Ancient Monuments

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80m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 150m WSW of Ditchley Gate in Blenheim Park

A Scheduled Monument in Blenheim, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.8658 / 51°51'56"N

Longitude: -1.3881 / 1°23'17"W

OS Eastings: 442230.99015

OS Northings: 218760.105975

OS Grid: SP422187

Mapcode National: GBR 7W2.XJN

Mapcode Global: VHBZQ.WCJH

Entry Name: 80m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 150m WSW of Ditchley Gate in Blenheim Park

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1951

Last Amended: 4 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012897

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21854

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Blenheim

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire


The monument includes a short section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch
situated 150m WSW of Ditchley Gate in Blenheim Park. The section runs from
the boundary of the park for 80m to the south where it terminates in a
butt-ended ditch.
The earthworks include a 7m wide rampart standing up to 1.5m high. To the east
of this, separated by a 1.5m wide berm, lies a ditch c.7m wide and originally
standing open to a depth of 1.7m. This has become partially infilled but is
still up to 0.7m deep in places. From excavations on the section 400m to the
south, it is known that 3m east of this ditch lies a 0.75m wide palisade
trench 0.2m deep. This would have contained a wooden fence which both enhanced
the defences and prevented livestock from straying into the ditch. This will
survive beneath the modern ground level.
Excluded from the scheduling is the park wall at its northern end, although
the land beneath is included in the scheduling.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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
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.

Source: Historic England


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
SP 41 NW

Source: Historic England

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