Offa's Dyke: section 430m north east of Middle Knuck Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020896

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1933

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Apr-2004


Ordnance survey map of Offa's Dyke: section 430m north east of Middle Knuck Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 13:37:45.


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

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Mainstone

National Grid Reference: SO 26217 86974


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

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 kingdoms. 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 protection.

The section of Offa's Dyke 430m north east of Middle Knuck Farm survives well, particularly in the section which runs through Churchtown Wood, with the bank standing up to 3m high, with a well-defined ditch and counterscarp bank. The Dyke will preserve information about its construction, such as marking out trenches, providing insights into its use and the skills of the people who built it. Artefactual evidence will also provide information about the Dyke's changing use over time. In addition, environmental evidence such as pollen and seeds within the fills of the ditch and in the buried ground surface below the bank will provide evidence of farming practices and the local landscape. This section is accessible to the public and as such is a valuable recreational and educational resource.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a section of the linear boundary known as Offa's Dyke 430m north east of Middle Knuck Farm. Offa's Dyke generally consists of a bank, up to 3.5m high, with an intermittent parallel ditch and quarry pits in places. It was strengthened in some areas by additional earthworks, namely a berm between the bank and ditch and a counterscarp bank on the outer lip of the ditch.

In this section the Dyke runs for some 860m from a point 80m south of Churchtown Cottage to the entrance to Middle Knuck Farm. Immediately to the north of this section there is an 80m gap in the Dyke on the valley floor at Churchtown where the earthworks have been largely destroyed and are not, therefore, included in the scheduling. The Dyke was last recorded in this area by Sir Cyril Fox in 1928.

At the northern end of the section the Dyke runs uphill as far as the road which crosses Knuck Bank. Throughout this section the bank is about 3m high with a well defined ditch and counterscarp bank. The road turns at this point to follow the eastern edge of the bank for 130m before cutting through the Dyke and continuing westwards.

Beyond the road, Offa's Dyke continues southwards to the gateway at Middle Knuck Farm. The earthworks are 24m wide on average throughout this southern section.

Further sections of Offa's Dyke approximately 180m to the north and 6m to the south of the monument are the subject of separate schedulings.

All fence posts and stiles and the surface of the road 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.


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

Legacy System number: 32596

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Fox, C, Offa's Dyke, (1955), 157
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 18
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 19

End of official listing