Wat's Dyke: 180m long section, 170m east of Pentre-wern


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020560

Date first listed: 14-Jun-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Mar-2002


Ordnance survey map of Wat's Dyke: 180m long section, 170m east of Pentre-wern
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 13:48:41.


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

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Selattyn and Gobowen

National Grid Reference: SJ 30122 32898


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Wat's Dyke is a linear earthwork 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 construction has not been accurately determined, but it is considered that it was built at an earlier date than the parallel late 8th century Offa's Dyke, although it fulfilled the same purpose. The Dyke forms a boundary between lands firmly in conrol 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 180m long section of Wat's Dyke, 170m east of Pentre-wern Farm is well-preserved despite ploughing in the past and partial truncation by the construction of the A5 in 1987. 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. Buried soils beneath the bank 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.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a section of the earthwork and buried remains of part of the boundary known as Wat's Dyke. This section runs for about 130m from the south side of the embankment of the road which connects the B6905 to Pentre Dafydd, southwards to the eastern hedge for the A5. The Dyke survives as a bank, up to 0.6m high, with slight traces of a ditch to the west. The remains are about 23m wide in this section. At either end the remains are truncated by the construction of both the A5 and the embankment carrying the B6905 on a bridge over it.

To the north and the south of this section are further sections of Wat's Dyke which are the subject of separate schedulings.

All fence posts and stiles 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. 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: 33866

Legacy System: RSM


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

End of official listing