Wittenham Clumps from just outside Didcot

SWC Walk 44 - Didcot Circular

27-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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House in Long Wittenham

SWC Walk 44 - Didcot Circular

27-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Boat Houses along Isis River in Burcot

SWC Walk 44 - Didcot Circular

27-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Path to Dorchester Abbey

SWC Walk 44 - Didcot Circular

27-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Didcot Power Station from Round Hill

SWC Walk 44 - Didcot Circular

27-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Cottage garden

Appleford Circular

06-Jun-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Cardoon

Appleford Circular

06-Jun-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Didcot Circular walk

A walk in Oxfordshire, taking in Dorchester-on-Thames and the Clumps. Can start from Appleford.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Sun, 22-Apr-18

Sunday Walk: Didcot Circular

SWC walk 44 20 km (12.4 miles)
Difficulty 3 out of 10.
Through an attractive part of the Thames Valley to lunch in secluded Dorchester-on-Thames. Dorchester Abbey (now the parish church) is one of the few large monastery buildings to survive the Dissolution and is worth visiting. There's old stuff a-plenty and, in the floor, near a medieval wall painting, a quaintly worded stone records the sad end of Sarah Fletcher. In the afternoon, Little Wittenham church is also worth a quick look. A little later, you reach Wittenham Clumps, a nature reserve surroundng two Iron Age hill forts.
Trains
Get the 10.05 Weston-super-Mare train from Paddington. Arrives Didcot Parkway 10:52. West Londoners might prefer to catch the 09:23 stopping train from Ealing Broadway to Didcot Parkway, arriving there 10:44.
Trains back from Didcot at xx:11, xx:29 with another at about xx:16 (time varies slightly each hour).
There’s also a slower stopping train, handy for Ealing Broadway etc. Normally at xx:52, except the 16:55.
Get a return to Didcot Parkway.
Lunch Dorchester on Thames still has a number of coaching inns and pubs, so there's plenty of choice. On past occasions, walkers have used the Fleur de Lys (01865 340502 ).
Tea There is a Greene King pub, the Prince of Wales (01235 511380) opposite the station..
Otherwise there's a shop and refreshments in Didcot station.
Directions are here At point 12, follow the directions back to Didcot, not Appleford. (There are no trains to or from Appleford on a Sunday). t=swc.44
Wed, 13-Dec-17 6

Wednesday Walk - Didcot Circular

Length: 22.1 km (13.7 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 120 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 3 out of 10
Take the 10.00 Paignton train from Paddington (Reading 10.28), arriving Didcot Parkway at 10.42.
From Ealing your best route is via Paddington...
(Fast) return trains: 15.29, 16.03, 16.16, 16.29, 16.48, 17.17, 17.29, 18.00…hours (from 42 minutes).
For the day of the year with the earliest sunset, an easy walk with a short journey…
This walk takes in an attractive part of the Thames Valley south of Oxford, with a lunchtime stop in Dorchester-on-Thames. This handsome village is now bypassed by the traffic but used to be an important staging post between London and Oxford. It has retained a large number of coaching inns and other pubs, so there's plenty of choice for refreshment. You should be sure to visit Dorchester Abbey , one of the few large monastery buildings to survive the Dissolution; it now functions as an impressive parish church. In the afternoon the walk comes to the Wittenham Clumps, the name given to a pair of Iron Age hill forts set in a nature reserve managed by the Earth Trust.
The lunch pub will be any one of a handful in Dorchester-on-Thames (11 km/7 mi), for details see the walk directions. For tea in Didcot, the Prince of Wales, right by the station, is the obvious watering hole to spend the time waiting for a train.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. t=swc.44
5 non fairweather walkers off the train at Didcot, later joined by another one in Dorchester (having missed the train, she drove from Ealing, keen on walking up to the Clumps), so 6 in drizzle then rain to lunch then clear skies.
The group survived the rather uneventful start out of Didcot with animated conversation, and then was hit by the worst of the weather just as we reached the best stretch of the route, along one of the most scenic parts of the Thames and past the Iron Age earth dykes to lovely Dorchester. The Fleur de Lys provided for tasty fare at reasonable prices and after only 45 minutes we left the pub to visit the Abbey, which is always a highlight.
Two sandwichers (who had seen the Abbey on earlier outings) moved on and we never caught them. The car driver went up to the first Clump with us but then returned to Dorchester and her car and the rest reached the Prince of Wales in Didcot at 16.25, giving enough time for a drink and then the delayed 16.48 train.
Sun, 30-Jul-17 4

Didcot Circular: The tranquil Thames, a tragic tale, a sleeping knight..

Didcot Circular SWC walk 44
22 km (12.4 miles)
Difficulty 3 out of 10.
This walk, in an attractive part of the Thames Valley, started life as the Appleford Circular but Didcot has better trains. In fact, Appleford has none today.
After following a fairly pleasant cycle path out of Didcot, a quiet stretch of the Thames leads to lunch in Dorchester-on-Thames, once an important coaching stop but now sleepy and forgotten. There, Dorchester Abbey, one of the few large monastery buildings to survive the Dissolution, is worth a visit. In the floor, near a medieval wall painting, a touching flagstone hints at Sarah Fletcher's sad demise. The walk continues back along the river to Little Wittenham. The church there is also worth visiting if only to marvel at the sleeping knight near the window. Soon afterwards, you come to Wittenham Clumps, a nature reserve surrounding two Iron Age hill forts.
Trains
Get the 10.00 train to Cheltenham Spa from Paddington. Arrives Didcot Parkway 10:51.(West Londoners: a stopping train calls at Ealing Broadway at 9:56, Southall 10:02, West Drayton 10:10, reaching Didcot at 11:11. Don't expect the others to wait. You can bend their ear in the pub.)
Trains back from Didcot are frequent but times vary slightly each hour, like so: 16:14, 16:59 17:13, 17:46, 17:57 and so on. There's also an xx:25 that requires a change at Reading and a slow stopping train at xx:50 that might be of use to those pesky West Londoners.
Get a return to Didcot Parkway.
Lunch: Dorchester on Thames still has a number of coaching inns and pubs, so there's plenty of choice. On past occasions, walkers have used the Fleur de Lys.
Tea: There is a pub, the Prince of Wales 01235 511380 opposite the station on Station Road. Used to be Greene King but I think it's recently changed hands.
Otherwise there's a shop and refreshments inside the station.
Directions are here. From point 12, be sure to follow the directions back to Didcot, not Appleford. Not unless you’ve got a tent.
t=swc.44
West Londoners: take 9:35 train from Ealing Broadway, arriving at Didcot Parkway at 10:48, beating the Paddington Train by 3 mins.
A correction on the train time: on Sunday, it is 9:21 from Ealing Broadway and arriving at Didcot Parkway at 10:34am if you wish to arrive ahead of the scheduled train from Paddington.
Just to clarify, there IS a train from Ealing B at 9:56 direct to Didcot. If you prefer to get the 9:21 from Ealing Broadway, be aware it is a Reading train and you'll have to change at Slough for the 9:53 to Didcot (same platform).

Beside Didcot Parkway station is the
Discot Railway Centre £9 admission if you have time.
http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/
4 on this walk with the weather cloudy with a couple of showers. Th pre lunch part of this walk is a bit dull but its always good to visit Dorchester. After lunch 3 decided to "double up and have tea and cakes at the Abbey museum cafe. Feeling a cold I decided to press on to enjoy the nicer afternoon leg and the views from the clumps. Back in time for a coffee at the station and then 5.13pm train back to London which was surprisingly empty.
Wed, 30-Nov-16 14

Wednesday Walk - Thames Valley: lovely Dorchester-on-Thames, its Abbey & Wittenham Clumps

SWC Walk 44 – Didcot Circular
Length: 22.1 km (13.8 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 120 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 3 out of 10
Take the 10.00 Paignton train from Paddington, arriving Didcot Parkway at 10.41
From Ealing take the 09.35 to Reading and change there.
(Fast) return trains: 15.29, 16.03, 16.16, 16.29, 16.47, 17.16, 17.29, 18.00…hours (from 44 minutes)
This walk takes in an attractive part of the Thames Valley south of Oxford, with a lunchtime stop in Dorchester-on-Thames. This handsome village is now bypassed by the traffic but used to be an important staging post between London and Oxford. It has retained a large number of coaching inns and other pubs, so there's plenty of choice for refreshment. You should be sure to visit Dorchester Abbey , one of the few large monastery buildings to survive the Dissolution; it now functions as an impressive parish church. In the afternoon the walk comes to the Wittenham Clumps, the name given to a pair of Iron Age hill forts set in a nature reserve managed by the Earth Trust.
The lunch pub will be any one of a handful in Dorchester-on-Thames (11 km/7 mi), for details see the walk directions. For tea in Didcot, the Prince of Wales, right by the station, is the obvious watering hole to spend the time waiting for a train.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.
Next Week: Book1 Walk 43 Otford Circular 12.4 km/7.7 mi, 3/10 T=swc.44
Are we managing to sort out a programme of Christmas walks? jfk
The right place for this conversation would be the Forum or Walk Requests sections, or even the Crimbo Drinks Party on Dec 7 methinks, but...

Expect 3 walks on the Saturdays 24/31, 2 on 26/27/2, 1 on the Wednesdays, maybe 1 on NY. And if everyone is nice to their walk posters of trust (current and lapsed), they might even invest the extra work of posting walks on the intermittent days...
Funeral in the abbey at 2pm, suggest pre lunch visit.
hi thomas thanks for posting this. am i right in thinking its about 6 miles to Dorchester ?

is everyone doing the Didcot circular ?
thanks
wrong: (11 km/7 mi), as per the posting
Good to see that the Wednesday walks continue to be well attended. Unfortunately demand for my services is now running at 6 days a week at two different sites for the foreseeable future but will look forward to joining you all again after the New Year on my return from Cuba.
Do pass on our condolences!
Sorry dancing on 7th and tomorrow evening but as you say the Forum may be a place to raise the issue of programme of Christmas walks jfk
14 alighted from a very full train at Didcot to set out on today's walk in conditions on the gorgeous side of gorgeous for winter walking: sunny cold with thick frost on the ground making it very atmospheric as the overnight fog had not yet fully cleared. The first mile or so of the walk was suburban but thereafter we were walking through pretty villages and beside the River Thames on a section undeveloped with property.
The whole walk took us through countryside steeped in history dem Romans woz here and later in the walk (but before in time), Iron Age forts.
Arriving in Dorchester on Thames, some of us visited the lovely abbey before joining the rest in the cosy Fleur de Lys pub, where six of us enjoyed good pub grub, served by friendly staff.
Five of the seven sandwich eaters set out on the afternoon leg whilst their colleagues were still eating in the pub, with the remaining eight setting out 40 minutes later.
Now arithmetic wizzos amongst readers will have spotted someone was missing. Our No 14 decided to do her own thing from mid morning onwards and presumably return to London early for evening engagements.
The thick frost was still on the ground as our group of eight set out on the afternoon leg, soon crossing newly fenced in fields and then the Thames before a quick visit to the lovely Little Wittenham church preceded our ascent of Wittenhan Clumps, a pair of iron age hill forts. The panoramic view from the top was wonderful in the clear, cold air.
Descending the Clumps through Nature Reserves we became conscious of the diminishing daylight hours and sped up (not that we dawdled during any part of the walk). However, our walk leader and poster had judged the time to perfection and as we crossed the last of the fields the sun was setting behind Didcot Power Station.
Six of us enjoyed a drink in the pub opposite the station before another full train whisked us back to Paddington.
The very best of SWC days.
No 14 unfortunately got left behind after stopping for a toilet break. After being very lost in Long W after the museum she did manage to blaze a new trail to Dorchester on Thames where she took tea at Lilysl

Fantastic December weather and walk jfk
Sat, 05-Dec-15 9

Saturday Third Walk - A Thames Valley Ramble: Dorchester with its Abbey and Wittenham Clumps Iron Age Hillforts


apologies for the late posting, but I have been away, and my pre-drafted posting didn't work out due to problems with pub availability
SWC Walk 44 – Didcot Circular
Length: 22.1 km (13.8 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 125 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ¾ hours
Toughness: 3 out of 10
Take the 09.22 Bristol Temple Meads train from Paddington, arriving Didcot Parkway at 10.12 (calls Reading 09.59)
(Fast) return trains are at: 15.47, 16.29, 16.47, 17.01, 17.30, 17.47, 18.01…hours (from 59 minutes journey time)
This walk takes in an attractive part of the Thames Valley south of Oxford, with a lunchtime stop in Dorchester-on-Thames. This handsome village is now bypassed by the traffic but used to be an important staging post between London and Oxford. It has retained a large number of coaching inns and other pubs, so there's plenty of choice for refreshment. You should be sure to visit Dorchester Abbey, one of the few large monastery buildings to survive the Dissolution; it now functions as an impressive parish church. In the afternoon the walk comes to the Wittenham Clumps, the name given to a pair of Iron Age hill forts set in a nature reserve managed by the Earth Trust.
The lunch pub will be any one of a handful in Dorchester (11 km/7 mi), for details see the walk directions. For tea in Didcot, the Prince of Wales, right by the station, is the obvious watering hole to spend the time waiting for a train.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.
T=swc.44
L=swc.44
I trust you will be going on the walk you posted Thomas? The walk sounds great but we are expecting strong winds on Saturday.
It is the CHRISTMAS PARTY on Thursday don't forget!! See listing below
Intend going, indeed. Good news: it's a circular walk, the wind will be in the back half the time!
9 dry windy with gusts
7 off the posted train, 2 on an earlier one (one slow walker, one fast walker).
Certainly grows on you, this walk. Starts very tarmacky out of Didcot and along fields on a cyclepath, but gets interesting from Long Wittenham onwards (fascinating leaning house). On to the Thames meadows, along a really pretty, un built up stretch, all the way to Dorchester with a few nice pubs. The Fleu de Lys looked empty and we feared that indicated nad quality, but not so: very tasty fare at middling prices, and a nice welcome to boot. We then paid a visit to the very interesting abbey and walked a loop through the village, then back towards the confluence of Thame and Isis, and along the river to the Wittenham Clumps, providing panoramic views over this lovely part of the Thames Valley. Field boundaries with long views and interesting light all the way back to Didcot. A dramatic sunset for desert. 16.29 train, then on to The Fountain's Abbey pub in Praed Street, by Paddington Station, where everyone paid for a round each. Finish at 10.
Splendid day out, if maybe a little too alcoholic...
Sun, 07-Jun-15 11

Sunday walk 2

Didcot Circular SWC walk 44
20 km (12.4 miles)
Difficulty 3 out of 10.
This walk, in an attractive part of the Thames Valley was originally devised as the Appleford Circular. We usually start from Didcot because the trains are better. In fact, trains to or from Appleford are non-existent today unless you count the one that arrives Monday!
We start off on a cycleway and are soon amongst fields. Later, an unspoilt riverside stretch leads to the lunchtime stop in Dorchester-on-Thames. Dorchester Abbey, one of the few large monastery buildings to survive the Dissolution, is worth a visit. It has a unique Jesse window and, in the floor, near a medieval wall painting, lies a poignant memorial to a Sarah Fletcher.
After lunch, the walk takes us back along the river to Little Wittenham. The church there is also worth a quick visit to marvel at the sleeping knight near the window. The tower is said to have been built with the winnings of a card game. Soon after, you come to Wittenham Clumps, a nature reserve encompassing two hills, one of which is surmounted by an Iron Age hill fort. The twin hills were once known as Mother Dunch's Buttocks, a name now politely forgotten.
Trains
Get a return to Didcot.
Get the 10.00 Cheltenham Spa train from Paddington. Arrives Didcot 10:51.
Trains back from Didcot are frequent but times vary slightly: 1605 1648 1700 1706 1748 1756 1806 1847 1859 and so on. There are also stopping trains at xx:21, slow but handy for Ealing Broadway and other points west.
(There isn't a convenient start from Ealing Broadway today, but if you don't mind arriving late, the 09:35 Oxford train gets to Didcot at 11:08.)
Lunch Dorchester on Thames still has a large number of coaching inns and pubs, so there's plenty of choice. On past occasions, walkers have used the Fleur de Lys.
Tea There is a pub, the Prince of Wales 01235 511380 near Didcot station. On return, it's on Station Road, just a short distance past the turn in for the station. Untried, as far as I know.
Anyone up for the longer route back (last paragraph p.4), via Long Wittenham, could divert to the Plough there (follow the road to the right after passing the war memorial).
Otherwise there's a shop and refreshment facilities in the station itself.
Directions are here Be sure to follow them back to Didcot, not Appleford.
Intend going and aiming for 10:51 start. Will any one be on the Oxford train 11:08? Should we wait for you?
Sun 7 Jun SWC walk44
A sunny day brought 11 walkers out. The morning paths were lined with hemlock which makes a subtle change from cow parsley. One or two striking buttercup meadows along the Thames. Swallows (or were they swifts) performed acrobatics and red kites circled. The Fleur de Lys provided food that seemed to go down well, especially the substantial home made burgers. The pickled grapes in the cheeseboard were not such a hit. Watch out for those. A choir practice was under way in the abbey so our visit there was fairly brief. Then on through more buttercup meadows, past the church with old Billy Dunch’s effigy (still asleep but I think he‘s got one eye open). Up and over the Clumps and back to Didcot. I can report that the Prince of Wales opposite the station is pleasant enough to be deemed a watering hole. The directions to from Didcot need a tweak or two.

Sun, 18-May-14 8 Didcot Circular
Sun, 16-Jun-13 0 Didcot Circular
Sun, 13-May-12 Didcot Circular
Sun, 22-May-11 Didcot to Appleford
Sat, 19-Jun-10 Appleford Circular
Sat, 06-Jun-09 Appleford Circular
Sat, 12-Jul-08 Appleford Circular
Wed, 21-May-08 Appleford Circular