Local walks

Photos from walk on Thursday 16th March from Combe into Blenheim Park & on to Stonesfield

Pleased to see us


Despite the lack of fencing, we found the right place to cross the park


View south from the Akeman Street


River Evenlode passing in front of Stonesfield


A nothing of a photo, but in the bushes are the remains of a Roman Villa, much of which was “borrowed” by locals until nothing much remained.  Read all about it here (PDF file)


Another villa faired better


The remains of North Leigh Roman Villa are set within a peaceful landscape on the banks of the river Evenlode in Oxfordshire. This ‘courtyard villa’ is considered to be one of the larger villas of Roman Britain. It was at its most extensive in the early 4th century, when it included three bath suites, 16 mosaic floors and 11 rooms with under-floor heating. Today, two ranges of the former courtyard arrangement of the villa are visible. The most important feature of the site is a fine mosaic tile floor dating to the early 4th century. [source]

Read more about the history of North Leigh Roman Villa.



Gentlemen from English Heritage were on site, and opened up the mosaic room for us.





Afterwards, out route back to Coombe was underwater, so a short, pleasant diversion took us safely over the Evenlode.


At the Villa, the banks were covered with small daisy like flowers which i think might be whitlow grass (Erophila verna).


Whitlow grass is a winter annual, germinating in late autumn, ready to bloom in March, a pioneer in the spring flora. Each plant is only 5cm (2in) tall and its deeply cleft petals and yellow stamens can only really be appreciated on hands and knees, preferably with a magnifying glass. [source]



And in the woods some King Alfred’s Cake (Daldinia concentrica)


The kingdom of fungi has captivated humankind for centuries. In a realm with some truly strange names, King Alfred’s Cakes (Daldinia concentrica) perhaps stands out as one of the most bizarre. The highly distinctive fruiting bodies of this fungus can be seen year round, attached firmly to the surface of dead wood, looking very much like lumps of charcoal. Their appearance in fact has traditionally given them the alternative name of ‘coal fungus.
They continue to get darker as they get older and are a prime example of Saprotrophic nutrition, a method of digestion enabling the processing of decomposing organic matter. King Alfred’s Cakes’ display an overwhelming preference towards the dead and decaying wood of Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) though smaller forms may be found on Beech and Birch, particularly after heathland fires in the case of Birch. Of course, with the continuing decline of Ash across Britain owing to dieback, this fungus will certainly have an abundance of suitable habitat.


King Alfred’s Cakes have also been long known as ‘cramp balls‘ for their perceived assistance in preventing the onset of cramp. Perhaps more usefully they’ve long been used as tinder for starting fires as they burn particularly slowly, though with a truly noxious smoke. [source]


6 replies on “Photos from walk on Thursday 16th March from Combe into Blenheim Park & on to Stonesfield”

Really inspiring photos, David, and information both on plants/fungi and Romans….. wish I had been on your walk too!!

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