The final destination on the HI6001 – Archaeology and Contemporary Society – field trip this week was the fabulously preserved section of Offa’s Dyke south of Bronygarth, where the linear earthwork navigates the slopes on the south side of the Glyn Ceiriog.
Stopping the bus, we only got a short visit to a small section, but it was sufficient to show the students something of the scale of the monument in this location: both bank and its ditch. I’ve recently posted in detail about this here and I’ve also posted about it before here. I also mused on the presence of a boot hanging from the post of a stile.
The main reason for posting on this again here is to consider:
- the dyke part of a series: to close the loop in reporting on this particular field trip;
- a first-time visit with students: to show a picture of my students actually getting to see this (usually it’s a long walk to get to this location from the nearest easy parking, but we had our bus driver stop in the lane for a short while so we could complete this visit);
- the dyke’s scale and design: to point out the scale of the ditch in particular, where so often it isn’t preserved to this depth;
- the visual envelope of the dyke: to point out again how the dyke looks uphill and has a limited prospect in this location but amazing long-distant views back over (‘Mercian’) territory it was defending and even out over Cheshire towards Lancashire (‘Northumbria’);
- the dyke’s positioning: indicate how the monument descends and thus cuts across a major river-valley
- the dyke’s conservation: to show its good survival when incorporated into a field boundary, but also to note the badger-damage to the earthwork;
- surrounding land-use: how ploughed farmland encroaches right up to the back of the monument;
- the use of the linear earthwork for leisure activities: to show another location where the Offa’s Dyke Path navigates the back-side of the monument;
- present-day interactions from visitors: to point out the graffiti on beech trees;
- aesthetics: take note of the wonderful autumnal colours as the sun set on our successful field trip!