I’m catching up from some excursions from many months ago. This one from a year ago, in fact. The setting looks remarkably identical right now, with frozen slush on the ground and hats and gloves required for some brisk walking. Come check out the Great Witcombe Roman Villa, maintained by English Heritage.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love our proximity to ancient Roman life here in Britain. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we took a detour to follow signs to the Great Witcombe Roman Villa.
A (free) car park sits at the bottom of a slow hill, and visitors are directed to walk.
They really want to make sure you go in the correct direction. Probably because this site hangs out basically in someone’s backyard, and if you take a wrong turn you’ll end up in their front parlour.
No signs, no gift shops, no guides, just a few lonely sign posts.
Some significant imagination required — but the view is amazing. This villa complex was contemporary with the Chedworth Roman Villa and one could imagine the families visiting back and forth, or meeting up in Corinium, Glevum, or even Sulis.
Report says fabulous mosaics are protected inside this (modern) building cover, and sometimes during the summer the doors are unlocked and visitors are allowed to peek in. No chance of that happening in the middle of winter.
But we were free to wander the remains of rooms and buildings and spin daydreams about who lived here and how.
The site is not particularly well-restored, and was poorly treated when it was first uncovered — leaving us with not much more than bare bones. The photo above shows the ‘temple’ room and gives a sense of the preservation of the site.
Also worth finding is a pretty trickling spring which may be the remains of a Roman water shrine, but on the day of our visit, a drowned mouse was in the spring basin, and I couldn’t bear to take a photo.