I took a trip over to the Ditchley estate near Charlbury at the weekend, as there were quite an expanse of rape fields in full bloom and it would have been a shame to let them go to waste. The weather was a bit changeable, with the forecast to be quite stormy that evening, so I thought it might produce a dramatic sky for sunset.
As it turned out, the sky did produce a bit of interest, but it completely clouded over and was tipping it down with rain before it got to the end of the day. Still, I managed to get a few images, and the estate is a nice place to be, it’s very quiet and off the beaten track, you rarely see another person about. Perfect for a bit of contemplation on the spring landscape...
Ditchley is home to the manor house of the same name, which dates from 1722, and sits near a site of a Roman villa. No surprise, as it is less than 2 miles north of the course of Akeman Street Roman road, and is one of a number of Roman villas that have been identified in the area.
Ditchley once provided lodging and access to the royal hunting ground of Wychwood Forest, part of which I managed to photograph during autumn last year, and you can see that here.
The state has had various notable visitors and residents over the years including Elizabeth I, poet and enfant terrible of Charles II's Restoration court, the 2nd Earl of Rochester and Winston Churchill. The estate is now a charitable trust which aims to promote international (especially Anglo-American) relations.
You can read more about the interesting history of Ditchley here.