240m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch between Grim's Dyke Farm and the B4437 Charlbury to Woodstock road


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012908

Date first listed: 09-Apr-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of 240m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch between Grim's Dyke Farm and the B4437 Charlbury to Woodstock road
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 15:32:51.


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

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Wootton

National Grid Reference: SP 42224 18943


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.


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


The monument includes a 240m long section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running from north to south from Grim's Dyke Farm to the B4437 road. This section of Grim's Ditch has a rampart, berm, ditch and palisade trench. A low earthen and stone rampart reduced by landscaping for the park survives to a height of 0.4m. This originally stood c.1.5m high and measures 6m across. To the east of this, separated by a 1.5m wide berm, lies a ditch 6.5m wide. This has become infilled over the years and is no longer visible at ground level. However, below the ground surface it is thought to survive to a depth of 1.5m. Excavations to the south in Blenheim Park have shown that 3m east of the ditch lies a 0.75m wide palisade trench, originally 0.2m deep. This has also become infilled over the years and would have contained a c.1m high wooden fence, designed to enhance the defence and to prevent cattle and other livestock from falling into the ditch. Excluded from the scheduling are the modern boundary fences and the track to Grim's Dyke Farm, although the ground beneath these remains is 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: 21852

Legacy System: RSM


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

End of official listing