Offa's Dyke: section 120m south west of Stowfield Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 02:53:44.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Forest of Dean (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SO 58665 17239
Reasons for Designation
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 120m south west of Stowfield Farm survives well and illustrates the use of natural topography to enhance the form and visibility of the Dyke. The terrace will have preserved part of the original ground surface, predating the construction of the monument, and will contain environmental evidence in the form of organic remains which will relate both to the Dyke and to the landcsape within which it was constructed. It will also contain evidence relating to the methods of construction of the monument and the building materials used.
The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of Offa's Dyke 120m
south west of Stowfield Farm. 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 additional earthworks,
namely a berm between the bank and ditch, and a counterscarp bank on the
western lip of the ditch.
In this 54m long section the Dyke is visible as a terrace making use of a
natural break in slope at the junction of the plateau and the steep scarp of
the River Wye. The terrace rises to a height of about 4m over a distance of
3m, and deliberately laid stonework is visible intermittently along the west
face of the terrace. This has been interpreted as the remains of a dry stone
revetment acting as a near vertical and highly visible facing on the west
face of the monument. To the north of this section, the line of the Dyke has
been damaged by later quarrying activity, and by the insertion of a septic
tank, water mains and services for The Ridge House.
All fence and gate posts 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Hoyle, J, Vallender, J, Offa's Dyke in Gloucestershire: Management Survay, (1997)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing