Ancient Monuments

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240m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch between Grim's Dyke Farm and the B4437 Charlbury to Woodstock road

A Scheduled Monument in Wootton, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.8686 / 51°52'6"N

Longitude: -1.3882 / 1°23'17"W

OS Eastings: 442218.390983

OS Northings: 219067.444368

OS Grid: SP422190

Mapcode National: GBR 7W2.XGC

Mapcode Global: VHBZQ.W9GC

Entry Name: 240m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch between Grim's Dyke Farm and the B4437 Charlbury to Woodstock road

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1951

Last Amended: 4 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012908

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21852

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Wootton

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Wootton, Glympton and Kiddington

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a 240m long section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's
Ditch running from north to south from Grim's Dyke Farm to the B4437 road.
This section of Grim's Ditch has a rampart, berm, ditch and palisade trench. A
low earthen and stone rampart reduced by landscaping for the park survives to
a height of 0.4m. This originally stood c.1.5m high and measures 6m across. To
the east of this, separated by a 1.5m wide berm, lies a ditch 6.5m wide. This
has become infilled over the years and is no longer visible at ground level.
However, below the ground surface it is thought to survive to a depth of 1.5m.
Excavations to the south in Blenheim Park have shown that 3m east of the ditch
lies a 0.75m wide palisade trench, originally 0.2m deep. This has also become
infilled over the years and would have contained a c.1m high wooden fence,
designed to enhance the defence and to prevent cattle and other livestock from
falling into the ditch.
Excluded from the scheduling are the modern boundary fences and the track to
Grim's Dyke Farm, although the ground beneath these remains is included.

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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