90m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m south of Grim's Dyke Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012909

Date first listed: 09-Apr-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of 90m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m south of Grim's Dyke Farm
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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 42218 18869


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.

Partial excavation of this section of Grim's Ditch has confirmed the survival of 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 90m long section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch situated 350m south of Grim's Dyke Farm, bounded to the north by the B4437. This section is part of a once continuous stretch of linear earthwork which has been cut by the carriageways of roads to the north and south. The earthworks include a 6.5m wide rampart built of earth and stone, which originally stood 1.5m high. This has been reduced by cultivation to c.0.5m high but remains visible as a low earthwork bank, crossing the arable field. To the east, separated by a 1.5m wide berm, lies a defensive ditch, known from partial excavation to measure 6.8m wide and 1.7m deep. This has become infilled over the years but survives intact as a buried feature. It is also known from excavations that 3m beyond the ditch edge lies a palisade trench 0.75m wide and 0.2m deep. This will also survive as a buried feature. The trench contained a c.1m high fence which provided additional defence but also prevented livestock from entering the ditch. Excluded from the scheduling are the post and wire boundary fences, the gas pipeline, its trench and fill, although the ground beneath these features 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: 21853

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Chambers, R A, 'Oxoniensia' in The Archaelology of the Charlbury to Arncott Gas Pipeline, (1972), 42-43
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