Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Offa's Dyke: section on St Briavels Common, 190m west of Hudnalls Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Briavels, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.729 / 51°43'44"N

Longitude: -2.67 / 2°40'12"W

OS Eastings: 353818.321169

OS Northings: 203582.345645

OS Grid: SO538035

Mapcode National: GBR JM.292M

Mapcode Global: VH877.NSTW

Entry Name: Offa's Dyke: section on St Briavels Common, 190m west of Hudnalls Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 September 1935

Last Amended: 28 January 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020526

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33467

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: St. Briavels

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: St Briavels St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of Offa's Dyke,
190m west of Hudnalls Farm. Offa's Dyke generally consists of a bank up
to 3.5m high with an intermittent ditch to the west and quarry ditches to
the east. In places Offa's Dyke was strengthened by additional earthworks,
namely a berm between the bank and ditch, and a counterscarp bank on the
western lip of the ditch.
In this section the Dyke runs for some 204m and is visible as a bank with
quarries to the east. The bank is about 8m wide and stands to between 1m and
1.5m high on its eastern face, its western face having been removed by the
construction of the roadway to the west. The quarries cover an area between 2m
and 6m wide and are up to 2m deep. At the southern end of the section, a
trackway marks the line of the bank, which is no longer visible, having become
worn away over time, but which will survive as buried features.
At this scale the Ordnance Survey depiction for this section of the Dyke
shows its southern half being overlain by a road. However, on the ground
this feature is in fact just a bridleway track lying on the western side
of the Dyke.
All wooden fence posts, gate posts and stone walls are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Offa's Dyke is the longest linear earthwork in Britain, approximately 220km,
running from Treuddyn, near Mold, to Sedbury on the Severn estuary. It was
constructed towards the end of the eighth century AD by the Mercian king Offa,
and is believed to have formed a long-lived territorial, and possibly
defensive, boundary between the Saxon kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh
The Dyke is not continuous and consists of a number of discrete lengths
separated by gaps of up to 23km. It is clear from the nature of certain
sections that differences in the scale and character of adjoining portions
were the result of separate gangs being employed on different lengths. Where
possible, natural topographic features such as slopes or rivers were utilised,
and the form of Offa's Dyke is therefore clearly related to the topography.
Along most of its length it consists of a bank with a ditch to the west.
Excavation has indicated that at least some lengths of the bank had a vertical
outer face of either laid stonework or turf revetment. The ditch generally
seems to have been used to provide most of the bank material, although there
is also evidence in some locations of shallow quarries. In places, a berm
divides the bank and ditch, and a counterscarp bank may be present on the lip
of the ditch.
Offa's Dyke now survives in various states of preservation in the form of
earthworks and, where sections have been levelled and infilled, as buried
features. Although some sections of the frontier system no longer survive
visibly, sufficient evidence does exist for its position to be accurately
identified throughout most of its length. In view of its contribution towards
the study of early medieval territorial patterns, all sections of Offa's Dyke
exhibiting significant archaeological remains are considered worthy of

The section of Offa's Dyke 190m west of Hudnalls Farm survives well. The
bank will have preserved part of the original ground surface, predating the
construction of the monument and, along with the quarries, will contain
environmental evidence in the form of organic remains which will relate both
to the Dyke and the landscape in which it was constructed. The bank will
also contain evidence relating to the methods of construction of the
monument and the building materials used.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fox, C, Offa's Dyke, (1955)
Hoyle, J, Vallender, J, Offa's Dyke in Gloucestershire: Management Survay, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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