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Wittenham Clumps

Stunning panoramic views

With stunning panoramic views of south Oxfordshire, the iconic landscape of the Wittenham Clumps is made up of Castle Hill and Round Hill. Walk through newly created wildflower meadow, and discover local wildlife and ancient archaeological features.

The Wittenham Clumps name comes from the two clumps of beech trees which crown both hills. These are the oldest known planted hilltop beeches in England, dating back over 300 years.

Take a walk through wildflower meadows

As red kites and buzzards compete for the skies above you take a walk up the hills through the wildflower rich grasslands surrounding the Clumps. By carefully managing the grasslands through traditional hay making and grazing with sheep and cattle we’re helping to create conditions where the colourful wildflowers will thrive. Notice the curved ramparts and ditches of Castle Hill. These date from the Iron Age though archaeological work has shown that Castle Hill was also the site of an earlier Bronze Age hill fort.

Wittenham Clumps, Berkshire Bubs, Mother Dunch’s Buttocks

This famous landmark has been known by many names from Berkshire Bubs, reflecting the fact that the Wittenham Clumps once fell within the county of Berkshire, to the slightly unusual Mother Dunch’s Buttocks, a name which refers to a lady of the Dunch family who owned Little Wittenham Manor in the 17th century.

Inspiring poets and artists

The Clumps, as they are more commonly known nowadays, have inspired poets and artists alike. Local poet Joseph Tubb carved a wonderful poem in the bark of a beech tree on Castle Hill in the years 1844-45. Sadly, the Poem Tree fell in recent years and it's now only possible to decipher a handful of letters. A nearby plaque allows visitors to feel the passion that this Victorian vandal had for the local landscape and its history. Another who was inspired by the Clumps was the landscape artist Paul Nash who painted the clumps many times during his career. Discover more about Paul Nash's paintings on the Paul Nash and the Wittenham Clumps website.

The threat of climate change

Climate change might threaten the long term viability of beech trees on the Clumps as they are prone to summer drought. To ensure this wonderful landmark is here for future generations, the Earth Trust have been planting hornbeam and lime which will one day tower over this beautiful piece of English countryside.

Seasonal highlights
  • July is a fabulous time to stand on the clumps and enjoy the surrounding wildflower meadow in its full fanfare of colours
  • On a sunny summer day you may be lucky enough to see damselflies and dragonflies. You can usually distinguish between the two as damselflies tend to be smaller and can fold their wings over their body when at rest. In contrast dragonflies are more robust and their wings remain spread when resting.
How to get to the Wittenham Clumps

The Wittenham Clumps are open 365 days a year. There is free car parking at the Clumps Car Park which is always open. 

 

 

Near Wittenham Clumps

After a visit to Wittenham Clumps, why not explore this stunning area further? Stroll to the beautiful Little Wittenham Nature Reserve to wander through its broad leaved woodland and wildflower meadows. You can see every tree native to Oxfordshire at the Broad Arboretum, or visit Neptune Wood, planted in 2005 with British, French and Spanish oak to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Our Farm Step project is also based at Little Wittenham.  This gives people and communities the opportunity to get that vital first step on the ladder to enable them to set up their own green, land based business.

Events

Earth Trust has regular family events throughout the year.  View the latest What's On calendar.