Watlington sits where the B4009 crosses the B480 Henley-on-Thames to Oxford road. The B4009 runs along the foot of the Chiltern Hills and takes traffic from junction 6 of the M40 towards Didcot, Wallingford and Abingdon. Watlington's narrow streets were just not designed to cope with modern traffic, hence it has to suffer a lot of congestion

Town or village? Technically Watlington is an ancient market town and it claims to be reputedly the smallest town in England. But as Watlington is not listed on the South Oxfordshire District Council's websites as a town I feel justified in including it here as one of Oxfordshire's villages. It has lots of character and it would be a real pity to exclude it for being a town.

The village's position at the foot of the Chilterns and on the edge of the Vale of Oxford adds to its character, for here we start to see some Chilterns-style flint buildings as well as timber framed and thatched cottages although most of the buildings are built of brick. With its fine selection of small shops, the dominating 17th century town hall and many historic buildings dating back to that period, and before, in all Watlington is a very attractive village.

The parish church is St. Leonard's. Much of the present church is Victorian although there are a few remains from the original Norman church. For the history and full information about the St. Leonard's Church click here.

The area around Watlington is a perfect place to watch red kites soaring overhead. These distinctive birds of prey were re-introduced to the Chilterns from Spain in 1989-1994 as they had become extinct in England by the end of the 19th century, with just a few breeding pairs existing in Wales. I counted about 14 red kites in the skies above the town on my recent visit and their weird whisting call is a common sound in the town.

Some scenes from episodes of the popular TV series Midsomer Murders have been filmed in the village.

Watlington is about 7 miles south of Thame.


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