80m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 150m WSW of Ditchley Gate in Blenheim Park

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012897

Date first listed: 09-Apr-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Oct-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of 80m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 150m WSW of Ditchley Gate in Blenheim Park
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Blenheim

National Grid Reference: SP 42231 18761

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch is a series of discrete linear earthworks of Iron Age date which together make up at least one segmented circuit, situated between the valleys of the Rivers Evenlode, Glyme and Windrush in an area of the eastern Cotswolds. In recent years evidence for an outer concentric circuit has come to light, largely from the study of cropmarks visible on aerial photographs. The area enclosed by the inner circuit is 12 sq km and the outer circuit encloses between 60 and 70 sq km. The earthworks which define this area were only built in open country leaving apparent gaps in the areas previously forested. Where visible, the Grim's Ditch always includes a rampart of dumped earth and stone, a berm and outer ditch and, in places, a narrow palisade trench beyond. It is believed that, together, these components served to enclose and divide an area of land and provide control over access through the open country which existed between heavily forested areas. The ditch is Iron Age in date and provides evidence of how the landscape was managed and divided in the period immediately prior to the Roman Conquest. The high concentration of sites representing Iron Age ritual and agricultural activity which occur within the area defined by the ditch confirms the view that it served to define an area which was of particular significance to its builders. All sections surviving as visible earthworks, and sections identified by aerial photography which are integral to a general understanding of the nature and extent of Grim's Ditch, will normally merit statutory protection.

This section of Grim's Ditch will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a short section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch situated 150m WSW of Ditchley Gate in Blenheim Park. The section runs from the boundary of the park for 80m to the south where it terminates in a butt-ended ditch. The earthworks include a 7m wide rampart standing up to 1.5m high. To the east of this, separated by a 1.5m wide berm, lies a ditch c.7m wide and originally standing open to a depth of 1.7m. This has become partially infilled but is still up to 0.7m deep in places. From excavations on the section 400m to the south, it is known that 3m east of this ditch lies a 0.75m wide palisade trench 0.2m deep. This would have contained a wooden fence which both enhanced the defences and prevented livestock from straying into the ditch. This will survive beneath the modern ground level. Excluded from the scheduling is the park wall at its northern end, although the land beneath is included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 21854

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Harden, D B, 'Oxoniensia' in Excavations On The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 1935-6, (1939), 76-
Other
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1981 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SP 41 NW

End of official listing