Field Event Reports

13 September 2015 - Churchill Village and Heritage Centre

Leader: Owen Green – Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

As a follow-up to Owen Green’s talk about William Smith in April we visited Churchill in North Oxfordshire. This was a longer journey than usual from Abingdon but those who made the trip were rewarded by a fine afternoon and a tour around a beautiful and fascinating village. Owen had prepared some detailed booklets for our visit and these contained information to explain and supplement our activities as well as maps of the village and a copy of Smith’s geological map.

A variety of village landmarks were seen and Owen also pointed out variations in the building stone of houses, explaining their significance to the local and surrounding geological areas. Our walk revealed a wildflower conservation strip alongside a farmer’s recently harvested field and the beauty of the old village churchyard and burial ground that contained some ancient trees and wonderful displays of cyclamen. The gravestones were mostly of limestone and many showed the reddish hue denoting their iron content. Most of these were liberally covered with a range of lichens. Here too was the former village church now converted to a Heritage Centre. This contained information on Smith and other notables from the village’s past. As we returned to the village hill top area we passed many of the huge limestone blocks that still form the edges of several village roads.

It was a very pleasant spot. If you have never visited and like places with plenty of history and interest then it should go onto your ‘recommended’ list.

Chris Biggs