Prehistoric Oxfordshire Canals (Dykes)

GE Map of Prehistoric Oxfordshire Canals (Dykes)
Prehistoric Oxfordshire Canals (Dykes)
Dykes in Yellow- GE
Old Map
old map 21
1800s Map
Geological Landscape
Prehistoric Oxfordshire Canals (Dykes)
Prehistoric Water levels (BGS Superficial Soils) – Dykes link to Waterways
Prehistoric Oxfordshire Canals (Dykes)
LiDAR (Low Resolution)

Database of DYKES (Linear Earthworks) in Oxfordshire

(Click the ‘HE Entry Ref: Number’ (if blue) for more details and Maps)

NameHE Entry Ref:NGFLength (m)Overall Width (m)Ditch Width (m)Bank Width (m)
Earthwork NE of Tadmarton village1002923SP 39865 38793
Grim's Ditch; section W of Chilton Plantation See also WEST BERKSHIRE 1021003765SU 46908 84722
Grim's Ditch; section 1200yds (1100m) long from Chilton Plantation to Ridge Hill See also WEST BERKSHIRE 1091004825SU 47679 84494
Grims Ditch; section 200yds (180m) long W of Scotch Fir Belt1006304SU 43548 84933
Grim's Ditch; section 600yds (550m) long on East Ginge Down1006305SU 44653 85436
Grim's Ditch; section on Aston Upthorpe Down1006306SU 53881 83270
Grim's Ditch; section S of Tile Barn1006307SU 45605 85578
Grim's Ditch; section 650yds (590m) long NW of Betterton Down1006308SU 42329 84502
North Stoke henge and ring ditch site1006335SU 60993 85320
Dike Hills1006364SU 57389 93517
Grim's Ditch; portion from Mongewell Park Lodge to S of Nuffield church1006368SU 65664 87237
Grim's Ditch: section W of Chilton Plantation See also OXFORDSHIRE 2161006980SU 46908 84722
Grim's Ditch: section 1200yds (1100m) long from Chilton Plantation to Ridge Hill See also OXFORDSHIRE 2601006985SU 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 Park1009425SP 42728 18265
80m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 150m WSW of Ditchley Gate in Blenheim Park1012897SP 42231 18761
Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running east from the River Evenlode opposite Cornbury Park1012902SP 35949 18491
Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m ENE of Ditchley House1012903SP 39400 21351
380m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 200m ENE of Kiddington Lodge1012904SP 40074 21556
145m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch situated 200m west of Grimsdyke Farm1012905SP 40562 21575
1km section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running from Out Wood to Berring's Wood1012906SP 41265 20831
900m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 200m north of Grim's Dyke Farm, running north into Hark Wood1012907SP 42157 20132
240m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch between Grim's Dyke Farm and the B4437 Charlbury to Woodstock road1012908SP 42224 18943
90m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch 350m south of Grim's Dyke Farm1012909SP 42218 18869
Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch west of Common Farm1013236SP 37964 12274
Section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch running into the northern edge of Shilcott Wood on the Ditchley Estate1014578SP 37151 21816
1100m section of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch at Model Farm on the Ditchley Park Estate1014708SP 38173 208731.110166.56.5
Linear earthworks east of Callow Hill Roman villa forming part of the north Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch1014751SP 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?

For more information click HERE

Further Reading

For information about British Prehistory, visit for the most extensive archaeology blogs and investigations collection, including modern LiDAR reports.  This site also includes extracts and articles from the Robert John Langdon Trilogy about Britain in the Prehistoric period, including titles such as The Stonehenge Enigma, Dawn of the Lost Civilisation and the ultimate proof of Post Glacial Flooding and the landscape we see today.

Robert John Langdon has also created a YouTube web channel with over 100 investigations and video documentaries to support his classic trilogy (Prehistoric Britain). He has also released a collection of strange coincidences that he calls ‘13 Things that Don’t Make Sense in History’ and his recent discovery of a lost Stone Avenue at Avebury in Wiltshire called ‘Silbury Avenue – the Lost Stone Avenue’.

Langdon has also produced a series of ‘shorts’, which are extracts from his main body of books:

The Ancient Mariners

Stonehenge Built 8300 BCE

Old Sarum

Prehistoric Rivers

Dykes ditches and Earthworks

Echoes of Atlantis

Homo Superior

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