Offa's Dyke: section 890m north west and 320m west of Little Selley


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020903

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1933

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Apr-2004


Ordnance survey map of Offa's Dyke: section 890m north west and 320m west of Little Selley
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Llanfair Waterdine

National Grid Reference: SO 25852 78061, SO 26244 77230


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.

This section of Offa's Dyke 890m north west and 320m west of Little Selley survives well, despite some erosion by agriculture in places. The remains are visually impressive and provide good evidence for the methods of construction and building materials used, demonstrating the positioning of the line of the defences to take advantage of the topography and provide an unobstructed overview of the landscape. The bank will have preserved buried evidence for its layout and construction, and the soils at the bottom of the ditch will contain evidence for the landscape at the time of its construction in the form of pollens and seeds. In addition, the whole stretch is accessible to the public and so will provide a valuable resource for recreation and education in the community.


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, 890m north west and 320m west of Little Selley. 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 places 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 about 1.5km from the crest of Llanfair Hill down to Garbett Hall and lies within two separate areas of protection. In this section, the Dyke was strongly built, and the bank rises to 3m high in places. At the northern end a metalled road has removed part of the Dyke, although the base of the bank and ditch will survive as buried features and are, therefore, included in the scheduling. The earthworks run southwards from this point for 400m and are visible as a high bank and V-cut ditch. The counterscarp has been eroded by ploughing but is visible as a slight bank. Beyond a gap, believed to be modern, a small storage yard has been built into the eastern side of the bank, removing about 1m from the lower slope. Despite this, the base of the bank will survive as a buried feature and is included in the scheduling. For the remainder of this section, the bank and ditch together with the counterscarp bank are well-preserved for a further 550m to the point where a trackway runs through the Dyke, connecting fields on either side. The track has removed all archaeological features in this area, and it is not, therefore included in the scheduling. Within the second area of protection the Dyke is visible as a bank and ditch with a well-preserved counterscarp bank which runs for 600m south to Garbett Hall. In this section the crest of the bank is lower than in sections to the north, and in the final 200m the ditch has been deepened by a small stream following its line as far as the farm. At the southern end of this section a stone-built barn built on the line of the bank has removed all traces of the Dyke and the remains are no longer visible in the steep slope from the barn down to the roadway which passes the farm to the south. There are a number of gaps in the earthworks in this section, but the bank and ditch in these areas will survive as buried features and are included in the scheduling. Immediately to the north and 40m to the south are further sections of Offa's Dyke which are the subject of separate schedulings. All fence posts, stiles, gates and modern road surfaces 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: 32604

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 18

End of official listing