Roses for peppercorns at Wittenham Clumps

A rose will be presented by the Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council to the Earth Trust on 23 June in honour of an historic agreement allowing public access to Wittenham Clumps and Little Wittenham Nature Reserve.

Since February 1970, the ‘Wittenham Rose’ has been presented as a peppercorn rent to landowners at Little Wittenham. It is a symbolic gesture which allows ongoing access for the general public to the woods, pastureland and round hills of the reserve.

When the agreement was drawn up in 1970 the area was still in Berkshire. Since 1974 Oxfordshire County Council has presented the rose.

Increasing access to the countryside

Councillor Zoe Patrick, Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council said: “This ceremony is a long standing tradition that the county council is delighted to honour. Public access to the countryside is an important issue for both the county council and the Earth Trust, so the Rose Ceremony is a very important annual event in our calendars. Indeed it is an a mid-summer Oxfordshire fixture and part of the fabric of our wonderful county.”

Jayne Manley, Chief Executive of the Earth Trust, said: “Earth Trust is proud to be guardian of this unique landscape and to be providing much-needed free access to the countryside. This year we are also celebrating the Earth Trust’s 35th birthday – the ceremony will reflect on what we’ve achieved over the last three and half decades and look forward to our exciting vision for the next five years.”

The event takes place at 10:30am and media are welcome to attend.

The Earth Trust and Wittenham Clumps

Since 1982 the Earth Trust has managed the area around Wittenham Clumps and the surrounding farmland, grassland and woodlands. The area is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, on account of its grassland and its significant population of great crested newts.