Wat's Dyke: 140m long section, 370m south west of Gobowen Station


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Wat's Dyke: 140m long section, 370m south west of Gobowen Station
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 03:23:48.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Selattyn and Gobowen
National Grid Reference:
SJ 30167 33080

Reasons for Designation

Wat's Dyke is a linear boundary marker and defensive rampart. It runs for about 60km from Basingwerk, on the Dee estuary, southwards to Maesbury, near Oswestry. It consists of a large ditch, 5m wide and 2m deep, with a bank on the eastern side. The bank is 10m wide at the base, on average, and its original height was about 2.5m. Wat's Dyke runs roughly parallel to Offa's Dyke which lies to the west, sometimes only 500m away. Both dykes run along the border between England and Wales, and it is clear that both were constructed to defend land on the eastern side from incursions coming from the west.

The earthwork bank and ditch ran without interruption except where the course of a stream or river cut through it. The date of the construction has not been accurately determined, but it is considered that it was built at an earlier date than the parallel 8th century Offa's Dyke, although it fulfilled the same purpose. The Dyke forms a boundary between lands firmly in control of Anglo-Saxon overlords and lands more recently taken from the native Britains of this area by the English. Subsequently land to the west of the Dyke became part of what is now known as Wales The line of the Dyke has been shown to mark a division between hidated (assessed for taxation on the basis of the Anglo-Saxon units known as `hides') and unhidated lands (lands under a different system of government) at the time of the Domesday records. This suggests that the earthwork was constructed before the `hide' system was put into practice during the reign of King Offa of Mercia. The Dyke was probably built during the period of expansion of the kingdom of Mercia before the accession of Offa, possibly during the reign of Aethelbald (AD 716-757). All known lengths of Wat's Dyke where significant archaeological deposits are likely to survive are considered to be nationally important.

This 140m long section of Wat's Dyke 370m south west of Gobowen Station is well-preserved, despite ploughing in the recent past. The remains run beside a public footpath and are visible from the road to Pentre Dafydd, and will provide a source for education and recreational interest for the public. Soils buried beneath the earthwork and in the infill of the ditch will provide evidence for the construction of the Dyke and the landscape at the time of both construction and abandonment.


The monument includes a section of the earthwork and buried remains of part of the boundary known as Wat's Dyke, which runs for 140m from a point 300m to the south west of Gobowen Station. The remains form an earthwork bank approximately 0.6m high and spread by ploughing to 18m wide at the base. There are slight traces of a ditch, 4m wide on the western side of the bank. This section ends at the point where the remains of the bank and ditch have been truncated by the construction of an embankment for a road and bridge over the A5.

To the north and to the south of this section there are further sections of Wat's Dyke which are the subject of separate schedulings. All fence posts 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Worthington, M, Wat's Dyke, (1993)


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

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