SOUTHERN Oxfordshire was covered in a blanket of snow that thrilled youngsters but frustrated commuters.

The district was hit by inches of the white stuff overnight between Saturday and Sunday and freezing conditions meant it lay on the ground well into the week.

Many people living in towns across the area took pictures of snow-covered streets in Abingdon, Didcot, Wantage and Wallingford, among other areas.

There was severe disruption on the A34 on Sunday, which shut near Milton Interchange leading to long delays for drivers.

Some drivers abandoned their cars on the road after being caught in the chaos.

Bus services were severely disrupted, with none at all in most areas on Sunday, although many routes were back in operation by Monday morning.

Hundreds of homes in Grove, Faringdon, Wallingford and Ardington were left without power throughout Sunday night and into Monday.

Engineers managed to reconnect many by Tuseday, but some homes in Wallingford and Ardington were still cut off.

Many pupils were delighted as dozens of schools shut their doors on Monday, with a smaller number also closed on Tuesday.

Fitzwaryn School in Wantage was shut on both days, along with Didcot Girls' School and Fitzharrys School in Abingdon, amongst others.

St Nicholas Church of England Primary School in Abingdon closed on Monday but opened again on Tuesday, while King Alfred's Academy in Wantage opened again yesterday for Years 9 to 13, whilst remaining closed for Years 7 and 8.

St Birinus School in Didcot was among those closed on both Monday and Tuesday.

In a statement issued on Monday the school said: "As the afternoon and evening have progressed, we have taken advice and completed a risk assessment of the school site and surrounding areas.

"Given the forecast for a heavy frost tonight and the resulting ice, it has become increasingly clear that the roads around school will not be safe for students and staff to travel on in the morning."

Oxfordshire County Council's full fleet of 25 gritters swung into action to try and keep the roads open, with snowploughs attached.

It is estimated the team covered more than 6,000 miles of A, B and C roads and dropped more than 1,200 tonnes of grit in Oxfordshire between 3am on Sunday morning and Monday afternoon.

Speaking on Monday, the council's winter operations manager, said: "The aim remains keeping our main road network clear.

"Fixing the snowploughs to the gritters is not something that we have to do very often in Oxfordshire and we can often go a full winter without it needing to happen.

"Gritting and snowploughing helps keep the main roads clear, but it doesn't turn December into July."

The Met Office has forecast higher temperaturs tonight and tomorrow that should see the snow thaw, with higher temperatures of about 5-8C predicted at the weather station at Benson for the rest of the week.