HS2’s proposals for Grim’s Ditch

Buckinghamshire Council has given consent to HS2 Ltd.’s proposals for Grim’s Ditch, a Scheduled Monument, near Leather Lane, Great Missenden, as part of the HS2 project passes through this pre-historic asset of national importance.

Councillor Peter Martin, Deputy Cabinet Member for HS2 at Buckinghamshire Council said:

“Whilst we are pleased that less of Grim’s Ditch will be impacted by the HS2 line passing through the area and that valuable archaeological information can be retrieved during the works, we bitterly regret that damage will be done to any part of this ancient monument.

Any potential adverse effects on the landscape character of the area would at least secure benefits to the Scheduled Monument and, on balance, the Council had to give consent for the proposed works.”

Grim’s Ditch is an ancient earthwork which stretches from Bradenham to Berkhamsted for approximately 18km and is thought to be Iron Age (800BC to AD43).

HS2 Ltd have been working closely with Historic England on the details of the proposal to keep as much as reasonably practical of the Scheduled Monument. The then Secretary of State also granted approval for the proposed works and associated archaeological excavation methodology, on the advice of Historic England.

The HS2 Environmental Statement expected approximately 150m of the monument to be removed by the HS2 railway but the approved proposals have reduced the amount to be excavated to approximately 75m. This has been achieved by the introduction of retaining walls within the South Heath cutting which support the retention in-situ of the ancient monument either side of the railway. The retaining walls are engineering structures of functional appearance that are located within a deep railway cutting away from general public view.

Details of the proposed works can be found on the Council’s website: https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/view-and-comment-on-a-planning-application/ using application reference PL/24/1492/HS2.