century building. It resembles a medieval inn and is therefore thought to have been used as accommodation for guests or clerks.

The Checker with Undercroft is a mid-13th Century stone building. The name "Checker" or exchequer relates to its probable use for the central accounting and document storage of the abbey.

Checker Hall has a fine 15th Century roof, which appears to have been an open hall. The Elizabethan-style Unicorn theatre was constructed in 1953 and is in regular use for plays and concerts.

Some other remnants of the Abbey can be seen nearby.

Abbey Buildings
18 Thames Street
Abingdon
Tel: 01235 525339
Post Code: OX14 3HZ View more

Ardington House - Wantage

Home of the Baring family. Early 18thC beautifully symmetrical house with unusually fine brickwork. The entrance is dominated by the Imperial staircase - 2 flights of stairs coming back into one. These are very rare and the Ardington staircase is an exceptional example.

The hall and dining-room have original panelling. Cornices and woodwork in the hall are perfect examples and the dining-room has a fine plasterwork ceiling. Attractive garden, river and stable yard.

Ardington
Wantage
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01235 821566
Post Code: OX12 8QA View more

Ashdown House - Faringdon

Unusual Dutch-style house on the Berkshire Downs.
This extraordinary building with a dolls'-house appearance nestles in a beautiful valley on the Berkshire Downs, surrounded by woodland. It was built by an Earl, William Craven, as a house fit for the queen he loved, Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia in 1662. Access to the house is by guided tour only at 2.15pm, 3.15pm and 4.15pm, for up to 25 people at a time. House is tenanted and access is limited to hall, staircase (100 steps)and roof. The grounds can be visited when the house is open and the woodland open all year round, Sunday to Thursday.

Lambourn, Newbury
Post Code: RG17 8RE View more

Buscot Old Parsonage - Faringdon

An early 18thC house of Cotswold stone, set on the banks of the Thames and with a small garden.

Buscot
Faringdon
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01793 762209
Post Code: SN7 8DQ View more

Buscot Park - Faringdon

Built between 1780 and 1783 for Edward Loveden Townsend, the estate was sold to Australian tycoon, Robert Tertius Campbell, who spent a fortune turning Buscot into a model agricultural estate. In 1889 Buscot was sold to a highly successful business financier, Alexander Henderson, later the 1st Lord Faringdon and his descendants continue to live here.

Buscot Park has exquisite gardens, including the spectacular Water Garden designed by Harold Peto at the beginning of the 20th century and the Four Seasons Walled Garden created by the present Lord Faringdon at the end of the century.

There are woodland walks and n the circular Swinging Garden there are chances to see some of the many species of birds which breed on the estate. The fine late-18th century house is home to The Faringdon Collection, a treasure trove of art and design.

Begun by Sir Alexander Henderson, later the 1st Lord Faringdon, and exclusively added to by his grandson, Gavin, the 2nd Lord, the collection contains an extraordinary array of pictures, furniture and objets d'art. Old Master paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Murillo mingle with Victorian Pre-Raphaelite pictures by Leighton, Rossetti Watts and Burne-Jones, including the latter`s famous 'Briar Rose' series illustrating the story of Sleeping Beauty.

Furniture by designers Robert Adams and Thomas Hope provide splendid display settings for both period and contemporary ceramics, sculpture and objets d'art. Unlike most country house collections, the Faringdon Collection is not frozen in time. The present Lord Faringdon continues to acquire new works of art both antique and modern. He has also recently restored the small purpose-built theatre which is regularly used for concerts, recitals, plays and corporate hospitality.

Image © Copyright Rictor Norton & David Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Buscot
Faringdon
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01367 240786
Post Code: SN7 8BU View more

Dorchester Abbey - Dorchester on Thames

The Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul, more usually known as Dorchester Abbey, is the parish church of Dorchester-on-Thames. It serves not only as the spiritual centre of the village but also as pro-Cathedral and place of pilgrimage. A popular tourist destination and educational resource, as the largest public building in South Oxfordshire the Abbey is a much-sought after venue for concerts and other major events.

Whether you come as pilgrim or visitor of any faith or none, we look forward to welcoming you to the Abbey and to the last remaining monastic building, the Guest House, home of the famous Tea Room and the Museum.

High Street, Dorchester-On-Thames Wallingford
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 340007
Post Code: OX10 7HR View more

Ewelme Church - Ewelme

This imposing and characterful Church of St. Mary the Virgin was used as a set for the blockbuster film “Les Miserables” and features one of the most interesting tombs you'll ever see (and some truly lovely almshouses)

Church of St. Mary
Ewelme
Post Code: OX10 6HP View more

Faringdon Folly - Faringdon

This unique unusual 100ft tower is Faringdon’s icon and the last major folly to be built in England
It sits on Folly Hill, within a charming circular 4 acre woodland of splendid Scots Pine and broadleaf trees, some more than 200 years old.

Check out the fantastic views over 5 counties and find out about the history of Folly Hill, Henry James Pye (of Sing a Song of Sixpence fame), Oliver Cromwell and the very eccentric Lord Berners (the creator of the tower).

Seek out the 24 black birds and giant willow pie, Cromwell’s cannon, the fairly useless bridge, Lord Berners in a tree! and a variety of birds and animal sculptures lurking among the trees. You might even see a troll, but, ‘please do not feed the giraffes’

10 minutes walk from Faringdon’s historic market place where refreshments are available, and 2 hours free parking.

The tower is open from April to October on the first and third Sundays of the month.
The woodland is always open and entry is free.

Book a private opening, for your party or celebration.

The best place for access is a footpath from the Stanford Road (the nearest post code is SN77AQ)

Stanford Road
Faringdon
Oxfordshire
Tel: 0845 475 8386
Post Code: SN7 7AQ View more

Great Coxwell Barn - Faringdon

Thirteenth-century monastic stone tithe barn with interesting timber construction.

Great Coxwell
Faringdon
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01793 762209
Post Code: SN7 7LZ View more

Grey's Court - Henley on Thames

There has been a manor here since medieval times and Grey’s Court history reflects periods of utter dereliction as well as lavish care and attention. Inhabited by only five families throughout its history, the 16th century mansion seen today was the work of Sir Francis Knollys, treasurer to the Royal household of Queen Elizabeth I and jailer of Mary Queen of Scots.

The mansion is a charming patchwork of styles. Until 2003 it was home to the Brunner family and although gifted to the National Trust, it retains the feel of a family home. Of particular interest is the 18th century plasterwork, the Great Tower from the 12th century and a rare Tudor donkey wheel, in use until the early 20th century.

The walled gardens are designed as a series of outdoor areas set amid medieval ruins. Virtually derelict when the Brunner family arrived in 1937, Lady Brunner took a particular interest in their development. The kitchen garden, wisteria walk and rose garden are particularly lovely to stroll through at leisure.

Further afield enjoy a 3km ramble through the estate (open at any time) or the 1.2km Sir Felix Trail (open only when the property is open to the public).

Open: Seasonal
Greys Court opens from the spring to the autumn.

Top Tip:
House entry is via timed tickets allocated on a first-come first-served basis from 11am. There is no pre-booking facility. Ticket numbers are limited and may run out on busy days such as weekends.

Rotherfield Greys
Henley-on-Thames Oxfordshire
Tel: 01494 628 52
Post Code: RG9 4PG View more

Keeps Well at Binfield Heath - Henley on Thames

An interesting feature of Binfield Heath is the unusual covered well, called Keeps Well. This has recently been completely rebuilt exactly as before as the original was completely demolished a few years ago in a motoring accident. Next to the well one of the village ponds has been restored too and this is known as Green Pond. This area of the village was formerly known as Shiplake Common.

Binfield Heath, Henley-On-Thames
Post Code: RG9 4DU View more

Kelmscott Manor - Lechlade

Kelmscott Manor, a grade 1 listed farmhouse adjacent to the River Thames, was built around 1600, with an additional wing added to the north east corner in about 1665. The Manor is built of local limestone on the edge of the village of Kelmscott.

William Morris chose it as his summer home, signing a joint lease with the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the summer of 1871.

The house - perhaps the most evocative of all the houses associated with Morris - contains an outstanding collection of the possessions and works of Morris, his family and associates (Benson, Burne-Jones, Rossetti and Webb amongst them), including furniture, original textiles, pictures, carpets, ceramics and metalwork.

Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott, Lechlade
Post Code: GL7 3HJ View more

Kingston Bagpuize House & Garden - Abingdon on Thames

Beautiful family-owned manor house, originally dating from the 1660s and substantially remodelled in early 1700s.

It has a fine cantilevered staircase and panelled rooms with some good furniture and pictures. Set in mature parkland, the gardens, including shrub border and woodland garden, contain a notable collection of unusual trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Open by appointment on selected days from February to September.

Kingston Bagpuize
Abingdon
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 820259
Post Code: OX13 5AX View more

Maharaja's Well - Stoke Row

Stoke Row is famed for its beautifully restored Maharaja's Well. It was given to the villagers by the Maharaja of Benares, along with a cherry orchard to provide for its upkeep, to express his gratitude to Mr Edward Reade, who was Lieutenant Governor of the North Western Provinces and had assisted in providing a water supply for a local community in Azimurgh. The well was sunk to a depth of 368 ft and provided between 600 and 700 gallons of water daily. It was opened on 24 May 1864, on Queen Victoria's birthday, and served the village until around 1939. And it looks - exactly as a Maharaja's Well should look - complete with a golden elephant. Don't miss it!

Maharaja's Well
Stoke Row
(Car Parking at the Village Hall)
Post Code: RG9 5QQ View more

Mapledurham House - Wallingford

Set in tranquil surroundings alongside the River Thames, Mapledurham "the maple tree enclosure" appears in Doomsday as two manors. This late-16th century Elizabethan house is the home of the descendants of the Blount family. Built by Sir Michael Blount, Lieutenant of the Tower of London, the house contains a collection of paintings and family portraits, oak staircases, original plaster ceilings and a private chapel in Strawberry Hill Gothick added in 1797.

Mapledurham has literary connections with Alexander Pope, Kenneth Graham and John Galsworthy. More recently it was the setting for the film `The Eagle Has Landed', Midsomer Murders and Miss Marple.

The House is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter Saturday until the end of September.

The Estate Office Mapledurham Oxfordshire
Tel: 0118 972 3350
Post Code: RG4 7TR View more

Nuffield Place - Henley on Thames

The home of one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century. The time-capsule home of the philanthropist William Morris, Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motor Cars and one of the richest men in the world. Lord Nuffield gave much of his wealth to good causes and his house reflects a relatively modest lifestyle. Lord and Lady Nuffield’s personal possessions remain as they left them with the decor and furnishings intact, making it a perfect example of a complete 1930s country home.

Huntercombe, near Henley-on-Thames
Post Code: RG9 5RY View more

Rycote Chapel - Thame

Ornate 15th Century chapel built by Richard Quartermain and consecrated in 1449. It has associations and was used by most of the Tudor and Stewart monarchs on their visits to the nearby Rycote Palace. Henry VIII visited in 1540 and Princess Elizabeth Tudor was detained here by her guardian Lord Williams of Thame, owner of Rycote Palace during the reign of her sister Mary. Elizabeth also came to Rycote Chapel many times as Queen.

The chapel had exquisitely carved and painted woodwork. It retains original 15th-century wooden fittings including two vast roofed family pews, stalls and a musicians' gallery dating from 1610. The elaborate Baroque reredos is dated 1682. There is a monument of 1767 commemorating James Bertie, Earl of Abingdon, incorporating a marble bust, and a plaque to Alfred St. George Hammersley with an inscription by Eric Gill.

Rycote Chapel is open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 2 – 6pm, from 1st April to 30th September.

Although the surrounding land is privately owned, a public right of way runs alongside Rycote Chapel, through the woodland and over into the Oxfordshire Golf Club.

Image © Copyright John Vigar and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Rycote Park
Milton Common
Thame
Oxfordshire
Post Code: OX9 2PE View more

Stonor Park - Henley on Thames

The family home of Lord and Lady Camoys and the Stonor family for over 850 years, Stonor is one of England’s oldest manor houses. There is a thirteenth century family chapel attached to the house, built on the site of Stonor Stone Circle, a pagan circle of standing stones.

Stoner Park has been described as “possibly the most beautiful setting of any house in England”.
The house contains a collection of family portraits, beautiful stained glass, old Italian Master Drawings, European Bronzes, an early 19th century wallpaper of Paris as well as a fine collection of contemporary ceramics from England, Denmark, Korea & Japan. This collection is a particular personal interest of Lord Camoys.

There are three gardens at Stonor; a 17th century Italianate walled pleasure garden, the old Kitchen Garden and one open to the park which is the remains of a medieval garden. The park, with its herd of fallow deer, is also open by way of a public footpath throughout the year, from where there are stunning views of both the house and surrounding countryside and opportunities to spot deer, pheasants, hares, Red Kites and Buzzards. Please note that horse riding is explicitly NOT permitted on these grounds

Open: Seasonal
The house, garden, old hall tea room & gift shop are open from April until the September. Limited opening days and times – please check the website first for details.

Top Tip:
Stonor featured in the James Bond film 'The Living Daylights', starring Timothy Dalton, and was used as Robbie Coltrane's stately mansion in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's classic 'Danny the Champion of the World', starring Jeremy Irons. Other film credits include the TV series Hornblower and Midsomer Murders.

Stonor
Henley-on-Thames Oxfordshire
Tel: 01491 638587
Post Code: RG9 6HF View more

The Chantry House - Henley on Thames

The Chantry House is a high-status, late medieval timber-framed building on the east side of Henley churchyard, north of the church.

The two main floors open into the churchyard; below is a bottom floor which, because of a sharp drop in ground level, faces only eastwards to the river, and is accessed through the yard of the Red Lion inn.

The name suggests that it housed some of Henley's medieval chantry priests, but in fact the name originated only during the early 20th century. Others have suggested that it fulfilled a commercial use associated with the river, or a communal one associated with parish life. Either way it is the finest timber-framed building in Henley, and on the churchyard side was clearly designed for show.

Beyond the bridge onto Hart Street, The Chantry House lies behind St Mary’s Church, facing the Churchyard.

Open: All year

The Rectory Office
Hart Street
Henley-On-Thames Oxfordshire
Tel: 01491 577340
Post Code: RG9 2AU View more

Uffington Castle - Wantage

One of a series of Iron Age hill forts along The Ridgeway, this hill fort was built about 2,700 years ago during the Early Iron Age. The hill fort was not permanently occupied; it was used occasionally as the site for sacred ceremonies. Between the 17th and 19th Centuries huge fairs and sporting competitions known as the "Pastime" were held here. Up to 30,000 people attended these festivities, and the last great "Pastime" was held in 1857.

0870 333 1181
Post Code: SN6 8AT View more

Venn Mill Garford - Abingdon on Thames

Venn Mill is a rural watermill powered by the Childrey Brook. With its waterwheel and wooden machinery it is at work grinding corn with millstones.

The mill is on an ancient site and was rebuilt in its present form about 1800. Disused for about 50 years, it has been restored to preserve the atmosphere of a traditional working mill. There is an iron undershot waterwheel and flour from locally-grown wheat is on sale along with a range of organic flours and cereal products (Soil Association Certified).

Display of artefacts relating to mills and milling. Due to insurance difficulties the watermill is only open occasionally and by prior arrangement.


Image (c) Jim Woodward_Nutt

Garford
Abingdon
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01983 531911
Post Code: OX13 5PA View more

Wallingford Castle Meadows - Wallingford

Wallingford Castle Meadows cover some 16.6 hectares on the banks of the River Thames in Wallingford. The meadows contain the site of Wallingford Castle which has a long and complex history. All that remains of the castle are two sections of wall which are Grade 1 listed and the bank and ditch earthworks which form part of the Schedules Ancient Monument. The site is open to the public every day of the year.

Cemetery Lane, off Castle Street/Shillingford Road, Wallingford
Post Code: OX10 8DL View more

Waylands Smithy - Ashbury

Neolithic burial site surrounded by a small copse of trees. Access at any reasonable time.

Off B4000
Ashbury
Oxfordshire
Tel: 0870 333 1181
Post Code: SN6 8NT View more

White Horse Hill - Uffington

Ancient rolling downland, home to an engimatic chalk hill figure. The internationally-renowned Bronze-Age Uffington White Horse can be seen for miles away leaping across the head of a dramatic dry valley in the Ridgeway escarpment. The horse is only part of the unique complex of ancient remains that are found at White Horse Hill and beyond, spreading out across the high chalk downland.

Dragon Hill Road, Uffington, Wantage
Post Code: SN6 8NT View more

Industrial Heritage

Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway - Chinnor

Welcome to the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway. We are a standard gauge railway operating both steam and diesel hauled train services from our station at Chinnor in Oxfordshire. It operates part of the old Great Western Railway branch line which ran between Princes Risborough (Buckinghamshire) and Watlington (Oxfordshire). The railway opens for passenger services in March until Hallowe’en with Santa Specials operating in December. The line currently runs over a 3 ½ mile stretch along the foot of the Chiltern Hills running parallel to the Icknield Way, passing through attractive countryside with some outstanding views across the Vale of Whiteleaf. Our aim is to re-open as much of the branch as possible. We have built a replica of the original Station at Chinnor and are working to extend the line into Princes Risborough with connection to the Network Rail station. Our services operate out of Chinnor station, principally at weekends, and run to Thame Junction, a round trip of nearly seven miles. We operate a number of special events and attractions throughout the season in addition to our standard timetabled services. Please view our timetable and special events section of our website to view our forth coming events.

Chinnor Station, Station Approach, Station Road,
Chinnor
Post Code: OX39 4ER View more

Cholsey and Wallingford Railway - Wallingford

Enjoy a five mile round trip on The Cholsey and Wallingford Railway- a preserved former Great Western Railway branchline. Our line links the national railway network at Cholsey, with the historic market town of Wallingford, Oxfordshire. Trains run on selected weekends and bank holidays throughout the year and, where available, are steam hauled.

Known locally as "The Bunk", passenger services ceased in 1959. Having secured the line in 1981, the CWR Preservation Society now aims to enhance the facilities that the railway offers and to improve our Wallingford site. The railway aims to offer steam hauled trains where possible, but also operates an interesting fleet of 08 class diesel locomotives.

5 Hithercroft Road, Wallingford
Post Code: OX10 9GQ View more

Didcot Power Station - Didcot

Generation of electricity, a 2000mw modern dual-fired (coal and gas) station can be seen at work. Open by appointment only.

Didcot
Oxfordshire
OX11 7HA
Tel: 01235 516079
Post Code: OX11 7HA View more

Didcot Railway Centre - Didcot

See a unique collection of Great Western Railway steam engines, coaches, wagons, buildings and small relics; and a recreation of Brunel's broad gauge railway. Based around the original 1930s engine shed it is located beside Didcot Parkway station so easily accessible by public transport.

The Railway Centre is open every weekend throughout the year and from Saturday 31st to Sunday 15 April.

Regular events include visits by Thomas the Tank Engine, steam and speed days and 'become a train driver' experience days.

Thomas is a regular visitor to Didcot Railway Centre where he is welcomed by his friends the Great Western engines. Diesel shunts the Troublesome Trucks. The Fat Controller supervises Rev.W.Awdry's classic children's favourite - Thomas the Tank Engine on his ‘Day Out With Thomas™’ visits. There are rides behind ‘Thomas’ and 'Duck' and lots of other entertainment for children.

Didcot Railway Centre
Great Western Society, Didcot, Oxfordshire
Post Code: OX11 7NJ View more

Mapledurham Watermill - Wallingford

Mapledurham Watermill straddles the River Thames and is set in the grounds of Mapledurham House and country park.

First listed in the Domesday Book, parts of the 15th century mill can still be clearly identified. It is the last working corn and grist mill on the Thames and visitors can see the traditional wooden wheels and machinery in action.

Stone ground flour is still produced and used by local bakers, and are available to purchase in the watermill shop.

More recently the watermill was used as a location during filming of the 1976 Jack Higgins blockbuster `The Eagle has Landed' starring Michael Caine.

It was also the backdrop in the front cover image of Black Sabbath's album of the same name.

The Estate Office Mapledurham Oxfordshire
Tel: 0118 972 3350
Post Code: RG4 7TR View more

Nettlebed Kiln, Nr - Henley on Thames

From medieval times until early in the 20th century, Nettlebed was the centre of a thriving brick business. The bricks were produced in bottle-shaped kilns. One remains in the middle of the village, a very distinctive landmark. Walking down Nettlebed High Street you can see many 18th century houses faced with the local brick.In 1927 the kiln was converted to burn lime and was used for this until 1938. It then fell into disrepair but in 1975 it was restored with the support of local people and Oxfordshire County Council. The kiln can be viewed at any time and there is an information board nearby describing its history.

Kiln Close, Nettlebed
Post Code: RG9 5AW View more

Wheatley Windmill - Thame

The octagonal shape of this 18th Century tower mill is distinctly unusual, there are only two or three such towers in the UK. The tower has three storeys. There are two fireplaces on the ground floor (some mills only had one, and others none at all) and a properly framed staircase leads to the 'stone floor', i.e. the first floor where the mill stones are set. The original curved dome cap was copper clad and has been described as being 'picturesque without being elegant'.

There were originally four sails (which turned clockwise rather than the more usual anti-clockwise) but for a time the windmill operated on two sails only. These were of the 'common' type with a wooden frame rigged with canvas which could be set according to the state of the wind and the amount of work the miller had to do. The canvas used was similar to that used on Thames barges.

The windmill was rebuilt in 1763 after a fire and was last used about 1920 when it was struck by lightning.
The Wheatley Windmill Restoration Society has been restoring the windmill since 1977.

Open one Sunday per month from April to October.

Free entry however we would ask if you enjoy tour visit that you make a small donation to the restoration fund.

Windmill Lane
Wheatley
Thame
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 874610
Post Code: OX33 1TA View more

Museums & Exhibitions

Abingdon Museum - Abingdon on Thames

The former County Hall for Berkshire dating from 1678 is an outstanding baroque building from the circle of Christopher Wren and is worth visiting in its own right especially in the summer months when the roof is open with views of the Cotswolds and the Chilterns.

Archaeology and local history displays include an Abingdon Timeline (the town is one of the oldest continuously occupied places in Britain) and models for schools illustrating Iron Age and Roman lifestyles based in excavations; prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon handling collections available.

Local history collections include displays and archives of the MG car industry based in Abingdon until the 1960's. Family friendly activities run throughout the year and there are drop in activities for children and families at weekends and out of term time. Full programme and special exhibitions with relevance to Abingdon, The Vale of White Horse and the county of Oxfordshire.

Market Place
Abingdon on Thames
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01235 523703
Post Code: OX14 3HG View more

Aston Martin Heritage Museum - Wallingford

The Aston Martin Heritage Trust Museum at Drayton St. Leonard, Oxfordshire is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the significant historic heritage of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. through our collections and educational programmes.

Drayton St Leonard, Wallingford
Post Code: OX10 7BG View more

Benson Veteran Cycle Museum - Wallingford

A private collection started by Mr Ned Passey with just one penny farthing, the Benson Veteran Cycle Museum comprises around 500 veteran and vintage cycles dating from 1818 to 1930. The collection is open to view from April - September by appointment only.

The Benson Veteran Cycle Club annual rally on the first Sunday in July attracts hundreds of riders on veteran bicycles, followed by cyclists on modern examples.

Image (c) Colin Kirsch

Benson
Post Code: OX10 6LH View more

Champs Chapel and Museum - Faringdon

East Hendred Museum is a 15thC chapel built by the Carthusian monks of Sheen, Surrey.

Previously, William the Conqueror had given the manor to the monks of Noyon in Normandy. Henry V confiscated the property of foreign monasteries and the lands and rights of Noyon were transferred to the Prior of Sheen.

Soon after coming into possession, the Prior built the chapel and adjoining Priest's House. At the dissolution the building was used for secular purposes. It fell into ruin. Grade I Listed. Mr Eyston was responsible for the chapel's restoration in 1974. As an entirely volunteer-run attraction, regular opening hours are limited to Sunday afternoons in the summer season and to the first Sunday in month during the winter.

Admission is free, but all donations are most welcome.

Image © Copyright Michael FORD and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Chapel Square
East Hendred
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01235 833312
Post Code: OX12 8JN View more

Dorchester Museum - Dorchester on Thames

Dorchester Abbey has a collection of over 200 items of worked medieval stone. The provenance of these items is unknown, but they are assumed to survive from monastic buildings destroyed following Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. The Museum displays these within the Abbey's Cloister Gallery, and in the Old School Room in the adjoining Abbey Guest House.

The award-winning Cloister Gallery display, described as the best of its kind in the country, tells the story of the abbey through an interpreted collection of carved and moulded medieval stonework.

The displays and artefacts in the Abbey Guest House illustrate the history of the village of Dorchester-on-Thames from the Neolithic to the present.

High Street Dorchester-On-Thames Wallingford
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 340007
Post Code: OX10 7HR View more

Pendon Museum - Abingdon on Thames

Pendon Museum preserves the idyllic rural scene and transport of the 1920s and 30s in a miniature form. Realistic models recall the landscape of the period and trains provide a fascinating record of the railways of the time and how they operated.

Visitors to Pendon:
•enjoy an informative and interactive 90 minute tour covering three indoor galleries
•see some of the finest model landscapes, buildings and trains ever constructed
•get a warm and personal welcome from our volunteer staff
•have access to a small café and souvenir shop.

Long Wittenham, Abingdon
Post Code: OX14 4QD View more

River and Rowing Museum - Henley on Thames

Henley is known throughout the world as an important centre for rowing. Its famous regatta has been running since 1839. At the River & Rowing Museum you can explore the extensive collection of rowing objects and images.

Designed by David Chipperfield and located on the banks of the River Thames in Henley on Thames, the Museum celebrates and explores four core themes through permanent and changing exhibitions and events across four galleries:

1. Rivers: Using the Thames as a starting point, the Museum explores the environmental, ecological and social impacts of water and rivers across the world.

2. The historic riverside community of Henley on Thames: This historic town home to the Henley Royal Regatta and host to the Rowing competition in the 1908 and 1948 Olympic Games has colourful history dating back to the stone age all captured in a dedicated gallery explored through hugely popular temporary exhibitions.

3. The international sport of rowing: One of the world’s most significant collections of rowing memorabilia, charting the sport from ancient beginnings to present day is held at the Museum. The sport is also celebrated through temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

4. The Wind in the Willows – hugely popular with children and families, this exhibition recreates the timeless E H Shepard illustrations from Kenneth Grahame's famous novel, taking visitors on a journey through the world famous riverside tale of Mr Toad and his friends.

Since opening in August 1998 the Museum has received numerous awards including the National Heritage/NPI Museum of the Year award and the Sandford Award For Heritage Education.

Mill Meadows
Henley-on-Thames
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01491 415642
Post Code: RG9 1BF View more

Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre - Didcot

Take a journey of learning and discovery at Sutton Courtenay. Children experience nature for themselves on our beautiful 19-acre nature reserve. With woodland, meadow, ponds and a wildlife garden, Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre is a haven for wildlife and an exhilarating green space for your pupils to enjoy. Our award-winning centre is packed with brilliant eco-features from a sedum roof and solar panels to recycled floors. We even recycle our rainwater. We are open for pre-booked groups all year round. Trips usually run from 10–2.30, but can be flexible. We request a donation of £5 per child.

Milton Park Estate, Didcot
Post Code: OX14 4TE View more

Thame Museum - Thame

Thame museum offers a wonderful collection of artefacts, display panels and oral histories, telling the story of this historic town and its people, from Neolithic times to the modern day. It opened in 2007 and is housed in the former old Court House. It is an independent accredited museum staffed entirely by volunteers.

As you enter the museum you will be greeted by Sgt Tom Harris standing at the police desk he would have used when he was at Thame Police Station in the early 20th century. In the main display gallery stands Jacob, a soldier from the time of the Civil War, replete with his full kit of bedding, eating tools and weapons. Come and see a Victorian perambulator, which was found in a barn and fully restored by museum volunteers.

The museum's flagship display has to be the Elizabethan Wall Paintings room. The wall paintings are rare survivors from the time of Queen Elizabeth 1 and have been installed in a setting similar to their original situation in a house in Thame's Upper High Street.

In addition to the permanent galleries, the museum has a programme of exhibitions and monthly talks. Facilities for local history and family history are also available.

There is also a museum shop which stocks a good range of items of local interest. Entrance is free. Come along and be entertained, informed and inspired.

79 High Street
Thame
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01844 212801
Post Code: OX9 3AE View more

Tom Brown's School Museum - Wantage

Exhibition of the life and works of Thomas Hughes.

Exhibits on Uffington White Horse and local history. Gallery display changed annually. Museum housed in an old schoolroom, featured in the opening chapters of Tom Brown's Schooldays.

The Old School
Broad Street
Uffington
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01367 820259
Post Code: SN7 7RA View more

Vale and Downland Museum - Wantage

The museum is housed within a converted 16thC cloth merchant's house.

An interactive auditorium presents the history of the Vale and Downland area. Special collections from across the Vale display the story of Wantage and the rural life of its surrounding countryside.

The latest technology is not forgotten, with a Williams Formula 1 racing car display. The Visitor information Point for Wantage is on the ground floor.

Church Street
Wantage
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01235 771447
Post Code: OX12 8BL View more

Wallingford Museum - Wallingford

A colourful and delightfully intimate local history museum, housed on two floors of this medieval oak-beamed building in the heart of Wallingford. Inside, the attractions include:

The Wallingford Story, a SIGHT & SOUND experience – a walk through time from the Romans and Saxons to the Civil War, including a miniature re-creation of Wallingford’s royal Castle, accompanied by an audio tour included free with your ticket.

A Victorian Street Scene with walk-in Shop, Pub, Workshop & Workhouse peepshow

Special features on the River Thames, models of Wallingford Bridge and Thames weirs, Roman burials from Crowmarsh and a detailed scale model of Wallingford Station

Special exhibitions

A Museum Shop with a range of new books on local subjects, a selection of gifts and mementoes with an historical theme, and a wide choice of second-hand books

Flint House
52 High Street Wallingford Oxfordshire
Tel: 01491 651127
Post Code: OX10 0DB View more

Nightlife

Corn Exchange - Wallingford

At Wallingford's volunteer-run cinema, you can enjoy a beer with your movie and take part in post-film discussions in the foyer. The digital cinema shows art house as well as mainstream films.The cinema timetable takes breaks for short periods through the year while plays and pantomimes are staged by the excellent Sinodun Players. The Corn Exchange is a renovated Grade II listed building, saved from dereliction over 30 years ago by the Sinodun Players amateur dramatics society. Given to the town as a theatre and cinema, it has been run on a voluntary basis ever since – only the cleaner is paid! The Corn Exchange has even featured in Midsomer Murders.

Market Place, Wallingford
Post Code: OX10 0EG View more

Cornerstone Arts Centre - Didcot

Cornerstone has a fantastic array of facilities for you to enjoy; an auditorium for theatre, shows, gigs and performances, a visual art gallery, a welcoming cafe/bar, a dance studio, plus high quality multi-purpose spaces used for our own programme of classes and workshops. Check out their website to know 'what's on' over your stay in Southern Oxfordshire.

25 Station Road, Didcot
Post Code: OX11 7NE View more

Shush - Wantage

The only private owned multi-purpose entertainment venue in Wantage. Shush has been created as a premium destination venue combining elegance and sophistication with spectacular entertainment appealing to a wide audience by incorporating incredible nightlife with live music, dance, DJ’s, comedy, theatre, film, sports events, children shows, Teenz nights, Tribute bands not forgetting the best nightclub in Oxfordshire.

The Regent Mall
Newbury Street
Wantage
Oxon
Post Code: OX12 8BU View more

The Kenton Theatre - Henley on Thames

The Kenton Theatre is the fourth-oldest working theatre in the country. It is a Regency gem, set in the heart of Henley-on-Thames, with a warm, friendly and cosy intimacy that makes you want to come back. Our policy is to provide a varied programme to suit all tastes, featuring professional touring companies as well as local amateur societies and dance groups. Local amateur companies and children's shows provide an opportunity for local budding actors and actresses to develop their skills. Kate Winslet and Harry Stott (currently appearing as Oliver!) are just two of the many stars who trod the Kenton stage at an early age. The 234-seat auditorium is professionally equipped and provides facilities suitable for live performances, films, lectures and conferences. A coffee bar and licensed bar are open for performances. Run entirely by volunteers, the theatre aims to provide enjoyment and opportunity for all, whether as a patron, treading the boards, or working behind the scenes or front of house. Enjoy our theatre…we do. Check out their website for 'what's on' during your stay in Southern Oxfordshire.

New Street, Henley-on-Thames
Post Code: RG9 2BP View more

The Mill at Sonning – Dinner Theatre - Reading

The Mill at Sonning is a delightful theatre, an absolute little gem set on the river. It provides an appealing theatrical experience that includes a warm welcome with an excellent dinner in the restaurant before watching the play in the intimate auditorium. With much of the original structure retained, this 18th Century Flour Mill has been converted into a renowned Dinner Theatre. Patrons enjoy a fresh home-cooked meal – with not a microwave in sight! – before watching the performance in our 215 seat air conditioned auditorium. Pre-dinner drinks with a view of The Thames or watching the working Waterwheel in the bar, is an added treat. On Friday and Saturday nights why not stay after the show and listen to live music provided in our welcoming Waterwheel Bar. Check out the website for details on What's On in addition to online booking.

Sonning Eye
Post Code: RG4 6TY View more

The Players Theatre - Thame

The Players Theatre is the home of Thame Players Theatre Company. Since the £250,000 refurbishment in 2002, the 120 seat theatre has become a vibrant venue for a wide variety of performing arts, with music from Opera to Jazz and plays from Shakespeare to Pantomime. We are also the venue for Thame's only regular cinema.

Nelson Street, Thame
Post Code: OX9 2DP View more

Parks & Gardens

Abbey Gardens - Abingdon on Thames

Explore blue-flag award winning Abbey Gardens with beautiful floral displays. The gardens comprise of two main areas; the formal garden area with flower beds, herbaceous borders, seating and an Italian walkway; and open parkland with a number of mature trees, an ornamental lake and a Folly that stands near a statue of Queen Victoria.

The lake is a haven for wildlife and is home to the nationally scarce water vole.

Abbey Gardens
Abingdon
Post Code: OX14 3JJ View more

Betjeman Millenium Park - Wantage

The Park was established to celebrate two main events- The start of the 3rd Millennium and The life and works of Wantage's 2nd Millennium hero, Sir John Betjeman

The main features of the Park are its:
•the central Performance Area. This is notable for both its central symbolic, millennial standing stones and the surrounding 'palisade' of Sarsen Stones
•the six poetry plaques designed by Alec Peever and inscribed with quotations from JB's works
•the three Learning Spaces and adjacent wildflower display areas.

Other important features relate to the mildly alkaline, fertile soil which is good for growing a wide range of plants and insects. These include:
•the young, native and shrubs trees planted when the Park was first established.
•the scented, climbing roses planted at the foot of mature trees. The majority of the mature trees are sycamores and horse chestnuts. Several of these have either received surgery or have been pollarded at about 6 metres from the ground
•the net-work of informal foot-paths, which traverse/wind through the semi-wild areas of woodland glades of trees, shrubs, grass, and seasonal displays of wildflowers and bulbs

59 Mill Street, Wantage
Post Code: OX12 9AB View more

Harcourt Arboretum - Abingdon on Thames

The arboretum forms an integral part of the tree and plant collection of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. There are no walls, glasshouses or straight lines - an antidote to the formality of the Botanic Garden in central Oxford.

William Sawrey Gilpin (1762–1843), the artist and later landscape designer, laid out the pinetum, which forms the core of the arboretum. The trees are now mature, with giant redwoods and monkey-puzzle trees.

In April there are carpets of bluebells in the 37 acre woods. In May and June the Arboretum is ablaze with azaleas and rhododendrons and in October the Japanese maples can brighten even the dullest day.
In addition to the collection of trees and shrubs the Arboretum is home to a series of themed plants including a fern gully, meadow and Plants from High Places.

All of the plants grown within Plants from High Places come from mountainous parts of the world. Six beds have been planted with species from the Pyrenees, the Pindhos Mountains, the Himalayas, the Drakensburg Mountains, the Chilean Andes and South Island of New Zealand.

The network of easy walking trails around the Arboretum is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. They encourage exploration of the meadows, native woodlands and the collection of trees from around the world.

This image was originally posted to Flickr.com, by Colchicum. On that date it was licensed under the Creative Commons attribution share alike Generic license.

Oxford Lodge
Nuneham Courtenay Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 343501
Post Code: OX44 9PX View more

Millets Farm Centre - Abingdon on Thames

Garden centre, maize maze, farm shop, farm zoo, children's play area, restaurant, picnic area, trout fishery for members, pick-your-own vegetables.

Kingston Road
Frilford
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 392200
Post Code: OX13 5HB View more

Newington Nurseries - Wallingford

Newington Nurseries is based in beautiful South Oxfordshire and is one of Oxfordshire's best kept secrets. We're plant lovers and garden designers, specialising in the unusual and quirky. We stock a wide selection of high quality outdoor plants including mature trees, evergreen shrubs, architectural and spiky plants as well huge palms, bamboos and grasses, all providing the backbone and structure for the garden. We also sell some rather amazing herbaceous plants, sometimes known as the 'fireworks of the garden’ as they offer colour and foil to shrubs and trees. You’ll also find a lovely collection of ‘hardy exotics’, ferns and herbs. In addition to selling beautiful garden plants, we specialise in orchids which fill our tropical glasshouse throughout the year. We sell mainly Phalaenopsis Moth Orchids but you'll occasionally find the odd Vanda, Cattleya or Dendrobium and possibly a Cymbidium. We also stock citrus (lemon, lime and orange), bananas and ginger plants. If you would like a morning or afternoon, or indeed both, with a difference and be transported away from the rigours of daily life to a world of tranquillity and exotica, then pay us a visit. We offer so much more than the average garden centre (so our customers tell us). Wander through the gardens, enjoy the beautiful garden art, treat yourself to some of our lovingly cared-for garden plants then browse in the glasshouse where you can buy fantastic value-for-money orchids. We’re open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm and there is ample free parking. We have an excellent restaurant with a tropical atmosphere where you can enjoy cooked breakfasts, fabulous lunches, afternoon teas, local beers and good wines.

Newington Nurseries
Nr Stadhampton
Wallingford
Oxfordshire
Post Code: OX10 7AW View more

The Herb Farm - Henley on Thames

The Herb Farm is situated close to the village of Sonning Common in rural South Oxfordshire. We offer a most comprehensive collection of herb plants and herbal products. Stroll through our attractive Gardens or lose yourself in the Saxon Maze but don't forget to visit the Daisy's Coffee Shop for a choice of homemade fare. In our Barn Shop you will also discover a fascinating and ever-changing display of decorative and practical items as well as many unusual gifts.

Peppard Road, Sonning Common
Post Code: RG4 9NJ View more

Waterperry Gardens - Thame

The eight acres of landscape ornamental gardens at Waterperry have inspired and delighted countless gardeners for more than seventy five years. They back to the early 1900's when Beatrix Havergal established her Ladies' Gardening School there.

It's the perfect place for inspiration for both complete novices and the more experienced gardener, and there are design ideas by the bucketful.

The gardens include both formal and rose gardens, a river walk, lily canal and classical 200 feet long herbaceous border, along with an alpine garden, island beds, riverside walk and the National Collection of Kabschia Saxifrages.

A full programme of events ensures the gardens are seen at their best at any time of the year.

Waterperry also has a gallery, gift barn, garden shop, plant centre, teashop and museum.

Waterperry
Near Wheatley Oxfordshire
Tel: 01844 339226
Post Code: OX33 1JZ View more

Water-based Attractions

Henley Rowing Association - Henley on Thames

Rowing for all ! Even beginners! Following Britain's success at the Olympics lots of people want to 'have a go' at rowing but are unable to commit to a six week course - this is where we can help. Overseas visitors wanting to row at Henley, home of the world's most famous Regatta also welcome! For general enquiries and bookings please contact: hello@henleyrowingassociation.com

For general enquiries and bookings please contact:
+44 (0) 7881 205 545
Post Code: RG9 1JL View more

Henley Sales and Charter Ltd - Henley on Thames

Midsomer Maiden is a stunning version of the popular Frolic 31 and ideally suited for private or corporate entertainment with comfortable seating for 10-12 people.

She can be hired for a short cruise, as transportation to one of the many riverside restaurants and hotels, enjoy as a venue for a picnic any time of day in the Henley area or perhaps as a uniquely romantic setting for a proposal.

Henley Sales and Charter offer a catering service ranging from simple picnics to luxurious spreads. Full day or evening packages available for all the Henley events including Regatta, Festival of Music and Arts and 80's Rewind Festival.

Midsomer Maiden is moored in central Henley and is ideally situated for a cruise of the Regatta stretch also for local weddings and perfect for exploring Midsomer Murder locations, internationally known as 'Barnaby'

01491 578870/07436 812508 Or e-mail charter@hscboats.co.uk
www.hscboats.co.uk
@boatychic
Post Code: RG9 5BN View more

Hobbs of Henley - Henley on Thames

Hobbs of Henley continue to provide a first class leisure resource to the public giving them the opportunity to enjoy the splendour of the river Thames from a large variety of vessels. We don’t just offer the hire of boats we also have many scheduled themed cruises for the public to come along and enjoy including the tour of Midsomer Murder famous film locations, come and explore the internationally famed Barnaby! With our extensive list of events there is surely something for everyone! Or if you simply fancy a leisurely one hour River Trip (April to September) taking in the beautiful 360 degree panoramic views of the Thames then look no further! We look forward to welcoming you aboard soon.

Station Road
Henley

@HobbsofHenley
Post Code: RG9 1AZ View more

Salters Steamers - Oxford

Salters are a family firm that has provided first-class hospitality on the Royal River Thames for over 150 years
(est. 1858). As one of the longest established firms on the Thames we own one of the largest and most exclusive fleets operating on the river. Our cruises combine traditional style, contemporary comforts and the highest modern standards. We offer a variety of hugely popular boat trips through some of the most beautiful scenery in England. Check out the schedule of trips on our website. But just a few of our boat trips include: Oxford to Abingdon; Wallingford to Abingdon; Wallingford to Reading; Reading to Henley; Marlow to Henley.

Folly Bridge, Oxford
Post Code: OX1 4LA View more

Streatley and Goring Lock - Goring and Streatley

Goring Lock itself began life, records tell us, back in the 1500s as a flash weir. It was constructed by the local mill owner to provide him with a head of water to drive the water wheel. A side benefit was that it made the water deep enough for river craft. It became a timber pound lock in 1787, costing, it is said, £1,000 to build. When Goring Lock was rebuilt by the Thames Conservancy in 1921, it was built with a very obvious difference - it had a pair of middle gates. This was to save water and enable river craft to travel faster through the lock. The middle gates were removed in 1981, but if you look closely, you can see the recesses where the gates were installed. Every year, the travelling theatre company, Mikron Theatre, give a performance at Goring Lock. The professional actors live and travel on board the narrowboat, Tyseley, and perform at canal and riverside venues including pubs, village halls, museums and marinas.


Post Code: RG8 9AE View more

Wildlife & Nature

Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve, Nr - Watlington

Aston Rowant NNR is a visitor friendly site, and welcomes people of all ages from the local community and further afield, all year round. The reserve appeals to all the senses; from the visual spectacle of colourful butterflies, majestic red kites and stunning views, to the scent of wild herbs and the sound of bird song. The reserve has something to offer for a range of visitors, including those seeking a family day out, educational school visit, a bracing walk or a peaceful day wildlife watching. Visitors looking to follow guided trails can enjoy the Talking Trail, starting in the beech woods, or the Nature Discovery Trail opposite the Cowleaze Wood Car Park.

Beacon Hill Car Park, Nr Stokenchurch
Post Code: HP14 3YL View more

Badbury Clumps - Faringdon

A natural beauty spot of 9 acres set half a mile outside of Faringdon, there is a mix of deciduous trees above a carpet of bluebells in the spring. Walk deeper into the oldest part of the forest, to the ancient Scots pines, and the Iron Age fort here.

Off Highworth Road
Faringdon
Post Code: SN7 7NL View more

Cothill Natural Nature Reserve - Abingdon on Thames

The NNR includes a full transition from open water, short fen, through to oak/alder woodland. Cothill NNR is part of the much larger Cothill Fen Special Area of Conservation (SAC), one of the most species-rich lowland calcareous fen systems in the UK. A large number of scarce invertebrates have been recorded here, including southern damselfly and Desmoulin's whorl snail. Several uncommon plants typical of alkaline fen are found at the site, these include narrow-leaved marsh orchid, marsh helleborine, bog pimpernel, black bog-rush and marsh valerian. Grass snakes and lizards can often be seen at the reserve and the reed beds provide cover for sedge warblers and reed warblers. The best time to visit the site is between April and September. The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in local towns and villages. There are information boards at the site and a circular trail.

Nearest Car Park is at Honeybottom Lane, Dry Sandford.
Post Code: OX13 6BX View more

Cowleaze Woods, Nr - Watlington

This wood is set high in the Chiltern Hills with amazing views over the surrounding countryside. There is a great mix of habitats in this small wood and plenty of paths to explore. The bluebells in May are like a blue carpet and well worth a visit.

Cowleaze Wood Car park, Nr Stokenchurch
Post Code: HP14 3YL View more

Cuttlebrook Nature Reserve - Thame

Discover the rich diversity of wildlife on Thame's award-winning nature reserve. A quick, circular walk can take just twenty minutes. If you have an hour or more, there's a network of paths with plenty to see - and it's different every time you visit. With several different habitats in one easy-to-stroll site, Cuttle Brook is a unique piece of 'semi-wild' countryside free from roads but just a few minutes walk from Thame Town Centre - a delightful 'green lung' for the area. Meandering right through the reserve is a tributary of the River Thame called the 'Cuttle Brook', which springs to life in the Chilterns. The whole area now offers superb, open river-meadow views and a network of paths through about thirty acres of mixed meadows, woodland, sedge and reed banks, hedges, trees, riverbanks and scrubland.

West of Thame, beside the Southern Road Recreation Ground.
Post Code: OX9 2EE View more

Dry Sandford Pit - Abingdon on Thames

A fascinating mosaic of cliffs, fenland, grassland, scrub and woodland set in an old quarry
The marvelous array of habitats at Dry Sandford Pit attracts a diversity of plant and animal life. The exposed pit cliffs are brilliant for spotting solitary bees and wasps, as well as fossil remains from southern Britain's ancient under-sea past.

Cothill village
Post Code: OX13 6JW View more

Earth Trust - Abingdon on Thames

Connect with nature, stroll through woodlands, walk around lakes and learn about sustainable living...

The Earth Trust was set up in 1969 by British engineer Sir Martin Wood to promote environmental conservation through land management, education and land science.

It is a charity based at Little Wittenham Nature Reserve, a conservation farm and an area of woodland dedicated to forestry research. There are great sites to visit; exciting things to see and a whole range of activities that one can get involved in, allowing us to reconnect to the natural world.

Little Wittenham, Abingdon
Post Code: OX14 4QZ View more

Ewelme Watercress Beds - Ewelme

Ewelme is situated at the western end of the Chilterns, on the eastern slopes of the Thames valley. It is in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Throughout most of the 20th century, watercress provided a thriving local business, with distribution as far as Covent Garden.
The Watercress beds flow through the whole length of the village from South East to North West. The stream, fed by springs supported a water mill in the village and another two (or perhaps three) in Benson before flowing into the River Thames at Benson, a couple of miles away.

During the latter quarter of the 1900s, regulations precluded the sale of watercress from the site and this, together with greater competition from other areas and countries, lead to the industry's demise. The Chiltern Society purchased the beds and have invested in a programme of conservation and revival.

Image © Copyright Shaun Ferguson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Tom Stevenson
73 Westfield Road Benson
OX10 6NJ
01491 836888 07773251301
Post Code: RG8 0LL View more

Farmer Gow's - Faringdon

Farmer Gow's has been welcoming families for many years. Animals are central to this 'learning through activity' farm. Four large barns contain all weather activities and picnic areas. You can feed the animals, collect eggs, find out about farming today and even take a goat or ferret for a walk.

The farm specialises in 'Meet the Animals' held daily throughout the year, at 11am and at 2pm. There are always lambs and kids to bottle feed. Pigs, cows and goats to hand feed. Eggs to collect and chicks to handle.

additional childrens' facilities include tractors to drive, bales to climb, an adventure play area and an indoor activity area for under 5's. From April - October (weather dependant) there are trailer rides across the farm to feed the sheep or pigs.

Fernham Road
Longcot
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01793 780555
Post Code: SN7 7PR View more

High Ropes Oxford - Abingdon on Thames

High Ropes Oxford is Oxfordshire’s Tree-Top High Ropes adventure, with Rope Bridges, Tarzan Swings, Zip Slides, set high in the trees in a 50 acre woodland, located in Culham near Abingdon. The course consists of 40+ obstacles in the tree tops that are made from wood, rope and wire. On arrival for a session, receive a harness, belay system and comprehensive 30 minute safety briefing and training session - then the adventure begins!

Culham Adventure Park
Furze Brake Woodland
Off the A415 – Abingdon Rd
Oxfordshire
Post Code: OX14 3DA View more

Hitchcopse Pit - Abingdon on Thames

An old sandpit with a fascinating array of plant and insect life. Hitchcopse Pit is a small site, but full of wildlife.

3 miles north-west of Abingdon
Post Code: OX13 5QF View more

Hurst Water and Old Bridge Meadow - Dorchester on Thames

The Hurst Water Meadow Trust manages, for the benefit of the public, two water meadows alongside the River Thame on the edge of Dorchester-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.
The Hurst Water Meadow is an 18-acre island lying between the River Thame and the Overy millstream. This picturesque site, with its backdrop of Dorchester Abbey and the Wittenham Clumps, is popular with families, naturalists, dog walkers, school groups and people just looking for quiet space. It floods two or three times a year and provides a wide range of wildlife habitats. The Old Bridge Meadow is a 3-acre site next to the road bridge over the River Thame, just outside the village. It is a mixture of rough grazing, old river channels, and willow woodland. A feature is the old causeway leading to a former river crossing. This meadow also floods every year.

4 Orchard Haven, Dorchester-on-Thames
Post Code: OX10 7JN View more

Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary - Wallingford

Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary is a registered charity which cares for and protects abused and ill-treated donkeys and other animals. If you would like to visit the donkey sanctuary, we are open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free

Old Didcot Road, Brightwell-Cum-Sotwell, Wallingford
Post Code: OX10 0SW View more

Lashford Lane Fen, Nr - Abingdon on Thames

Exciting wildlife lies hidden in this small limestone valley leading into fascinating fenland and reedbeds
This small, but amazingly diverse, wet, shallow valley is a great place to explore all year round. Lashford Lane's wide range of habitats includes reedbeds, limestone grassland, scrub, woodland and fen.

4 miles south-west of Oxford nr Abingdon
Post Code: OX13 6DY View more

Little Wittenham Nature Reserve - Abingdon on Thames

Sitting within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Little Wittenham Nature Reserve is designated as both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. The nature reserve is particularly important for the great crested newt. This seldom seen amphibian uses the many ponds on the nature reserve to breed but it spends the majority of time in the surrounding Little Wittenham Wood.

Over 20 species of dragonflies and damselflies can be found on the nature reserve. With their bright colours and strong flight these large insects make a beautiful sight to anyone near water on a bright sunny day. Watch out for the club-tailed dragonfly and the banded demoiselle which can be found by the bank of the River Thames. Within the wood watch as the brown hawker uses its powerful wings to ‘hawk’ up and down woodland rides in search of insect prey.

In the spring the wildflower meadow is home to the rare Loddon lily, known also as 'summer snowflakes' or 'summer snowdrops'. This beautiful little plant can be recognised by the dash of green at the tips of the white petals. Also in the spring the meadow turns yellow with carpets of buttercups. As the summer progresses this yellow is replaced by the purple of knapweed and the bright white of the oxeye daisy.

Hill Farm
Little Wittenham Abingdon
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 407792
Post Code: OX14 4QZ View more

Mowbray Fields Nature Reserve - Didcot

Mowbray Fields is a local nature reserve situated immediately south of Didcot and north-west of East Hagbourne. The reserve includes a small section of stream, a newly created wildflower meadow, part of a railway embankment and a fill pond. The Earth Trust organise a programme of events running throughout the year, some of which take place at Mowbray Fields.

Mowbray Road, Didcot
Post Code: OX11 8SS View more

Nettlebed & District Commons - Henley on Thames

There are 8 commons, in total 560 acres, which constitute the Nettlebed & District Commons: Nettlebed, Lower Common Wood, Oxlands Bottom, Highmoor, Witheridge Hill, Kingwood and Peppard. They consist of wide and varied habitat including beech, birch and oak woods, heathland and grassland, clay ponds, an ancient earthwork, an old well (Kingwood- 245 ft deep- capped in 1929) and miles of tracks and path. You are sure to enjoy exploring the commons taking in the ever important wildlife.

Nettlebed
Post Code: RG9 5AF View more

Parsonage Moor, Nr - Abingdon on Thames

A fenland wilderness rich in botanical gems, moths and dragonflies. This atmospheric reserve is particularly rich in plants for its size - more than 300 different species have been recorded in the fenland at Parsonage Moor.

3 miles north-west of Abingdon
Post Code: OX13 6JW View more

Riverside Meadows - Wallingford

Riverside Meadows lies immediately to the south of Wallingford Bridge, which is a scheduled ancient monument within the Chilterns, and contains 3 known important archaeological sites. The area also hosts the annual Wallingford Regatta and Raft race. The Earth Trust organise a programme of events running throughout the year, some of which take place at Riverside Meadows.

The Street, Crowmarsh Gifford
Post Code: OX10 8EA View more

Russell's Water and Maidensgrove Common, Nr - Henley on Thames

Maidensgrove Common is a huge area of open grassland, that belongs to Stonor Park and enables free public access for walking and kite flying. In the autumn, bring a bag to collect sloes, hips and haws and many other hedgerow fruit. The whole area is criss-crossed with old sheep drover trails that are now restricted bridleways and great for walking or off road cycling. Power Kites available for rent from the pub, suitable for children 7 years and over from the Five Horseshoes Pub in Maidensgrove. Please note that horse-riding is explicitly NOT permitted anywhere on these grounds.

Russell's Water has a claim to fame. The large duck pond there featured in the 1968 family favourite film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, when Truly Scrumptious drives her car into the pond to avoid a collision and has to be rescued by Chitty's inventor Caractacus Potts.

Maidensgrove and Russell Water, nr Henley-on-Thames
Post Code: RG9 6EX View more

The Herb Farm & Saxon Maze - Henley on Thames

The Herb Farm, in a rural setting centred on its picturesque 18th Century barn, comprises the Specialist Herb Nursery growing a comprehensive range of herbs, cottage garden plants and old-style roses.

There are display gardens where plants can be seen in mature settings; a barn shop with products demonstrating the versatility of herbs and a collection of hand-crafted items.

The Saxon Maze comprises a mile of curving grass pathways and a large beech hedge maze. It was created in 1991 (The Year of the Maze) by leading maze maker Adrian Fisher and is based on the shape of a Saxon sea creature.

Daisy's Coffee Shop offers freshly prepared food and drinks.

Open daily : Free admission

Peppard Road
Sonning Common
Reading
Oxfordshire
Tel: 0118 972 4220
Post Code: RG4 9NJ View more

The Ladygrove Loop - Didcot

A remarkable outdoor gym for Didcot. The key features of the loop include:
- an integrated walking, cycling and fitness route, with two new outside exercise stations, distance interval markers and signs;
- ten new seating areas and a picnic area;
- six acres of new wildflower meadows, 3.3km of new hedgrows and 1,800 new trees planted;
- two new natural play areas and gateways at Cow Lane and Tyne Avenue;
- enhancements to the existing play area in Ladygrove park.

Avon Way, Didcot
Post Code: OX11 7GB View more

Thrupp Lake - Abingdon on Thames

A former gravel quarry, Thrupp Lake was transformed into a beautiful lake with an easy walking trail. Enjoy as a circular walk around the lake (1.7kn takes about 40 minutes) or as a gentle stroll around part of the trail.

The Earth Trust is creating an area that is welcoming for people and a haven for Wildlife. A wooden boardwalk across the North West corner gives the chance to walk over water and a newly completed bird hide provides an opportunity to watch and photograph the birdlife without disturbing them. A new wooden shelter shaped like a water lily in bloom provides warm and dry seating on windy days.

Image © Copyright Alan Iwi and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Radley
Near Abingdon
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 407792
Post Code: OX14 3NG View more

Warburg Nature Reserve - Henley on Thames

In this secluded valley high in the Chilterns is a mosaic of habitats from birch, conifer and beech woodlands to chalk grassland and scrub.

Orchids are plentiful and in spring the valley bottom is awash with bluebells. In autumn over 900 species of fungi spring up.

Deer are the most likely mammals to see and red kites are regularly circling overhead.

There is a small visitor centre and nature trail.

The site is one of 88 reserves owned by Berkshire Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. Open all year.

Image © Copyright Andrew Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Bix Bottom
Henley-On-Thames Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 775476
Post Code: RG9 6BL View more

Watlington Hill and White Mark - Watlington

The White Mark is best viewed from Hill Road, Watlington. A lovely chalk grassland site and yew woodland south of Watlington with great views over the surrounding countryside. The curious triangular mark on the hill cut out of the turf to expose the white chalk beneath has an interesting tale. It was supposedly created in 1764 by Edward Horne, the vicar of Watlington, who was somewhat ashamed of his spireless church. By cutting this shape in the hills, when he looked from his upstairs vicarage window over the church towards the Chilterns, the tower by all appearances was topped by a spire. It mattered not that it was just a chalk illusion!

Watlington Hill Car Park
Post Code: OX49 5HS View more

Wittenham Clumps - Abingdon on Thames

Enjoy the wildlife, views, walking or flying kites on the Clumps. At the heart of the Earth Trust Estate are two chalk hills: Round Hill and Castle Hill. The two hills are known as the Wittenham Clumps.

Sitting within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wittenham Clumps are internationally recognised for their wildlife value. Keep an eye out for the distinctive tailed Red Kites or Buzzards overhead and the muntjac deer in the woods.

Castle Hill was once a Bronze Age hill fort and still has its curved ramparts and ditches from the later Iron Age. During 2003 and 2004 Oxford Archaeology and Channel 4's Time Team spent 3 days excavating trenches across the Clumps. Thousands of important Iron Age finds including pottery, animal bones and several amazingly well preserved human skeletons of an adult and baby were found at the bottom of the hill fort ditch.

For the best part of 300 years the two hilltops have been recognisable by their beech crowns - the oldest known planted hilltop beeches in England. By the year 2000 it was recognised that climate change might threaten the long term viability of beech trees on the Clumps so starting in 2004, planting began to replace the old original beech trees with new mixed species. Even if climate change threatens the future growth of the beech, the mixed species will ensure the survival of this landmark.

The Wittenham Clumps are open 365 days a year and there is free car parking available.

Little Wittenham
Abingdon
Oxfordshire
Tel: 01865 407792
Post Code: OX14 4QZ View more

Wytham Woods, Nr - Oxford

Wytham Woods are an area of ancient semi-natural woodland to the west of Oxford, UK, owned by the University of Oxford and used for environmental research. The woods were bequeathed to Oxford University in 1942 by the ffennel family, after the death of their only daughter, Hazel. The University agreed to maintain the natural beauty of the Woods, to allow their continued use for education and research, and that the woods be enjoyed by the inhabitants of Oxford. Wytham Woods (390ha) contain a variety of habitats including ancient semi-natural woodland, secondary woodland and plantations as well as calcareous grasslands, a valley side mire, an arable weed plot and a variety of ponds. The SSSI citation states that the site has an exceptionally rich flora and fauna, with over 500 species of vascular plants and 800 species of butterflies and moths. Walking permits are available to anyone who wishes to apply. There are over thirty kilometres of rides to explore, though please note that no dogs are allowed.

Keeper's Hill, Wytham
Post Code: OX2 8QQ View more


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