Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m ENE of Ditchley House

A Scheduled Monument in Spelsbury, Oxfordshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.8893 / 51°53'21"N

Longitude: -1.4289 / 1°25'44"W

OS Eastings: 439399.499261

OS Northings: 221350.516278

OS Grid: SP393213

Mapcode National: GBR 6TH.KK4

Mapcode Global: VHBZJ.5SY0

Entry Name: Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m ENE of Ditchley House

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1951

Last Amended: 4 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012903

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21847

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Spelsbury

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Enstone

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a 150m long section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's
Ditch situated 350m ENE of Ditchley House in Ditchley Park. The line of the
ditch is now followed for part of its length by the eastward drive from
Ditchley to Kiddington.
Much of this section of Grim's Ditch has been disturbed by the construction of
the road and landscaping associated with the park. However, some earthworks
survive while aerial photographs show that much of it remains buried below the
modern ground level.
This section of Grim's Ditch includes a bank, berm, ditch and palisade ditch.
The rampart bank measures 6.5m across and originally stood c.1.5m high. To the
north of the bank lies a 1.5m wide berm beyond which the infilled quarry ditch
will survive, 6.5m wide and c.1.5m deep. A further 3.5m from the outer ditch
edge lies a 0.5m wide palisade ditch c.0.20m deep, no longer visible but known
from excavation elsewhere. This would have provided the outer line of defence
and would have kept cattle and other livestock out of the ditch.
This section is probably separated by an original gap in the earthworks from
neighbouring sections to the east and west.
Excluded from the scheduling are the metalled surface of the drive and the
post and wire fence to the north, although the ground beneath these features
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.

The section of Grim's Ditch 350m ENE of Ditchley House on Kiddington Drive,
survives despite having been reduced by later landscaping and will contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the
landscape in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Copeland, T, 'South Midlands Archaeology' in The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch, , Vol. 1984, (1984), 100-103
Harden, D B, 'Oxoniensia' in Excavations On The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 1935-6, (1939), 76-77
PRN 8910 and supporting file, C.A.O., North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch, (1987)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series
Source Date: 1981
SP 32 SE

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.