New steps are beauty spot's stairway to heaven

Oxford Mail: Earth Trust director Jayne Manley on the new steps at Wittenham Clumps Earth Trust director Jayne Manley on the new steps at Wittenham Clumps

VOLUNTEERS are stepping up their work to to complete a new £15,000 pathway through woodland at Oxfordshire’s most popular beauty spot.

The Earth Trust owns the land surrounding Wittenham Clumps near Didcot, including Little Wittenham Wood.

In recent years, steps on the path into Little Wittenham Wood have become worn away and slippery.

Now they are being replaced with a set of 140 steps made from recycled plastic.

Combined with 104 metres of new pathway, the trust is creating a short circular walk through the woods.

Earth Trust director Jayne Manley said: “The wood is a stunning place to walk, with dappled sunlight and wildlife including oak trees, butterflies, woodland plants and birds.

“Thanks to the support of our volunteers, the work should be finished by the middle of the month.

“Once it is completed, the trust will be organising a series of free activities, including tracking wildlife.”

The stairway through the woods starts at the main Wittenham Clumps car park.

Trust head of land management Chris Parker added: “Visitors can follow the path between the two hills and go into the wood.

“The route goes through an area known as the beech hangar, then down a steep slope and through beautiful coniferous woodland.”

The work has been funded through donations to the Earth Trust’s Stairway to Nature appeal and grants from the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment, Towergate Insurance, Grundon Waste Management, Awards for All, and Long Wittenham Parish Council.

In 2010, the then Northmoor Trust struck a £6m deal to almost double the size of Oxfordshire’s most visited open space.

The 700-acre Wittenham Clumps and Little Wittenham Wood expanded by 500 acres into neighbouring North Farm.

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