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Offa's Dyke: section 890m north west and 320m west of Little Selley

A Scheduled Monument in Llanfair Waterdine, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.392 / 52°23'31"N

Longitude: -3.0882 / 3°5'17"W

OS Eastings: 326041.756504

OS Northings: 277665.070221

OS Grid: SO260776

Mapcode National: GBR B2.QJC4

Mapcode Global: VH76G.F47M

Entry Name: Offa's Dyke: section 890m north west and 320m west of Little Selley

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1933

Last Amended: 15 April 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020903

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32604

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Llanfair Waterdine

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Llanfair Waterdine

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, 890m north west and 320m west of
Little Selley. 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 places by additional earthworks, namely a berm between
the bank and ditch and a counterscarp bank on the outer lip of the ditch.
In this section the Dyke runs for about 1.5km from the crest of Llanfair
Hill down to Garbett Hall and lies within two separate areas of protection.
In this section, the Dyke was strongly built, and the bank rises to 3m high in
places. At the northern end a metalled road has removed part of the Dyke,
although the base of the bank and ditch will survive as buried features and
are, therefore, included in the scheduling. The earthworks run southwards
from this point for 400m and are visible as a high bank and V-cut ditch. The
counterscarp has been eroded by ploughing but is visible as a slight bank.
Beyond a gap, believed to be modern, a small storage yard has been built
into the eastern side of the bank, removing about 1m from the lower slope.
Despite this, the base of the bank will survive as a buried feature and is
included in the scheduling. For the remainder of this section, the bank and
ditch together with the counterscarp bank are well-preserved for a further
550m to the point where a trackway runs through the Dyke, connecting fields
on either side. The track has removed all archaeological features in this
area, and it is not, therefore included in the scheduling.
Within the second area of protection the Dyke is visible as a bank and ditch
with a well-preserved counterscarp bank which runs for 600m south to Garbett
Hall. In this section the crest of the bank is lower than in sections to the
north, and in the final 200m the ditch has been deepened by a small stream
following its line as far as the farm. At the southern end of this section a
stone-built barn built on the line of the bank has removed all traces of the
Dyke and the remains are no longer visible in the steep slope from the barn
down to the roadway which passes the farm to the south.
There are a number of gaps in the earthworks in this section, but the bank and
ditch in these areas will survive as buried features and are included in
the scheduling.
Immediately to the north and 40m to the south are further sections of Offa's
Dyke which are the subject of separate schedulings.
All fence posts, stiles, gates and modern road surfaces 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

This section of Offa's Dyke 890m north west and 320m west of Little Selley
survives well, despite some erosion by agriculture in places. The remains are
visually impressive and provide good evidence for the methods of construction
and building materials used, demonstrating the positioning of the line of the
defences to take advantage of the topography and provide an unobstructed
overview of the landscape. The bank will have preserved buried evidence for
its layout and construction, and the soils at the bottom of the ditch will
contain evidence for the landscape at the time of its construction in the
form of pollens and seeds. In addition, the whole stretch is accessible to
the public and so will provide a valuable resource for recreation and
education in the community.

Source: Historic England


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

Source: Historic England

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