The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill



If you see a raven when you visit the Clumps, keep your eye on it. It's said to be the guardian of a huge treasure, at a place called 'The Money Pit'. But I expect it'll be too wiley to give away the exact spot.

The poem tree that Riotgibbon mentions is a beech (the beech plantation clumps were created in the 1740s, by the Dunch family – hence the rather disrespectful name 'Mother Dunch's Buttocks'). As young vandals everywhere will recognise, beeches have ideally smooth bark for carving graffiti into, and it persists for years, becoming more and more distorted as the tree grows. Apparently the tree died in the 1990s but some of the trunk still stands. In 1994 a plaque was put up to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the poem, and it has on it a tracing of the poem that was taken in 1965, when it was a bit more legible. (see for more)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th August 2004ce

Comments (2)

I met your Raven, Rhiannon.
Black as the night he was and as silent as the grave. He followed me as I walked through Wittenham Wood towards the sacred spring. I blessed the spirits that dwelt there and threw a 10p piece (Two Bob!) into the pond. He flew down and stood beside me on the path. For a second I thought he would shape shift but he just looked at me intently and seemed to approve. A big black Labrador bounded up to us and he flew up into one of a pine tree by the pond, wagging his tail feathers like a Magpie. I made a fuss of the dog until a whistle called it away. When I looked up, the Raven was gone too. If you ever visit the clumps, go to this spot (SU 57116 92728), for it still holds the magic and sacredness of the Celts and who knows, maybe their treasure too!.

Chance Posted by Chance
5th February 2012ce
Now that really is a good tale Chance. It sounds like a very tempting expedition, thank you for the tip.
When I first saw the Clumps I wasn't expecting it at all, and I don't think I even knew what I was looking at, but I knew they were Something very striking. I saw them from the train, and I was so thrilled but there was no-one to say anything to (and perhaps I didn't like to accost random strangers). I'll have to get there one day. It sounds like you had a great experience.

I found this
which mentions the raven again.
It's nice that ravens have taken up residence there, the more places the better I say.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
9th February 2012ce
You must be logged in to add a comment