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Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill


<b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by CirclemasterImage © B Lovegrove
Also known as:
  • The Berkshire Bumps
  • Sinodun Hills
  • Mother Dunch's Buttocks

Nearest Town:Wallingford (5km ESE)
OS Ref (GB):   SU570925 / Sheets: 164, 174
Latitude:51° 37' 40.45" N
Longitude:   1° 10' 35.16" W

Added by RiotGibbon

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‘Astonishing’ dig reveals domestic life in the iron age

A large settlement, a Roman villa and many household objects are among the discoveries at an ancient site in Oxfordshire

More info :
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
14th February 2021ce

Centenary celebration of Nash's Wittenham Clumps

"Throughout his career as an artist, Paul Nash (1889-1946) had a special affinity for the wooded hills in South Oxfordshire called The Wittenham Clumps.

"First encountering them in his late teenage years, he was immediately caught by their atmospheric shapes and mystical associations... continues...
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
10th March 2011ce
Edited 10th March 2011ce

Human sacrifices at the Clumps?

Archaeologists are investigating whether Wittenham Clumps was a centre for human sacrifice - after the chopped-up remains of a woman were found in a grave at Castle Hill.

The skeletal remains of the women were part of a remarkable discovery by archaeologists of a shared grave containing skeletons of a child and a man.
Read whole story here
Jane Posted by Jane
23rd October 2003ce
Edited 23rd October 2003ce

Arsonists torch Dig HQ


Arsonists have destroyed the site headquarters of a major archeological dig in Oxfordshire... continues...
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th August 2003ce
Edited 15th August 2003ce

The latest news from the excavations at Castle Hill, Wittenham Clumps...

Weekly updates on the dig from Oxford Archeaology at
Jane Posted by Jane
2nd August 2003ce

First excavation of Wittenham Clumps

..a little report about the first dig to be done at the Clumps - and hold on, it's not all about the Romans.... continues...
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd July 2003ce
Edited 23rd July 2003ce

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Photographs:<b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by juamei <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by ginger tt <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by Circlemaster <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by Circlemaster <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by Circlemaster <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by Circlemaster <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by jamesd <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by jamesd <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by RiotGibbon Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by rocket <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by rocket <b>Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill</b>Posted by rocket


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I lived nearby in the village for three weeks in January 1993 (house and cat-sitting). Hiked up the hill to the clumps every day, and walked for miles through the woods and fields of winter barley. This is an extraordinary area! Even on damp wet days. That year January saw roses in the Abbey and forsythia in gardens; it had been a wet autumn apparently. I took a lot of photographs (35 mm) and I will try to scan them in and post them at some point...
albion Posted by albion
8th June 2002ce


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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


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Joseph Tubbs, 1844 - carved this poem on "Poem Tree" up the Clumps ...

As up the hill with labr'ing steps we tread
Where the twin Clumps their sheltering branches spread
The summit gain'd, at ease reclining lay
and all around the wide spread scene survey
Point out each object and instructive tell
The various changes that the land befel.
Where the low bank the country wide surrounds
That ancient earthwork form'd old Murcia's bounds.
In misty distance see the barrow heave,
There lies forgotten lonely Culchelm's grave.
Around this hill the ruthless Danes intrenched,
and these fair plains with gory slaughter drench'd,
While at our feet where stands that stately tower
In days gone by uprose the Roman power
And yonder, there where Thames smooth waters glide
In later days appeared monastic pride.
Within that field where lies the grazing herd
Huge walls were found, some coffins disinter'd
Such is the course of time, the wreck which fate
And awful doom award the earthly great."
Posted by RiotGibbon
29th August 2001ce


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Time Team

A description of what Time Team found there in 2004.

The exhibits are on display in the Project Timescape Museum nearby.
Circlemaster Posted by Circlemaster
3rd January 2009ce

Northmoor Trust

good information site about events at Sinodun. Loads of information for family days out.
wysefool Posted by wysefool
14th April 2008ce
Edited 15th April 2008ce

Liverpool Museums

The artist Paul Nash painted Wittenham Clumps many times - they had great symbolic significance for him. There is another painting of the clumps on this page: (scroll down to see 'Landscape of the Summer Solstice').
You may find his work interesting and well worth exploring as he visited and painted many of our ancient landscapes.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th August 2004ce
Edited 10th December 2004ce

English Heritage

A Victorian photograph of 'Sinodun', from the EH 'ViewFinder' database.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th June 2004ce