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Offa's Dyke: section 475m north east of Nether Skyborry

A Scheduled Monument in Llanfair Waterdine, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.3604 / 52°21'37"N

Longitude: -3.0589 / 3°3'32"W

OS Eastings: 327983.1275

OS Northings: 274118.1958

OS Grid: SO279741

Mapcode National: GBR B3.SKKP

Mapcode Global: VH76G.XXQX

Entry Name: Offa's Dyke: section 475m north east of Nether Skyborry

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1933

Last Amended: 15 April 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020907

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32608

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 buried and earthwork remains of a section of the
linear boundary known as Offa's Dyke, 475m north east of Nether Skyborry.
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 a counterscarp bank on the outer lip of the ditch.
In this section, the Dyke runs for about 1.8km from a point 350m east of
Bryney across the shoulder of Panpunton Hill to Kinsley Wood, where the
remains are no longer visible. In the northern quarter the Dyke is visible
as a well-defined bank, up to 2.8m high, with a shallow ditch and traces of a
counterscarp bank to the west. Approximately 300m from the north end of this
section, there is a wide trackway through the Dyke. Beyond this, the Dyke
continues for some 1.5km southwards. Here the Dyke is lower and in places is
very slight. The ditch has been largely infilled and reduced by ploughing,
and the counterscarp is only faintly visible as a slight earthwork. The ditch
and counterscarp bank will survive as buried features, however, and are
included in the scheduling.
Immediately to the north, and across the present Welsh border in Powys are
further sections of Offa's Dyke which are the subject of separate schedulings.
All fence posts and stiles 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 475m north east of Nether Skyborry survives well
as a representative stretch of the earthwork in south Shropshire. This
section of the Dyke appears to have been originally constructed on a smaller
scale than sections to the north and may, therefore, provide evidence of
different construction techniques employed along the length of the Dyke.
The bank will have preserved part of the original ground surface, predating
the construction of the monument and, along with the infill of the ditch,
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
In addition, the parish boundary between Llanfair Waterdine and Stowe runs
along the line of the southern half of the Dyke, perpetuating its role as
a demarcation boundary since the early medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fox, C, Offa's Dyke, (1955), 138
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 18

Source: Historic England

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