Ancient Monuments

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90m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m south of Grim's Dyke Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Blenheim, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.8668 / 51°52'0"N

Longitude: -1.3883 / 1°23'17"W

OS Eastings: 442217.64784

OS Northings: 218869.781026

OS Grid: SP422188

Mapcode National: GBR 7W2.XH0

Mapcode Global: VHBZQ.WBFR

Entry Name: 90m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m south of Grim's Dyke Farm

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1951

Last Amended: 4 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012909

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21853

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Blenheim

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 90m long section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch
situated 350m south of Grim's Dyke Farm, bounded to the north by the B4437.
This section is part of a once continuous stretch of linear earthwork which
has been cut by the carriageways of roads to the north and south.
The earthworks include a 6.5m wide rampart built of earth and stone, which
originally stood 1.5m high. This has been reduced by cultivation to c.0.5m
high but remains visible as a low earthwork bank, crossing the arable field.
To the east, separated by a 1.5m wide berm, lies a defensive ditch,
known from partial excavation to measure 6.8m wide and 1.7m deep. This has
become infilled over the years but survives intact as a buried feature.
It is also known from excavations that 3m beyond the ditch edge lies a
palisade trench 0.75m wide and 0.2m deep. This will also survive as a buried
feature. The trench contained a c.1m high fence which provided additional
defence but also prevented livestock from entering the ditch.
Excluded from the scheduling are the post and wire boundary fences, the gas
pipeline, its trench and fill, although the ground beneath these features is

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.

Partial excavation of this section of Grim's Ditch has confirmed the survival
of archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and
the landscape in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Chambers, R A, 'Oxoniensia' in The Archaelology of the Charlbury to Arncott Gas Pipeline, (1972), 42-43
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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