random query

I don’t suppose any of the Brits reading this journal are in Oxfordshire? Or are at least familiar with that area?

I’m trying to sort out something for research purposes.

Edited to add: Okay, it looks like what I really need is a bus schedule to get myself from Swindon to either Woolstone or Compton Beauchamp and back. (And, y’know, advice on whether I should be worried about hiking a few miles alone in the Oxfordshire countryside.)

0 Responses to “random query”

  1. kaz_mahoney

    A *little* familiar… How specific is the info you need?

    • Marie Brennan

      I need advice for getting from the Swindon rail station to a few sites in Oxfordshire, or failing that, any incredibly helpful local souls who might go and take some pictures and notes for me.

      • kaz_mahoney

        I’m afraid that’s a little *too* specific for me. If I think of anything that might be able to help, though, I’ll let you know. You could always contact that tourist information office, I guess. (Though not til Monday now, I would imagine.)

      • silme

        I’m in southwest Hampshire; the city of Oxford is two hours away from me by car or rail. Do you just mean rail connections or other ways to get to places? Roads?

        For driving, try http://www.theaa.com

        For rail, go to http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/en/pj/jp.

        (By the way, I have in-laws in Swindon, and I came to this request via .)

        • Marie Brennan

          Driving is Not Happening — even if I had an international license, or even if I for some reason don’t need one, I am not going to endanger total strangers by trying to drive on the left.

          Unfortunately, I don’t know if there’s any way other than driving to get to Uffington/Woolstone from Swindon or Oxford or anywhere else.

          • matociquala

            I didn’t need one–and actually, the driving on the left thing isn’t so bad. It’s just pulling out of the driveway in the morning that’s hard.

          • Marie Brennan

            I would, however, have to deal with car rental and navigation and suchlike. Bus exchanges, however complicated, are more appealing.

          • silme

            Okay, depending on when you’re going to be here, I could drive you. Check with for references. 🙂

            Also, check with the local council for transport information as well.

            And that Uffington website (http://unet.members.beeb.net/) does have an email contact linked for more information. They should be able to help you regarding transportation in that whole area.

          • henrytroup

            I rented a car in Oxford to get to the Uffington White Horse, about twenty years ago. I went with a little independent car hire place. The car was a Ford Escort, gearshift, of course. They did their own driving test – back it out of the long driveway with stone walls each side, round the block with four right (think “left”, the harder type) turns.

            Navigation – roundabouts are the big challenge for North Americans, as few of us are used to them. It wasn’t bad – a roundabout is actually far more forgiving as you can keep going around and catch your turn on the next iteration.

          • Marie Brennan

            Ah. I’ve been meaning to learn to drive stick, but as I have not done that yet, renting a can just became even less likely.

            (Though there are actually three roundabouts in my town. Small ones, of course. But they’re fun.)

          • silme

            Ah, you are trying to get to these places. I’d thought it was for characters in a book. 🙂

            All right, what do you need to know about these sites? Is it the Uffington Horse you’re seeking, by chance? You know, two weeks ago when I wasn’t teaching, we had visitors over. We took them to Stonehenge and Avebury, and they wanted to see some white horses also. We went to three white horse sites in Wiltshire: Hackpen Hill, Cherhill and the one right by Marlborough.

            Okay, the Uffington Horse (and Uffington itself) is in Oxfordshire, but they were in Berkshire before the boundary changed. (A friend of mine was born in Berkshire but later became an Oxfordshire resident without moving. 🙂 She now lives in Hampshire, but her parents are still in the old family home. She might be able to answer specific questions. Also, she’s an ecologist, so if your questions are about the horse, she may be a font of knowledge.)

            You’ve seen this page about Uffington, yes, with its transport links?

            In other words, no train. Bus between Swindon and Uffington on Saturday only. Now, apparently, there’s a bus between Uffington and Faringdon during the week, and you can reach Faringdon from Oxford. See here. http://www.faringdon.org/tttransport.htm (Faringdon is a nice little town, btw. I’ve been there a couple of times. 🙂

            I’m next off for half term in late May, that last week of May, if you can wait until then for in-person research and notes. Seriously. I’m a crazy ex-pat American who taught English in Colorado and now is a college lecturer down in Hampshire’s New Forest with dual US/UK citizenship. I am off for the early bank holiday weekend (first Monday in May), so I might be able to get up there then. Uffington is lovely, so I don’t mind the drive.

            An international license is not required to drive in the UK if you’re North American. You’re allowed to drive here for up to a year on a US license. Check with about driving in the UK. She had a quickie lesson with me in my car before she was on her own. 😉

  2. hawkwing_lb

    I have relatives there, and will be speaking to someone who lived in Oxford town tomorrow. If I can help by passing questions on and relaying answers, I’d be happy to.

    Someone will probably be along shortly with a more direction connection, though.

  3. phoebesmum

    I live in Bicester, not, I hasten to say, by choice. I don’t get around much, though. Where are your people going? And is this any use to you?

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m trying to get to the Uffington White Horse and other things in that area. Apparently Swindon is the closest station, but for all I know it would be easier via Oxford; it’s hard to tell just by poking around on websites.

      • phoebesmum

        We went to Uffington a year or so back. It’s way out in the middle of nowhere, I don’t think it makes much odds where you start from. Swindon would be easier for, eg, Avebury and Silbury Hill and so on, I guess.

        • Marie Brennan

          I’m only shooting for the Uffington area; Wayland’s Smithy is the furthest afield I’m likely to go.

          • phoebesmum

            Actually, thinking about it – sorry, nearly bedtime here, in fact, just past – I’m not sure you could do it at all, if you don’t want to drive. I don’t think a taxi would take you on from the station, and it’s not the sort of place you could hire a car, even if you wanted to drive. Possibly a coach might be better than the train? I think there are coach tours to a lot of those sorts of places.

          • Marie Brennan

            That’s what I’m expecting, actually. I just haven’t successfully found one yet, whether from London (my actual starting point) or Oxford or wherever.

            Hmmm. May need to go to the bookstore and consult an actual guidebook.

          • phoebesmum

            In re hiking alone in Oxfordshire – I wouldn’t give it a second thought. I suppose something might happen, but it’s not likely. You are more likely to put your foot into a pothole or be chased by an irate sheep than meet a human threat.

            Also, yet another link: the National Trust page for Uffington. If I were the driver in our household, I would offer to take you down there myself but, alas, that would be Judy, and I can’t go committing her to things and, much as we both would probably like to go back to Uffington – last time’s trip mostly notable for me falling over in the mud – she’s mid-PhD at the mo’, with all that entails.

            LJ people are dead helpful, aren’t they?

          • Marie Brennan

            You are more likely to put your foot into a pothole or be chased by an irate sheep than meet a human threat.

            <lol> Yeah, it didn’t look like a dangerous area, and if I were hiking around with someone else I wouldn’t give it a second thought. But I thought I should ask.

          • tchernabyelo

            If there are any dangerous rural places for hiking in the UK, I don’t know about them.

            Only advice; remember to stick to footpaths/bridleways, and remember to leave gates as you found them. Tramping across fields may seem like fun but the UK landscape, with very very few exceptions, is a working landscape – we have very few areas where you can just roam at will.

  4. persiflage_1

    Hi – my sister sent me here via someone else since I live in Oxford and have visited Uffington/The White Horse/Waylands Smithy.

    You can get a bus from Oxford to Swidon – although it doesn’t go to Uffington (and I’ve yet to find one that does). Try here… But you’ll need to get from Faringdon to Uffington, which isn’t too far to walk if you’re used to walking and don’t have too much to carry – and you should be pretty safe in the Oxfordshire countryside – we get a lot of walkers because of the footpath along the Ridgeway.

    If you want to send me a Private Message for more info, feel free (no obligation on your part of course).

  5. miramon

    We’re in Reading and we fairly regularly take visitors out to the White Horse and to the Smithy. We could manage pretty much any weekend in May if that’s useful to you. Email me (steve at vraidex.com) if you want to fix up a day.

    Steve Davies
    (here via ‘s LJ)

  6. shui_long

    Woolstone, Compton Beauchamp and Uffington may be in Oxfordshire now (post 1974 administrative boundary changes), but as far as any historian is concerned they’re part of historic Berkshire – if you’re looking for references in county histories or guides.

    I live in Reading, and have been researching Berkshire architectural history for quite a few years; if you can let me know more specifically what you need, I may well be able to help. I have photos and notes on all the churches in the area, for a start.

    • jemck

      Also, coming here via , I live in West Oxfordshire.

      You’ve already had plenty of sound advice and offers of help – I’m happy to add my name to the list of folk ready and willing to play tour guide. Can hop in the car and collect from Oxford or Swindon railway station.

      Also being one of these writing types, I can do weekdays – and since I’m currently working on a local novel in my spare time, it would be a legitimate research trip for me *g*

      Drop me a line via einarinn [at] dsl [dot] pipex [dot] com if you want to discuss.

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah, I originally came across the notion of using this area while reading through The Lore of the Land, which organizes according to county, and it had all everything listed under Berkshire.

      I can find plenty of photos of the area I’m looking at, but if I need anything else, I’ll let you know. And thanks!

  7. ruthi


    A journeyplanner for outside london.

    (for inside London, there’s http://journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk/ and the oyster card.)

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