Length of Grim's Ditch partly under Bullerthorpe Lane 620m north of Gamblethorpe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018792

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Length of Grim's Ditch partly under Bullerthorpe Lane 620m north of Gamblethorpe
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 23:10:31.


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

District: Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Swillington

National Grid Reference: SE 37514 31062


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

Reasons for Designation

The West Yorkshire Grim's Ditch is a linear earthwork consisting of a substantial bank with a deep, rock-cut ditch on its east side. It lies to the east of Leeds, and the known remains extend northwards for approximately 3.5 km, from just north of the River Aire at Gamblethorpe Farm, Swillington, to Cock Beck on Whinmoor. Less definite evidence suggests that the earthwork survives further south to the River Aire, and north beyond Cock Beck. Grim's Ditch still survives in several places as a visible earthwork. The most likely context for the construction of Grim's Ditch has always been thought to be as a defence for the British kingdom of Elmet, and in particular its major centre, Leeds, against the advance of the Anglo-Saxons in the early 7th century AD. However, preliminary results from excavations of a section of Grim's Ditch at Colton suggest that the ditch was open during the Roman period. Both the bank and ditch can be seen for most of a 1.8 km stretch, extending from the A1-M1 link road at the south edge of Avenue Wood, Temple Newsam, to the A63 at Colton. Lengths of ditch are also visible at Gamblethorpe Farm, and at the base of a scarp south of Barrowby Road, Austhorpe. The remaining known course of Grim's Ditch is not a visible earthwork, but it has been located by means of excavation and geophysical survey. The size and extent of Grim's Ditch implies a considerable expenditure of time and labour, and also suggests a degree of social organisation at the time of its construction. All known lengths of Grim's Ditch, where significant archaeological deposits are likely to survive are considered to be nationally important.

Although the length of Grim's Ditch 620m north of Gamblethorpe is partly under a road, evidence from excavations in the area show that significant archaeological deposits remain.


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


The monument includes a length of the linear earthwork known as Grim's Ditch. It survives partly beneath the old course of Bullerthorpe Lane immediately south of the new A1-M1 link road. Where it survives as an upstanding earthwork Grim's Ditch includes a substantial bank and ditch. The bank is typically 12m wide and of varying height. Where the bank and ditch have been observed together, the bank always occurs on the west side of the ditches with no intervening berm. Excavations during 1996-7 prior to the re-alignment of Bullerthorpe Lane showed that the ditch survives to a depth of 2.5m running parallel to and immediately east of the old (pre 1996) course of the Lane. The bank lies under the old course of the lane; evidence from other sections of the Grim's Ditch indicates that the bank will have been flattened by the road construction but that significant remains will still survive. The surface of Bullerthorpe Lane is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included. The new A1-M1 link road, construction of which also led to the re-alignment of Bullerthorpe Lane, is not marked on the map extract.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 31511

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
WYAS, , A1-M1 Link Road, (1997)

End of official listing