Wittenham is an attractive Thames-side village but disappointingly you can't see the river from the road unless you proceed towards Clifton
Hampden Bridge. About a quarter of a mile outside
the village the road runs alongside the river where the
raised footpath indicates frequest flooding.
is evidence that there has been human habitation in the
area since the Stone Age, and many interesting archaelogical
finds, including relics from the Stone and Bronze Ages,
have been made. At nearby Northfield Farm there was a
sizeable Romano-British farmstead. Excavations in the
area now called Saxon Heath, revealed nearly 200 burials
dating from the late fifth century. the older ones were
burials, the later ones cremations. It remained as a Saxon
community until the 9th Century. Excavations of the Saxon
burial grounds at Saxon Heath in the mid 19th Century
indicated a community of some size.
The parish church in the village is St. Mary's which is
standing on the same site as its Saxon predecessor. St
Mary's was begun around 1120 but as with most churches
of this age has been substantially altered over the years.
Next to Church Cottage is the village Pound where stray
animals could be put until claimed by their owners.
Another important building in the village is Cruck Cottage
on the north side of the High Street, which dates from
the C14. believed to be the oldest house in South Oxfordshire.
The cruck frame was restored in 1974. Originally this
was a single storey, open hall house, without a chimney,
which was added during the reign of Elizabeth 1. As well
as Cruck Cottage there are six other cruck-framed buildings
in village which may be 600 or more years old.
Pendon Museum receives many visitors each year. It is
a delightful cross between a model village and a model
railway and is well worth a visit. The main attraction
is perhaps the recreation of a model of the countryside
of the Vale of the White Horse as it was in the 1930's.
The museum says on its website "At Pendon we aim
to recapture, in detailed and colourful miniature, scenes
showing the beauty of the English countryside as it used
to be in the years around 1930. Realistically modelled
cottages, farms, fields and lanes recall the peaceful
country ways of that period. Cavalcades of trains, accurately
represented, provide a fascinating record of the railways
of the time. Pendon is being created entirely by volunteer
modellers who work to the most exacting standards. The
photograph above shows the work of the late Roye England,
the Museum's founder. It is just one of the many fine
model buildings in the Vale Scene." Other models
on display are a Dartmoor Scene with a fascinating sequence
of trains and full commentary from Museum staff and a
Madder Valley scene, a model dating from the 1930s. This
was the first model railway to be set in a fully developed
landscape, complete with towns and countryside. (www.pendonmuseum.com)
Wittenham is about two
miles north of Didcot.