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Offa's Dyke: section in Caswell Wood, 280m west of Beeches Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Tidenham, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7026 / 51°42'9"N

Longitude: -2.6598 / 2°39'35"W

OS Eastings: 354502.885114

OS Northings: 200631.604833

OS Grid: SO545006

Mapcode National: GBR JM.3ZN9

Mapcode Global: VH87F.VG8N

Entry Name: Offa's Dyke: section in Caswell Wood, 280m west of Beeches Farm

Scheduled Date: 14 March 1938

Last Amended: 3 September 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020601

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33477

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Tidenham

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Tidenham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of Offa's Dyke at
Modesgate, 280m west of Beeches Farm. This section of the Dyke is in
the care of the Secretary of State. 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 additonal
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 is visible as a bank, with a berm, ditch and
counterscarp bank to the west and quarry ditches to the east. The Dyke follows
a sinuous course running north-south for 633m through Lippets Grove and making
use of the natural slope to the west which enhances the appearance of the bank
in this area. Throughout much of the section the Dyke consists of the bank,
with the berm forming a deliberate, man-made break in the hillslope
immediately to the west, and quarry pits to the east. For a short stretch in
the centre of the section, however, there is a ditch and counterscarp bank to
the west of the bank. The bank is about 14m wide at its base and stands to
approximately 4.3m on its western face and 0.5m on its eastern face. The berm
to the west is between 1m and 2m wide. Where it is present, the ditch is
between 3m and 10m wide and 0.4m deep, while the counterscarp bank is 0.4m
high. To the east of the bank are a series of contiguous quarry pits, from
which material was excavated during the construction of the monument. They are
up to 1m deep and vary in width from 3m to 10m. The eastern side of the Dyke
is abutted by a large lynchet at Ordnance Survey NGR SO54560068, a sample of
which has been included in the scheduling. The lynchet has been interpreted as
a later (probably post-Offan) earthwork connected with the cultivation of the
land to the east of the Dyke.
A track has been cut through the monument at Ordnance Survey NGR SO54530074,
which has destroyed the bank, although the ditch and quarries will survive as
buried features beneath the trackway. The gap is not thought to indicate an
original access point through the Dyke.
All fence posts, stiles and signposts are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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
kingdoms.
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
protection.

The section of Offa's Dyke in Caswell Wood, 280m west of Beeches Farm,
survives well and illustrates the use of natural topography to enhance
the form and visibility of the Dyke. The bank will have preserved part of
the original ground surface, predating the construction of the monument,
and along with the berm, ditch, counterscarp bank and quarries will
contain environmental evidence in the form of organic remains which will
relate both to the Dyke and to the landscape within 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

Sources

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

Source: Historic England

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