Wittenham Clumps

What can I see?

  • Majestic red kites swooping overhead, carpets of wildflowers beneath your feet, magnificent autumnal colours and wonderful wintry views.
  • The curved ramparts of Castle Hill, dating from the Iron Age.
  • The ‘clumps’ of beech trees which crown both hills and give them their name – these are the oldest known planted hilltop beeches in England, dating back over 300 years.
  • A poem by local poet Joseph Tubb – he carved a wonderful poem in the bark of a beech tree on Castle Hill in the 1840s. Sadly, the Poem Tree fell several years ago but a nearby plaque allows visitors to feel the passion that this Victorian vandal had for the local landscape and its history.

What’s special about this place?

  • The Clumps are steeped in Roman, Bronze Age and Iron Age history.
  • Because many of the beech trees are reaching the end of their lives and with climate change threatening the long term viability of this species in this location, we have been planting hornbeam and lime to ensure there are still clumps on the Clumps for years to come.
  • Paul Nash, landscape artist, was inspired by the Clumps and painted them and the view from them, many times during his career.
  • The grasslands and wildflower meadows are managed through haycutting and grazing with cattle; this regime creates the perfect conditions for wildflowers to thrive, in turn providing habitats for invertebrates, birds and other wildlife.