Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m ENE of Ditchley House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012903

Date first listed: 09-Apr-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m ENE of Ditchley House
© 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.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1012903 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2018 at 09:10:31.


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

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Spelsbury

National Grid Reference: SP 39400 21351


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.

The section of Grim's Ditch 350m ENE of Ditchley House on Kiddington Drive, survives despite having been reduced by later landscaping and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.


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


The monument includes a 150m long section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch situated 350m ENE of Ditchley House in Ditchley Park. The line of the ditch is now followed for part of its length by the eastward drive from Ditchley to Kiddington. Much of this section of Grim's Ditch has been disturbed by the construction of the road and landscaping associated with the park. However, some earthworks survive while aerial photographs show that much of it remains buried below the modern ground level. This section of Grim's Ditch includes a bank, berm, ditch and palisade ditch. The rampart bank measures 6.5m across and originally stood c.1.5m high. To the north of the bank lies a 1.5m wide berm beyond which the infilled quarry ditch will survive, 6.5m wide and c.1.5m deep. A further 3.5m from the outer ditch edge lies a 0.5m wide palisade ditch c.0.20m deep, no longer visible but known from excavation elsewhere. This would have provided the outer line of defence and would have kept cattle and other livestock out of the ditch. This section is probably separated by an original gap in the earthworks from neighbouring sections to the east and west. Excluded from the scheduling are the metalled surface of the drive and the post and wire fence to the north, although the ground beneath these features 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.


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

Legacy System number: 21847

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Copeland, T, 'South Midlands Archaeology' in The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch, , Vol. 1984, (1984), 100-103
Harden, D B, 'Oxoniensia' in Excavations On The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 1935-6, (1939), 76-77
PRN 8910 and supporting file, C.A.O., North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch, (1987)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1981 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SP 32 SE

End of official listing