North Leigh Roman Villa in Oxfordshire
This is what the horse from yesterday's post was looking at.
It's a Roman villa, partially uncovered back in the early 1800s. The other day we drove out to the Cotswolds and explored the North Leigh Roman Villa on our own. Although it's an English Heritage site, it's open to anyone at all reasonable times of the day. It's considered a minor site—that's right; archaeological remains are so thick on the ground here that many interesting sites are completely out in the open. Fortunately, the British have taken good care of their remains.
Since my dog's a real archaeological buff, we take her along whenever we can. She had a great time running around the stones, trying to figure out which room would have been the dining room.
Tracing the outline of one of the bedrooms.
"Hmmm...where would they have stored the treats?"
We finally figured out it would have been the one room under the shelter, holding the remains of a mosaic tile floor.
Then she checked out the hypocaust, and the bath house.
This is the bathing area. Perfect size for bathing a muddy dog!
The floorplan of the villa was very curvaceous. Obviously, wealthy Romans live here, farming the rich land of the Cotswolds.
Sometimes my dog likes to pretend she's an ancient Roman.
Underneath the floor level—great place to play hide-and-seek!
When we arrived at the site, some pheasant hunters in a further field were shooting—I tried not to listen, but my dog knew what was up. She's not afraid of guns (or fireworks, thankfully) so we continued to explore—until she heard a pheasant in the hedge. Then she sprinted away, archaeology forgotten as she flushed the bird from his hiding place.
"Is that a pheasant I hear?!"
Luckily he got away, and escaped the guns, too. Eventually the hunters packed up and left, and we poked around the surrounding area, checking out the nearby river where the Romans must have got their water. The dog, of course, had to take a dip—archaeology is hot work!
Swimming in the Evenlode.
We stopped again to admire the well-preserved site, then walked back to our car, shaking off the Cotswolds mud as we trudged up the path past the horses in the stable yard.
North Leigh Roman Villa is located about 10 miles north of Oxford, past Bladon and Long Hanborough off the A4095. Follow the signs for "Roman villa" and park at the brown sign near a footpath. The villa is about a kilometre from the roadside.
Say hello to the horse in the stable when you pass.