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Offa's Dyke: section 650m east of Cwm-sanaham

A Scheduled Monument in Llanfair Waterdine, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3723 / 52°22'20"N

Longitude: -3.0706 / 3°4'14"W

OS Eastings: 327211.870435

OS Northings: 275455.882519

OS Grid: SO272754

Mapcode National: GBR B3.RNQD

Mapcode Global: VH76G.QMLR

Entry Name: Offa's Dyke: section 650m east of Cwm-sanaham

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1933

Last Amended: 15 April 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020906

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32607

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

Details

The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a section of the
linear boundary known as Offa's Dyke, 650m east of Cwm-sanaham. Offa's Dyke
generally consists of a bank, up to 3.5m high, with an intermittent ditch
and quarry pits in places. It was strengthened in some areas 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 some 1.5km through a steep ravine in
its central part. This topography has caused difficulties in its
construction, requiring the usual form of the Dyke to be modified.

At its northern end, the Dyke has been reduced by ploughing but is visible as
a slight continuous rise in pasture as far as the crest of the west shoulder
of Cwm-sanaham Hill.

Towards the central part of this section, the Dyke runs through the upper part
of the ravine above Cwm-sanaham, and here the bank runs along the crest of a
rocky outcrop as far as a gap made for farm traffic. The Dyke then continues
as a terrace in the side of the hill where the current footpath runs along
the line of the infilled ditch. Further south the Dyke is visible for 200m
as a degraded bank and ditch with traces of the counterscarp bank. The Dyke
in this southern section is 18m wide from the edge of the bank to the
western edge of the counterscarp bank. The bank is about 1.5m high at its
highest point.

Further sections of Offa's Dyke 220m to the north and immediately to the south
are the subject of separate schedulings.

All fence posts, stiles and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath them 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 650m east of Cwm-sanaham survives well, despite
some reduction by ploughing, and will retain evidence for its construction
as well as artefactual information relating to its use over time. In
addition, environmental evidence, in the form of organic remains, will
survive within the fill of the ditch and in the buried ground surface
below the bank and counterscarp bank. This will provide information
relating to the landscape within which the Dyke was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Fox, C, Offa's Dyke, (1955), 137
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 18

Source: Historic England

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