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:
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Oct-2019 at 14:22:55.
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
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
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:
- Legacy System:
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