Length of Grim's Ditch immediately east of Barrowby Road


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018795

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Length of Grim's Ditch immediately east of Barrowby Road
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Dec-2018 at 15:19:39.


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

District: Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)

District: Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Austhorpe

District: Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Swillington

National Grid Reference: SE 37607 33438


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.

The length of Grim's Ditch immediately east of Barrowby Road survives reasonably well and will preserve significant archaeological information.


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. This length runs for 310m immediately east of Burrowby Road. In this section Grim's Ditch has been placed to take advantage of and use a steep natural slope 4m high. A ditch has been placed at the base of the slope while the bank runs along the top of the slope. At the northern end of the section the ditch survives as an earthwork 6m wide and 0.5m deep. Further south it has been obscured and infilled by continued ploughing but still survives as a buried feature. The bank is approximately 10m wide and 0.5m high. At the northern end Barrowby Lane lies outside the area of protection. At the southern end the access road into the Thorpe Business Park also lies immediately outside the monument. All walls and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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: 32143

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing