In recent years Witney has expanded rapidly but still retains its charms as a market town on the edge of the Cotswolds. The market dates back to the Middle Ages, and the market square, at the top of the High Street, features one of the town's most distinctive landmarks: the Buttercross, so called because people from neighbouring towns would gather there to buy butter and eggs.
The building is medieval but features a clock that was added in 1683. Thursday is the traditional market day but Saturday also sees a market taking place. The other main landmark is the Parish Church of St Mary's which was built in the 13th century and is a fine example of one of several large churches in the area associated with the Medieval wool trade. The town also has a fine Methodist chapel which stands in the middle of the High Street.
The market dates back to the Middle Ages, and the market square, at the top of the High Street, features one of the town's most distinctive landmarks: the Buttercross, so called because people from neighbouring towns would gather there to buy butter and eggs. The building is medieval but features a clock that was added in 1683.
The small town has been famous for its blankets since the Middle Ages. The water for the production of these blankets is drawn from the River Windrush, which was believed to be the secret of Witney's high quality blankets. At one time, there were five blanket factories in the town but, with the closure of the largest blanket maker Early's, a few years ago, the town's blanket industry has completely ceased to exist.
Witney is home to a small selection of Antiques shops.
Witney Lake (known locally by some as Duck Lake or Ducklington Lake) is a flooded gravel pit which has been purchased by Witney Town Council as part of the Witney Lake and Meadows project. The 30-hectare area includes wet meadow and grazing land adjoining the two legs of the River Windrush to the south and north of the A40 road. The southern end of the lake is managed as a nature reserve and the grazing land to the east and north is classified as an Environmentally Sensitive Area. Ducklington village lies to the west and between the lake and there are small paddocks and allotments. The paddocks are grazed and are bordered by some mature Oaks and pollarded Willows although there are signs of encroaching development at both the north and south of the village. The lake is very deep throughout and so lacks any shallows or muddy edges.
The site is situated within a mile of the bustling Witney town centre, and is well used by the general public but it never feels overcrowded. The northern end of the lake and the river are also fished although the close season is still adhered to. The lake itself is surrounded by a very good path (this has been improved over the years as it could get rather muddy underfoot during prolonged wet periods in winter).
Witney Lake has been named one of the most important sites for plants and wildlife in the Windrush Valley area. A recent study by the Lower Windrush Valley Project and Pond Conservarion found 110 bird species and a large variety of invertebrates and wetland plants.