Dead Woman's Ditch

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Dead Womans Ditch (geograph 2880447)

Dead Woman's Ditch is an earthwork which has been scheduled as an ancient monument in Over Stowey, Somerset, England situated on the Quantock Hills.

A linear earthwork consisting of a bank with a ditch along the west side running for approximately 950 metres (3,120 ft) from a spring known as Lady's Fountain across Robin Uprights Hill and down into Ramscombe.[1] The earthwork is presumed to be of prehistoric origin and is of unknown purpose, but have been linked to Dowsborough.[2]

The 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long earthwork has been cut through by later tracks and a road.[3] It is badly eroded in places and is on the Heritage at Risk Register.[4] Part of the earthwork is on land owned by the Forestry Commission.[5]

Dead Woman's Ditch is sometimes associated with the Murder of Sarah Walford by her husband John in 1789 but the name predates the murder, appearing on an earlier map.[6] In 1988 the body of Shirley Banks was found at the site. John Cannan was found guilty of her murder.[7][8]


  1. ^ Historic England. "DEAD WOMANS DITCH (189513)". PastScape. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  2. ^ Trewin, Jane. "Dead Woman's Ditch and the Exmoor National Park". Everything Exmoor. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  3. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1008254)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  4. ^ "English Heritage". Heritage at Risk Register. Historic England. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Dead Woman's Ditch". Some Quantock Items. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  6. ^ Grinsell (1976). Prehistoric Sites in the Quantock Country. p. 19.
  7. ^ "Prison breaches human rights, says killer of Bristol newlywed". Bristol Post. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  8. ^ Whittington-Egan, Richard; Whittington-Egan, Molly (2011). Murder on File. Neil Wilson. ISBN 9781906476533.

Coordinates: 51°08′1″N 3°12′00″W / 51.13361°N 3.20000°W / 51.13361; -3.20000