Beautiful England - photos of England and the UK

Ashbury

Ashbury is a small village, one of a string tucked in the Western Berkshire Downs. Only seven miles from Swindon, it has a lovely peaceful atmosphere and sense of space. It is close to the Uffington White Horse and the ancient burial mound of the Weylands Smithy.

The wheat fields around Ashbury are a favourite for crop circles. As recently as June 2009, a complex crop circle has appeared in a field near Weylands Smithy. This generally seems to depict a jelly-fish.

The village church of St. Mary dates from the 13th century. It can be reached from the end of Church Lane up a flight of steep steps. From the churchyard, there are fine views over the Berkshire Downs, leading to the ancient trackway of the Ridgeway.

Adjacent to the church, but lower down, is the Rose and Crown Hotel. This is one of the few inns within a short distance of the Ridgeway path and therefore, much patronised by walkers. It had a thatched roof, but this was destroyed by fire in 1940. There are many pretty cottages, largely built of chalk blocks, which have weathered to pearl-grey, topped by thatch. The Rev. Thomas Stock, who is commemorated in the church, is believed to have started the first Sunday School in England in 1777. Lessons were held in the nave of St. Mary’s Church. The delightful manor house dates from the 15th century.

The 1914-1918 war memorial bears the name of Ernest W. Ebbsworth, a relative of my Mother’s Grandmother. My mother was a frequent visitor to Ashbury in her childhood. She undertook the pony and trap journey from Lambourn, where she spent most of her childhood summers, staying with her Grandmother in Newbury Street.