Offa's Dyke: section 475m north east of Nether Skyborry


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020907

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1933

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Apr-2004


Ordnance survey map of Offa's Dyke: section 475m north east of Nether Skyborry
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 13:55:20.


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

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Llanfair Waterdine

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Stowe

National Grid Reference: SO 27983 74118


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 475m north east of Nether Skyborry survives well as a representative stretch of the earthwork in south Shropshire. This section of the Dyke appears to have been originally constructed on a smaller scale than sections to the north and may, therefore, provide evidence of different construction techniques employed along the length of the Dyke. The bank will have preserved part of the original ground surface, predating the construction of the monument and, along with the infill of the ditch, 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. In addition, the parish boundary between Llanfair Waterdine and Stowe runs along the line of the southern half of the Dyke, perpetuating its role as a demarcation boundary since the early medieval period.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a section of the linear boundary known as Offa's Dyke, 475m north east of Nether Skyborry. 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 about 1.8km from a point 350m east of Bryney across the shoulder of Panpunton Hill to Kinsley Wood, where the remains are no longer visible. In the northern quarter the Dyke is visible as a well-defined bank, up to 2.8m high, with a shallow ditch and traces of a counterscarp bank to the west. Approximately 300m from the north end of this section, there is a wide trackway through the Dyke. Beyond this, the Dyke continues for some 1.5km southwards. Here the Dyke is lower and in places is very slight. The ditch has been largely infilled and reduced by ploughing, and the counterscarp is only faintly visible as a slight earthwork. The ditch and counterscarp bank will survive as buried features, however, and are included in the scheduling. Immediately to the north, and across the present Welsh border in Powys are further sections of Offa's Dyke which are the subject of separate schedulings. All fence posts and stiles 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: 32608

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Fox, C, Offa's Dyke, (1955), 138
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 18

End of official listing