Offa’s Dyke at Discoed

Link to French translationOffa’s Dyke at Discoed

This section of the Offa’s Dyke Path is one of the best places along the entire route to appreciate the form and scale of the defence.

The dyke was created in the 8th century by King Offa to defend his kingdom of Mercia from Welsh attacks. The dyke ran for 240km “from sea to sea”, between Treuddyn, near Wrexham, and Sedbury, Gloucestershire. It was the first attempt to mark a fixed border between England and Wales.

The dyke comprised a bank and a parallel ditch immediately to the west. In places the bank rises 7.6 metres above the base of the ditch. Nobody knows exactly how the dyke looked when new, but archaeological excavations have suggested the bank’s western side was almost vertical and covered with turf. A fence or wall may have run along the top of the bank.

The dyke seems to have been built in imposing locations in the landscape, perhaps to maximise its deterrent effect and give Offa’s men unobstructed views into Wales. Much of the dyke is still visible, despite 12 centuries of human activity since its construction. Today it’s recognised as Britain’s longest ancient monument.

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