Offa's Dyke: section in Chapelhouse Wood, 240m west of the Recreation Ground
- 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 23-Sep-2020 at 20:52:03.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Forest of Dean (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- ST 53628 95119
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 240m west of the Recreation Ground survives well. The banks will have preserved part of the original ground surface, predating the construction of the monument and, along with the ditch to the west and the quarries to the east, 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 material used.
The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a section of Offa's
Dyke in Chapelhouse Wood, 240m west of the Recreation Ground. 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 376m long section, the Dyke is visible as a bank with a ditch and
counterscarp bank to the west and shallow quarry pits to the east. The bank is
between 10m and 12m wide at its base and stands to a maximum height of 1.6m on
its western face and 0.5m on its eastern face. To the west of the bank is a
ditch, approximately 1m wide and up to 0.4m deep. The ditch is only visible at
the southern end of the section, the stretch to the north having become
infilled over time. It will, however, survive as a buried feature. To the west
of the ditch is a counterscarp bank, also only visible at the southern end of
the section, which is about 4m wide and 0.4m high. To the east of the main
bank, a contiguous row of quarry pits is visible, surviving to a maximum
depth of 1.5m and to a width of 6m.
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