Ancient Monuments

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Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running east from the River Evenlode opposite Cornbury Park

A Scheduled Monument in Charlbury, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.8639 / 51°51'49"N

Longitude: -1.4793 / 1°28'45"W

OS Eastings: 435948.856731

OS Northings: 218491.17592

OS Grid: SP359184

Mapcode National: GBR 6TT.4SQ

Mapcode Global: VHBZP.9FS0

Entry Name: Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running east from the River Evenlode opposite Cornbury Park

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1951

Last Amended: 4 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012902

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21838

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Charlbury

Built-Up Area: Charlbury

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Finstock with Fawler

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch situated
adjacent to the River Evenlode, east of Cornbury Park. The ditch and rampart
run from north east to south west for a distance of 200m. The eastern end has
been destroyed by the line of the Charlbury to Witney road and landscaping
beyond it to the east. The extreme western end of the section was destroyed by
the railway cutting (now disused) which runs parallel to the River Evenlode.
The surviving section includes an earthwork bank 6m wide and up to 1m high.
Beyond the bank, to the south, lies a parallel ditch c.6m wide which has
become infilled over the years but remains visible as a slight depression at
ground level, clearly visible on aerial photographs. This is separated from
the rampart by a c.4m wide berm.
Until the late 1970's the bank formed a field boundary on which a thorn hedge
stood. The fields have now been turned into one and the hedge removed.

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

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 east of the River Evenlode survives well and will
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction
and the landscape in which it was built. Its riverside location is conducive
to the survival of waterlogged deposits.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Copeland, T, 'Oxoniensia' in The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch : A Fieldwork Survey, , Vol. 1984, (1984), 289
PRN 8911, C.A.O., Grim's Ditch, (1989)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000
Source Date: 1980
SP 31 NE

Source: Historic England

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