Woolstone

Woolstone is a charming little village at the foot of the northern slopes of the Berkshire Downs and overshadowed by the prancing White Horse on White Horse Hill. It is an attractive little village with several thatched cottages, many with chalk walls. Through the centre of the village the lane is dark and cool with overhanging trees and the sound of a brook which rises at the foot of White Horse Hill and passes under the road to the sound of a nearby waterfall.

Location map:

Near the The White Horse Inn in the centre of the village is a rather unusual three-storey house built of brick which appears rather out-of-place and which is rumoured to have been built to enable the then owner to spy into his neighbour's garden after an argument!

The chalk and sarcen stone walled church, the Church of All Saints, is up a short lane towards Manor Farm. It was built in 1195 by the priory of St. Swithun and has an unusual and attractive lead font.

The village is on the site of a long-vanished luxurious Roman villa. Excavations carried out on its discovery in the 19th century revealed that it had at least three geometrically patterned mosaic floors. Few records were kept of these excavations, but further excavation in the 20th century revealed more information about the villa.

Before the coming of piped water, the village had since Saxon times relied on the village wells or the brook for its water supply. Legends associate these wells with the white horse of White Horse Hill fame and with Wayland the Smith (whose Smithy is beside the Ridgeway above Compton Beauchamp). Both apparently used to drink there!

The well-known prehistoric hill figure, the Uffington White Horse, is carved into the hillside above the village. At 360ft by 130ft, it can be seen from miles around, with the best views probably from the London to Bristol railway line to the north. Uffington White Horse is by far the oldest of all Britain's hillside white horse figures and there have been many theories about its origin. These theories and the and many myths about the White Horse and its surrounding landscape are explored on David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History.

Woolstone is just north of the B4507 between Wantage and Ashbury.

 

Images of Woolstone:
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