The much-loved Wittenham Clumps are one of South Oxfordshire’s most iconic landmarks, and the most highly visited free to access greenspace in the region. Standing proudly beside the Thames they offer stunning views over the surrounding countryside. The Clumps are made up of Round Hill (to the left when facing the hills from the car park) and Castle Hill (to the right).
Enjoy a figure of eight walk around the hilltops or head between them and down into Little Wittenham Wood.
What to see
From majestic red kites swooping overhead to a carpet of wildflowers beneath your feet, there is always something to see on, or from, the Clumps. Listen for the spring birdsong, marvel at the busy bees and butterflies during the summer, admire the magnificent autumnal colours, or take in the wonderful wintry views.
The Clumps are steeped in history, with Roman, Bronze Age and Iron Age evidence being found on site. The curved ramparts of Castle Hill date from the Iron Age, though archaeological work has shown that it was also a Bronze Age settlement; it is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The name Wittenham Clumps come from the ‘clumps’ of beech trees which crown both hills; these are the oldest known planted hilltop beeches in England, dating back over 300 years. This famous landmark has been known by many names over the years, 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). They are more formally known as the Sinodun Hills.
The Clumps have been the inspiration for poets and artists for many years. Local poet, Joseph Tubb, carved a wonderful poem in the bark of a beech tree on Castle Hill in 1844. Sadly, the Poem Tree fell in recent years but 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, and the view from them, many times during his career.
The different habitats on and around the hills require different types of management. 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. The clumps of trees themselves also require management – 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 (they are prone to summer drought), we have been planting hornbeam and lime to ensure there are still clumps on the Clumps for years to come.
We do not currently have electric vehicle charging facilities at Earth Trust Centre or the Clumps car park however we are hoping to address this during 2025. Find out where public EV charging points are in Oxfordshire and beyond using Zap Map. View a map and full details of Park and Charge fast EV charging hubs across Oxfordshire on the Park and Charge Oxfordshire website.
A defibrillator is installed in the Wittenham Clumps car park. This life-saving devices are listed on the national registry at defibfinder.uk as well as being registered on British Heart Foundation’s Defibrillator network.
Parking: Dedicated car park, always open.
Opening Times: Always open
Dog Walking: Dogs allowed when on the lead, cattle often graze here so please take extra care and look out for signage
Toilets: Nearest toilets are at the Earth Trust Centre