Offa's Dyke: section in Lippets Grove, 680m WSW of Beeches Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 02:30:03.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Forest of Dean (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SO 54251 00324
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 in Lippets Grove, 680m WSW of Beeches Farm, survives well, and illustrates the use of natural topography to enhance the form and visibility of the Dyke. The bank will have preserved part of the original ground surface, predating the construction of the monument, and along with the berm, ditch and counterscarp bank to the north and west, and the quarries to the east and south, 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 constructed. The bank 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 a section of Offa's
Dyke, 680m WSW of Beeches Farm in Lippets Grove. This section of the Dyke
is in the care of the Secretary of State. Offa's Dyke generally consists
of a bank up to 3.5m high with an intermittent ditch to the west and
quarry pits 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 lip of the ditch.
In this section the Dyke turns from its usual alignment to run for some 748m east-west before turning to the south east. It is visible as a bank with a berm, ditch and counterscarp bank to the north and west and quarry pits to the south and east. The bank is about 12m wide at its base and stands to a maximum height of 5.1m on its north and west faces and 1.4m on its south and east faces. Where the eastern portion of the Dyke runs along the top of a steep slope, a berm, approximately 2m wide, abuts the north western face of the bank. Where the slope becomes less steep, there is a ditch, approximately 3m wide and up to 0.7m deep to the west of the bank, while to the west of the ditch is a counterscarp bank which stands to a height of 0.7m. A series of contiguous quarry pits lie to the south and east of the main bank along its entire length. These are up to 0.7m deep and between 3m and 7m wide.
The Dyke follows the edge of the plateau to the end of the spur at Lippets Grove, making maximum use of the natural topography, which would have made the Dyke easily visible from the west bank of the River Wye. The quarries in this area also appear to have been reused after the construction of the Dyke, as many large, cut stones and loose rocks are visible within the quarry pits.
There is a gap in the line of the Dyke at Ordnance Survey NGR SO54080011, which is believed to have been cut during the last 200 years. An excavation through this gap in 1986 revealed a deposit, which may have been the base of the bank. The western ditch, which had become infilled, was also identified.
All fence posts and sign 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)
Wills, J, 'Archaeological Review' in Archaeological Review for 1985, , Vol. 104, (1986), 245
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