Wat's Dyke, 490m long section, immediately north and south of Preeshenelle Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020615

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1937

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Apr-2002


Ordnance survey map of Wat's Dyke, 490m long section, immediately north and south of Preeshenelle Bridge
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Oct-2018 at 00:48:01.


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

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Selattyn and Gobowen

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Martin's

National Grid Reference: SJ 30791 35599, SJ 30873 35853


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

Reasons for Designation

Wat's Dyke is a linear earthwork boundary 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 borders between England and Wales, and it is clear that both dykes 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 8th century Offa's Dyke, although it fulfilled the same purpose. The Dyke forms a boundary between lands firmly in control of the 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 (land under a different system of government) at the time of the Domesday records. This suggests that the Dyke 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 490m long section of Wat's Dyke immediately north and south of Preeshenlle Bridge, survives well and has a high public profile since a footpath follows the line of the remains. It will provide a source for recreational enjoyment and educational interest for the community. Soils buried beneath the bank and in the bottom of the infilled ditch will provide evidence for the construction of the Dyke and the management of the land at the time it was built.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of part of the boundary known as Wat's Dyke. This section is 490m long and is in two areas of protection, separated by the Shropshire Union Canal. The Dyke consists of a steep-sided bank, up to 2m high, with a ditch to the west.

In the area to the south of the canal there is a trackway running along the line of the ditch with a modern drainage ditch on its western edge. At the north end of this section a canal bridge has been constructed, making use of the bank for its abutments on each side of the canal, interrupting the course of the Dyke for about 8m. In the area north of the canal, the Dyke continues for 40m as a well-defined bank, up to 2.5m high, and ditch, up to 4m wide, before becoming a vestigial bank reused as a field boundary. This section terminates at the farm track and brook beside it 130m south of Esgob Mill. To the north and south of this section there are further sections of Wat's Dyke which are the subject of separate schedulings.

All fence posts, stiles, the brick and stonework of the canal bridge, canal banks and towpath, 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: 33872

Legacy System: RSM


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

End of official listing