St Birinus Part 5: Wittenham Clumps - Dorchester

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The Northmoor Trust Estate in the North Wesex Downs AONB, as well as owning farmland, manages a nature reserve and the Wittenham Clumps SSSI where our walk begins. You start by climbing Round Hill with commanding views of the Thames Valley and a plane table to help identify landmarks. You then drop down to Little Wittenham, with its ancient church (in early spring a picture with snowdrops and celandines) and the manor-house, then cross the Thames at Day's Lock. From here you cross low-lying land, passing the ancient monument of the Dyke Hills to reach Dorchester on Thames. Beware, this area can become flooded after long periods of heavy rain. Passing St Birinus' Roman Catholic Church you arrive at Dorchester Abbey, once the cathedral of a diocese stretching as far as the Humber, later an abbey and since the dissolution of the abbeys, the parish church. It is well worth looking round the abbey and seeing St Birinus' monument.

Leaving Dorchester, you walk through another nature reserve, beside the River Thame, crossing this river where it joins the Thames. From here you follow the Thames Path back to Day's Lock. Returning via Little Wittenham to Northmoor Trust land, you head for Little Wittenham Wood, where you can enjoy seeing many birds, or sometimes other more shy wildlife. Then go up Castle Hill with its Iron Age hill-fort and its poem tree, from where it's a short distance back to the car park.

For more information about the St Birinus Walks please go to St Birinus

England - Central England - Oxfordshire - Thames Valley


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Museum, Nature Trail, Pub, Restaurant, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
5/16/2018 - Michael Corfield

We did this walk mid-week in May and thoroughly enjoyed the views, the tranquility and the red kites that constantly drifted over your head. Very easy to follow. Public toilets available at waypoint 7

1/8/2012 - Patricia Daw

31/12/11 Walked on a cold dry morning. Surprised how many other people were out and about. A well directed walk. We hadn't had much rain for quite a while but I was still glad I was wearing my spats! Dorchester is a cute village to wander round.

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Distance away
27.4 Miles