The Thames Path is fairly flat. Well, what do you expect for a river walk? So it may come as a pleasant interlude to break away from the Path and walk up a hill to stretch those thigh muscles. At Days Lock, Dorchester, 68.5 miles from the source, you have the perfect chance: a climb up Wittenham Clumps.
Just past Days Lock, a footbridge leads invitingly to Little Wittenham from where a steep climb leads to Wittenham Clumps.
The clumps are a pair of chalk mounds, the highest standing at 394 feet above sea level. It’s the highest ground for many miles and there are extensive views of the Thames (as well as what remains of Didcot Power Station).
A short walk to the East takes you to the slightly lower Castle Hill on which are the remains of a Bronze Age hill fort (circa 1,000 BC).
From Castle Hill you can walk back down to the bridge through Little Wittenham Wood. Alternatively you can extend your visit further by walking downhill in a southerly direction to the car park on the minor road where the Earth Trust’s visitors’ centre is located (marked Hill Farm on the OS map).
The Earth Trust is dedicated to the preservation of green spaces and owns all the land around.
Impact on Distance
The detour adds a further 2900 meters (1.8 miles) to the walk.