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Oxfordshire sundial trail
| This sundial trail was compiled by Piers Nicholson,and
covers the county to the north of Oxford. There is a separate trail for
the City of Oxford which has some very fine
public sundials as well as the excellent "Museum of the History of Science"
containing a magnificent collection of portable sundials from all countries
of the world. You may also be interest in Oxford
Sundials by Margaret Stanier which gives colour photographs and descriptions
of 13 dials in the City. Oxford also contains an
This trails starts in the north of the county near Banbury.
There is one more dial in Wroxton, on a house called Crossways on your left which you can just see from the road as you leave the village towards Banbury
BanburyThere is an old black-and-white half-timbered building in the High Street in the pedestrianised centre of Banbury, with some lovely old plasterwork. There is an old painted wooden dial, now with much of its paint peeling, but still very beautiful.
BodicoteBodicote is just off the A4260 south of Banbury, and is now almost a suburb. The church has a good-looking lead dial high up on its south wall. Travelling south again on the A4260, it is worth making a diversion along the B4031 (though it is a bit off the route, the village of
Great Tewwhich for many years was in a kind of "time warp". It is now being sympathetically restored by its new owners. The church is down a tree-lined walk, and has a sundial with a great gnomon but no hour lines on the porch. Inside, there are some very interesting medieval paintings. Returning eastwards, just across the A4260 is the small village of
Middle AstonHome Farm House has a sundial on its south gable, probably dating from the 17th century. The owners, Glen and Caroline Parsons, also do an excellent bed-and-breakfast. It is the ideal base for visits to Oxford, Stratford, and all the places listed in this sundial trail. Their telephone number if (+44) 1869 340 666
Steeple AstonThis large village is a couple of miles to the south, and the church has two vertical dials at right angles on the skyline of the south wall, so that you can tell the time all day.
RoushamA mile to the south, you cross the B4030 at traffic lights, and continue straight on following the signs to Rousham House. This is a very fine country home built in 1635 and enlarged in 1730, when the gardens were laid out by William Kent. There is a sundial in the grounds.
Lower HeyfordBack to the traffic lights and turn right. You cross the Oxford Canal with its colourful narrow boats, and the village of Lower Heyford is just off the road to the left. The church has a modern dial with the motto "Nil nisi coelestio p.a dio"
Bicester is a pleasant little market town. One of the houses in the market place has a nice modern sundial
Weston on the Green
Leaving Bicester by the busy A41, the village of Weston on the Green is just off to the right after 3 miles or so. The Chequers pub is nearly facing you as you come off the slip road. It has a nice dial, though somewhat neglected now, outside the main door. There is also a sundial on the church in the village. Following the narrow road on from the church, you come to the village of
Bletchington.The church has a weathered stone dial from the 17th century on the south wall. Follow the B4027 west for a few miles and then turn south for
Woodstockwhich has a number of sundials. There is one high up on the south wall of the church, and an interesting modern sundial angled slightly out from the wall so it faces due south in an alcove on the wall of the Town Hall at the end of the main square.
Blenheim Palaceis well worth an extended visit for the beauty of its landscape, the splendour of the house, and its historic associations. There is a "human gnomon" analemmatic sundial in the middle of the maze in the pleasure gardens. Follow the A44 north out of Woodstock; the village of
is just off it to the right. There is a memorial to the villagers who fell in the first world war, which has a south facing sundial, and another more ancient sundial, which is just being restored, over the door of the church. Continue westward and join the B4437 to
Charlburywhich has an interesting dial dated 1776 over the church door. Charlbury is a thriving market town with a good train service. Retrace your path of the B4437 and then turn right through Stonesfield to
CombeThis is an interesting village, rather isolated being at the back of the Blenheim Estate, but very peaceful and tranquil, with an interesting layout and some fine houses. The church has a sundial high up on its south wall
There are also many fine sundials in the city of Oxford
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