Length of Grim's Ditch 260m west of Brown Moor Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Oct-2019 at 19:00:59.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 37561 33827
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
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
Although the length of Grim's Ditch 260m west of Brown Moor Farm is now buried, geophysical survey in the area has enabled the course of Grim's Ditch to be confirmed. Significant remains of both the bank and ditch will survive as buried remains.
The monument includes a length of the linear earthwork known as Grim's Ditch,
at Austhorpe, 260m west of Brown Moor Farm.
This part of Grim's Ditch is no longer visible as a surface feature but it was
depicted as an earthwork on early Ordnance Survey maps. Its survival as a
buried feature has been confirmed by geophysical survey. This has shown that a
linear feature survives below ground along the line of the earthworks depicted
on early maps to a point 103m north of the now disused colliery, where it
appears to have a butt end. It is not known whether this is an original
entrance, or reflects some later disturbance. It is also uncertain whether the
feature showing on the survey is a ditch or the bank.
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
WYAS, , Thorpe Park Austhorpe Leeds, (1997)
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