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Great Shefford Location and situation

Great Shefford is a village with a population of about 800 and situated 5 miles north of Hungerford and 7.5 miles northwest of Newbury in central southern England. It is in the valley of the River Lambourn that rises just a few miles northwest of Shefford.


Here the village of Great Shefford is viewed from high ground to the north-east, with the position of the observatory marked with a green cross (June 2006)

Great Shefford, used to be generally known as West Shefford and lies just up river from East Shefford (or Little Shefford).

The name Shefford is believed to mean sheep ford, being derived from two Saxon words "sciep" (sheep) and "ford" and may date back to earlier than the 6th c. AD. The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book in the 11th c. AD and St. Mary's Church in Shefford dates from the end of the 12th c.

Great Shefford Millennium Stone

A stone was erected in the village at the turn of the last century in celebration of the new millennium, marked with an outline of the village Church, the stone lies less than 200 feet from the observatory:

Great Shefford Observatory

The observatory dome is located in the garden of my house, about 35 feet from the main building.
Summer arrives at Great Shefford (June 2006)
photo: Molly Birtwhistle
Summer arrives at Great Shefford Observatory, June 2006.

The observatory is located at:-

Longitude: 358 33' 10.82" E = 358.553006 (= 1 26' 49.18" W
= -1.446994)
Latitude: 51 28' 29.90" N = 51.474972 N
Altitude: 106-m above mean sea level + 2-m to optical
axis of telescope
Lat/Long/Alt taken from GoogleEarth measurements

See where that places Shefford in the South of England, together with other observatories that have been assigned codes nearby.

The time zone is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) with a +1 hour daylight saving adjustment to British Summer Time (BST) in operation from the end of March to the end of October.

Trees and buildings restrict access to the horizon in most directions, the south-west, west and north-west being particularly bad. There is some light pollution from local businesses nearby to the East and a streetlight about 50 feet from the dome to the northwest. Mist and fog often stop observing late evening onwards from September to November.

The panorama below shows the horizon as seen from the dome. The trees to the southwest and northwest reach up to 40 altitude.
GreatSheffordHorizon.jpg (27368 bytes)

Click here for some background of previous work and observing sites


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