The clumps are something of a local legend. Whenever the sun is out, whenever someone wants to run the steam out of a hyper child, or walk a dog, or show visiting family the sights of the area then it is recommended they visit the clumps.
Previously known by such suggestive names such as Mother Dunch’s Buttocks or the Berkshire Bubs the (now much more boringly titled) Wittenham Clumps are two hills, crested with woodlands and surrounded by fields and more woodland and cared for by the Earth Trust. From the top you can see across half of Oxfordshire, from the Benson weir to the Didcot cooling towers, Dorchester Abbey to Culham fusion reactor.
We, along with seemingly half of the local towns and villages, spent our mild and sunny May bank holiday morning hiking up and along the Clumps, exploring the wooded areas and hunting for geocaches. Ponies trekked past, red kites wheeled overhead, buttercups, cowslips and birdseye speedwell peppered the grass with bright-coloured flowers and the sound of families spending time together in the sunshine drifted across the air.
In the late summer the hedgerows are laden with blackberries and elderberries. Even hazelnuts and apples can be found growing wild if you look in the right places. There are benches to sit on, enclosed woodland where it’s safe to let smaller children roam, and all sorts of tunnels and dens to be discovered by intrepid small people. Kite flying takes on an added dimension by starting off at such a height and the parking is blessedly free of charge (although slightly limited).
This is definitely one of our top picks for free family fun and exploring the Oxfordshire outdoors.