Ancient Monuments

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Offa's Dyke: section 400m east of Cwm Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Mainstone, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.4657 / 52°27'56"N

Longitude: -3.0889 / 3°5'20"W

OS Eastings: 326117.131234

OS Northings: 285866.62323

OS Grid: SO261858

Mapcode National: GBR B2.KQ6J

Mapcode Global: VH762.D9V3

Entry Name: Offa's Dyke: section 400m east of Cwm Farm

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1933

Last Amended: 15 April 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020897

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32597

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Mainstone

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Mainstone

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a section of the
linear boundary known as Offa's Dyke 400m east of Cwm Farm. Offa's Dyke
generally consists of a bank, up to 3.5m high, with an intermittent parallel
ditch and quarry pits in places. It was strengthened in some areas by
additional earthworks, namely a berm between the bank and ditch and
counterscarp bank on the outer lip of the ditch.
In this section the Dyke runs for some 920m from the south side of the
entrance to Middle Knuck Farm to the north edge of the road at Hergan. At the
northern end the bank is visible for 15m. Although the ditch has been infilled
and overlain by a trackway, it will survive as a buried feature to the west of
the Dyke. The construction of a barn and ancillary buildings at Middle Knuck
Farm has modified the Dyke in this area, although the bank and ditch will
survive as buried features and are included in the scheduling. To the south of
the barn the Dyke is visible as a well-preserved earthwork for some 280m
as far as a brook. Beyond the brook, the Dyke runs southwards over the
shoulder of the hill, and is visible as a bank with the V-shaped ditch
enhanced by a small watercourse. To the south, the ditch and counterscarp
have been reduced by ploughing, but will survive as buried features and
are, therefore, included in the scheduling.
On the flank of Hergan Hill the Dyke turns to the south east before turning
sharply to the south west. To the south of this point a trackway runs along
the western side of the bank with a second bank defining its western edge. The
track continues north eastwards through a gap in the Dyke thought to
represent an original entrance approximately 120m north east of the
modern road. A 20m sample of the continuation of the trackway on the
north eastern side of the Dyke is included in the scheduling in order to
preserve its relationship with the Dyke.
At the southern end of this section the road from Cwm Farm has damaged both
bank and ditch and this area is not, therefore, included in the scheduling.
Further sections of Offa's Dyke immediately to the north of this section and
to the south are the subject of separate schedulings.
All post and wire fences, the footbridge below Middle Knuck Farm, and the
ancillary buildings at Middle Knuck Farm are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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 400m east of Cwm Farm survives well, particularly
in the northern part. The varied form of the earthwork throughout this
section will provide insight into its construction and the technical skills
of the people who built it. Of particular interest is the break in the Dyke
120m north of the modern road. This is considered to be one of the few
original entrances across the Dyke and will provide valuable insight into the
function of the Dyke as a defensive or territorial boundary. Artefactual
evidence will also provide information about the changing use of the monument
over time. In addition, environmental evidence such as pollen and seeds
within the fills of the ditch and on the buried ground surface below the bank
will provide evidence of farming in the area and the wider local landscape.
This section is accessible to the public and as such is an important
recreational and educational resource.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 19
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 18

Source: Historic England

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