1km section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running from Out Wood to Berring's Wood


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of 1km section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running from Out Wood to Berring's Wood
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
Kiddington with Asterleigh
National Grid Reference:
SP 41265 20831

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 running from Out Wood to Berring's Wood survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built. This is one of the longest surviving sections of Grim's Ditch.


The monument includes a 1km long section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running downhill from north west to south east through Out Wood to Berring's Wood. This section of Grim's Ditch has a bank, berm, ditch and outer palisade trench. The rampart bank measures up to 12m wide and 1.5m high along most of its length. When constructed, this rampart would have been c.1.5m narrower with a berm between it and the ditch. However, over time the bank has slumped across the berm to form a single continuous profile with the ditch edge. Beyond this, to the north east, lies a 6.8m wide ditch which originally stood open to a depth of 1.7m. It has become partially infilled over the years but remains up to 1m deep in places. A further 3m from the outer edge of the ditch stood a wooden palisade fence which was located in a 0.5m wide and 0.2m deep trench. Evidence from excavations along Grim's Ditch have shown that the foundation trench of this palisade survives below the modern ground level. The fence, along with one on the rampart, would have enhanced the defences in addition to keeping cattle and other livestock out of the ditch. Excluded from the scheduling are all post and wire fence boundaries which cross it, although the ground beneath remains included.

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:
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Books and journals
Copeland, T, 'Oxoniensia' in The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch : A Fieldwork Survey, (1984), 290
Harden, D B, 'Oxoniensia' in Excavations On The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 1935-6, (1939), 76-
Detailed vertical, R.A.F., RAF SP 42 SW, (1947)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1981 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SP 42 SW


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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