sits where the B4009 crosses the B480 Henley-on-Thames
to Oxford road. The B4009 runs along the foot of the Chiltern
Hills and takes traffic from junction 6 of the M40 towards
Didcot, Wallingford and Abingdon. Watlington's narrow
streets were just not designed to cope with modern traffic,
hence it has to suffer a lot of congestion.
or village? Technically Watlington is an ancient market
town and it claims to be reputedly the smallest town in
England. But as Watlington is not listed on the South
Oxfordshire District Council's websites as a town
I feel justified in including it here as one of Oxfordshire's
villages. It has lots of character and it would
be a real pity to exclude it for being a town.
village's position at the foot of the Chilterns and on
the edge of the Vale of Oxford adds to its character,
for here we start to see some Chilterns-style flint buildings
as well as timber framed and thatched cottages although
most of the buildings are built of brick. With its fine
selection of small shops, the dominating 17th century
town hall and many historic buildings dating back to that
period, and before, in all Watlington is a very attractive
parish church is St. Leonard's. Much of the present church
is Victorian although there are a few remains from the
original Norman church.
area around Watlington is a perfect place to watch red
kites soaring overhead. These distinctive birds of
prey were re-introduced to the Chilterns from Spain in
1989-1994 as they had become extinct in England by the
end of the 19th century, with just a few breeding pairs
existing in Wales. I counted about 14 red kites in the
skies above the town on my recent visit and their weird whisting
call is a common sound in the town.
Some scenes from episodes of the popular TV series Midsomer
Murders have been filmed in the village.
Watlington is about 7 miles south of Thame.