Uffington White Horse
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East of England. The area is noted for the concentration of performance motor sport companies and facilities. Oxford University Press has headed a concentration of print and publishing firms; the university is also linked to the concentration of local biotechnology companies.
Oxfordshire is flanked by two ranges of hills; the Cotswolds to the west and the Chilterns to the east. Between these hills lies a rolling plain through which wanders the Thames and its tributaries. The chalk hills of the Chilterns have been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; this is a region of beech woods and grassy hills, providing enjoyable walking opportunites. Through the hills run the Ridgeway Path, tracing the route taken by prehistoric travelers millenia ago. To the west the Ridgeway passes beside the hillfort of Uffington Castle and the enigmatic White Horse carved into the chalk of the hillside. The horse has recently been dated to about 1400 BCE, but even older is the nearby chambered tomb of Wayland's Smithy.
Oxfordshire has valuable agricultural land resting between the main southern cities and containing the settlement at Oxford whose name came from Anglo-Saxon Oxenaford = "ford for oxen". Ignored by the Romans, it was not until the formation of a settlement at Oxford that the area grew in importance. Alfred the Great was born in Wantage. The area was part of the Cotswolds wool trade from the 13th century. The importance of agriculture as an employer has declined rapidly in the 20th century; currently under one percent of the county's population are involved.
Chastleton House, on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire borders, is a great country mansion that was built on property bought from Robert Catesby, who was one of the men involved in the Gunpowder Plot with Guy Fawkes. Stonor Park, another country mansion, has belonged to the Stonor family for centuries.