GE Map of Prehistoric Oxfordshire Canals (Dykes)
Database of DYKES (Linear Earthworks) in Oxfordshire
(Click the ‘HE Entry Ref: Number’ (if blue) for more details and Maps)
|Name||HE Entry Ref:||NGF||Length (m)||Overall Width (m)||Ditch Width (m)||Bank Width (m)|
|Earthwork NE of Tadmarton village||1002923||SP 39865 38793|
|Grim's Ditch; section W of Chilton Plantation See also WEST BERKSHIRE 102||1003765||SU 46908 84722|
|Grim's Ditch; section 1200yds (1100m) long from Chilton Plantation to Ridge Hill See also WEST BERKSHIRE 109||1004825||SU 47679 84494|
|Grims Ditch; section 200yds (180m) long W of Scotch Fir Belt||1006304||SU 43548 84933|
|Grim's Ditch; section 600yds (550m) long on East Ginge Down||1006305||SU 44653 85436|
|Grim's Ditch; section on Aston Upthorpe Down||1006306||SU 53881 83270|
|Grim's Ditch; section S of Tile Barn||1006307||SU 45605 85578|
|Grim's Ditch; section 650yds (590m) long NW of Betterton Down||1006308||SU 42329 84502|
|North Stoke henge and ring ditch site||1006335||SU 60993 85320|
|Dike Hills||1006364||SU 57389 93517|
|Grim's Ditch; portion from Mongewell Park Lodge to S of Nuffield church||1006368||SU 65664 87237|
|Grim's Ditch: section W of Chilton Plantation See also OXFORDSHIRE 216||1006980||SU 46908 84722|
|Grim's Ditch: section 1200yds (1100m) long from Chilton Plantation to Ridge Hill See also OXFORDSHIRE 260||1006985||SU 47679 84494|
|Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch and a section of Akeman Street Roman road immediately south east of North Lodge in Blenheim Great Park||1009425||SP 42728 18265|
|80m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 150m WSW of Ditchley Gate in Blenheim Park||1012897||SP 42231 18761|
|Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running east from the River Evenlode opposite Cornbury Park||1012902||SP 35949 18491|
|Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m ENE of Ditchley House||1012903||SP 39400 21351|
|380m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 200m ENE of Kiddington Lodge||1012904||SP 40074 21556|
|145m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch situated 200m west of Grimsdyke Farm||1012905||SP 40562 21575|
|1km section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running from Out Wood to Berring's Wood||1012906||SP 41265 20831|
|900m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 200m north of Grim's Dyke Farm, running north into Hark Wood||1012907||SP 42157 20132|
|240m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch between Grim's Dyke Farm and the B4437 Charlbury to Woodstock road||1012908||SP 42224 18943|
|90m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m south of Grim's Dyke Farm||1012909||SP 42218 18869|
|Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch west of Common Farm||1013236||SP 37964 12274|
|Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running into the northern edge of Shilcott Wood on the Ditchley Estate||1014578||SP 37151 21816|
|1100m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch at Model Farm on the Ditchley Park Estate||1014708||SP 38173 20873||1.110||16||6.5||6.5|
|Linear earthworks east of Callow Hill Roman villa forming part of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch||1014751||SP 41029 19301|
Dykes Ditches and Earthworks
Indeed, the modern term “dyke” or “dijk” can be traced back to its Dutch origins. As early as the 12th century, the construction of Dykes in the Netherlands was a well-established practice. One remarkable example of their ingenuity is the Westfriese Omringdijk, stretching an impressive 126 kilometres (78 miles), completed by 1250. This Dyke was formed by connecting existing older ‘dykes’, showcasing the Dutch mastery in managing their aquatic landscape.
The Roman chronicler Tacitus even provides an intriguing historical account of the Batavi, a rebellious people who employed a unique defence strategy during the year AD 70. They punctured the Dykes daringly, deliberately flooding their land to thwart their enemies and secure their retreat. This historical incident highlights the vital role Dykes played in the region’s warfare and water management.
Originally, the word “dijk” encompassed both the trench and the bank, signifying a comprehensive understanding of the Dyke’s dual nature – as both a protective barrier and a channel for water control. This multifaceted concept reflects the profound connection between the Dutch people and their battle against the ever-shifting waters that sought to reclaim their land.
The term “dyke” evolved as time passed, and its usage spread beyond the Dutch borders. Today, it represents not only a symbol of the Netherlands’ engineering prowess but also a universal symbol of human determination in the face of the relentless forces of nature. The legacy of these ancient Dykes lives on, a testament to the resilience and innovation of those who shaped the landscape to withstand the unyielding currents of time.
Upon studying archaeology, whether at university or examining detailed ordinance survey maps, one cannot help but encounter peculiar earthworks scattered across the British hillsides. Astonishingly, these enigmatic features often lack a rational explanation for their presence and purpose. Strangely enough, these features are frequently disregarded in academic circles, brushed aside, or provided with flimsy excuses for their existence. The truth is, these earthworks defy comprehension unless we consider overlooked factors at play.
One curious observation revolves around the term “Dyke,” inherently linked to water. It seems rather peculiar to apply such a word to an earthwork atop a hill unless an ancestral history has imparted its actual function through the ages. Let us consider the celebrated “Offa’s Dyke,” renowned for its massive linear structure, meandering along some of the present boundaries between England and Wales. This impressive feat stands as a testament to the past, seemingly demarcating the realms of the Anglian kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys during the 8th century.
However, delving further into the evidence and historical accounts challenges this seemingly straightforward explanation. Roman historian Eutropius, in his work “Historiae Romanae Breviarium”, penned around 369 AD, mentions a grand undertaking by Septimius Severus, the Roman Emperor, from 193 AD to 211 AD. In his pursuit of fortifying the conquered British provinces, Severus constructed a formidable wall stretching 133 miles from coast to coast.
Yet, intriguingly, none of the known Roman defences match this precise length. Hadrian’s Wall, renowned for its defensive prowess, spans a mere 70 miles. Could Eutropius have referred to Offa’s Dyke, which bears remarkable similarity to the Roman practice of initially erecting banks and ditches for defence?
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