A few years ago, BP (Before Poppy), we walked up Wittenham Clumps, or more realistically, we wheezed our way up them. We were determined then to improve our fitness and return, with the aim of getting up them without needing a rest at the top. We decided a few weeks ago that it would be a good idea to have another go at the clumps! Previously we’ve parked in Dorchester-on-Thames, walked to the clumps and back along the same route. This time, we started at the top of the clumps and parked in the Earth Trust car park. We did the Little Wittenham nature reserve walk and you can find a map of the circular walk in the Clumps car park, and here, but we extended our walk by popping into Dorchester for a spot of lunch.
The walk starts off from the car park up a gentle incline towards Castle Hill. There was a herd of beautiful cows there when we arrived. Poppy is so used to them now that I only worry a little bit! The views from the top of the hills are amazing and there’s a guide at the top of Round Hill that shows you what the different points of interest are, which is a great idea. We then headed into Little Wittenham wood. It was amazing. As you walk down the steps, the atmosphere changes so much. It’s much cooler and quieter and trees are really tall. There were loads of butterflies throughout the more open areas of the wood too. Along the way, just off the path, there’s a bird hide, which is well worth popping into. When we went, the water level was quite low so there weren’t many birds about. However, there were loads of butterflies gathering pollen from the buddleja. We headed towards the Thames once we left the hide. We followed it towards Dorchester, where we headed for Lily’s Tea Rooms. It’s a lovely little tea room, where they offer a light lunches, a selection of breakfasts and delicious cakes. It’s well worth a visit.
On our return, we knew we had to walk up Round Hill. It’s a steep old climb but we were determined to do it. And we did! What I was most impressed impressed with was how well we recovered from it. It’s not an easy climb, and if you’re put of it, you can go round the base of the hill to get back to the car park. But if you can, go for the climb and reward yourself with cake!
The walks around Wittenham Clumps are really lovely. There are a number to choose from, depending on how long you’ve got and how much you want to challenge yourself. Whichever you choose, make sure your get to the top of Round Hill for those amazing Oxfordshire views!
The Walk: The walk isn’t always easy. The clumps can be quite steep in places and there are times where the walk is very uneven underfoot. Good walking boots are essential! If you’d like something a little easier, then have a look at the other walks available on the Earth Trust website.
Car Park: There’s quite a decent car park at the start of the walk, which was almost empty at the start of our walk. It’s the Earth Trust Clumps car park.
Refreshments: We had a lovely spot of lunch at Lily’s Tea Room in Dorchester and there’s a little farm stall on the public footpath between the clumps and Dorchester, where you can get a selection of drinks, cakes and ice cream.
Toilets: There are some in the car park in Dorchester.