The house was built in 1635 by Sir Robert Dormer and is still in the same family. The garden is open to the public but very quietly so - it needs no introduction to those that know, so the small hand painted yellow sign on a country lane is advert enough, and a refreshing change from the hideous Euro-style brown tourist signs that make a theme park out of our landscape.
An honesty machine takes your money and you are free to wander, map in hand, through the glades and shady walks down to the river Cherwell in the south, or into the exquisite walled kitchen garden nearer the house.
The upper cascade with Venus and cupids. Dedicated to an Englishman's best friend: Ringwood, an 'Otter Hound of extraordinary Sagacity'
The Watery walk, a delight to stumble upon in the woods, as it leads you down to the Cold Bath
and on through to the open glade of the Octagon Pond.
The view from the front of the house is imposing and as was the fashion in the 1730's was designed to 'Bring in the Countryside'.
Laid out by Charles Bridgeman the garden was perfected by William Kent and is a stunning example of the first phase of the English Landscape period.
As the guide pamphlet says:
'Rousham is uncommercial and unspoilt with no tea room and no shop. Bring a picnic, wear comfortable shoes and it is yours for the day.'
The herbaceous borders are behind these walls, a different and delightful world, a purely sensorial antithesis to the more literary woodland journey.
The 11th Century church is next door to the Dovecote - as I arrived they all swirled up into the air and away.