Greetings Fellow Adventurers!
Today’s Sunday drive took us to North Leigh Roman Villa near Woodstock in North Oxfordshire.
- Location: East End, Oxfordshire
- Total distance travelled: Approx 70 Miles
- Total time at the wheel: 2 hours
- Adventure rating: 1 out of 5 Crossbow Bolts.
- Packets of square crisps eaten: 8!
- Website: English Heritage website
Not far from the village of East End, the courtyard style Villa is located at the bottom of a small valley and sits in a loop of the river Evenlode. It was probably built on the site of an earlier Iron Age settlement, the first phases of the villa being built in the late 1st century. It was lived in and expanded for over 300 years before it was abandoned – presumably with the collapse of the Roman Empire and the withdrawal of the Romano British back to Rome.
Ratty, parked up and in need of a clean!
There is a small road layby to park in, and the Villa is located a few hundred meters down a farm track. However rather than walk directly to it we detoured through a lovely woodland that runs above the river. It’s almost a ‘there and back’ walk but does fork off to the ruins via a very ‘interesting’ descending path – just watch for tree roots!
The way through the woods…
The end of the woods – time to turn around!
There is a fair bit of exposed stonework of the villa to see, and a beautiful mosaic floor that is enclosed in a building with large glass viewing panels. There’s also a hypocaust and the remains of a bath house. The villa itself is actually much larger that what is on display, but most of the earthworks were re-covered after the last archeological dig in the 1970’s.
Some views around the ruins… (all pictures taken with my new (lol) 4.0MP Canon powershot G3).
If you’re really lucky you might find one of the rare large snails that live here – descendants of the Roman breed bought over for food (and presumably escaped).
It is a great little place to while a way an afternoon, and enjoy a picnic.
On the way back we drove in a typical Sunday driving fashion, e.g not in any rush to get home and with a queue of traffic behind us! We took a meandering route around some of the back roads and villages up to Chipping Norton (enjoying the wonderful landscapes in the late afternoon light) before heading home.
Farewell my friends!