Up and down the length of Offa’s Dyke, Britain’s longest monument is communicated via different heritage signs, some raised by the Offa’s Dyke Path and Association, others by local initiative. There are also innumerable road-names and place-names alluding to the Dyke along its course. These, together with footpath signs where they coincide with the monument, constitute the present-day public ‘commemoration’ of this eighth-century monument.
I’ve addressed these ‘contemporary archaeology of heritage’ features before on this blog before, including:
- a bench to Offa at Knighton;
- signs at Hawthorn Hill;
- the Craignant tower;
- The Sir Richard Green Price monument;
- signs along the Dyke;
- memorials on Herrock Hill;
- signs from Panpunton to Cwm-sanahan Hill
- signs at Selattyn
- Knighton commemoration of Offa’s Dyke Path and the Park;
- the slow decline of heritage boards at Ruabon;
- signs in the Wye Valley.
This gave me the opportunity to compile photographs of more material culture of the dyke relating to the path.
In addition to the signs, stiles and kissing I witnessed three key additional initiatives to signs linked to Offa’s Dyke and the Offa’s Dyke Path.
First, I spotted a private house named in relation to Offa’s Dyke.
Second, I witnessed the coincidence of the Dyke with conflict commemoration: a First World War centenary trail that runs, for s stretch, along the Dyke.
Third, I saw a local initiative by the Trefonen Rural Protection Group to explain the Dyke, including a faded but useful cross-section visual of the monument. Called ‘a view through time’, it takes the panorama visible from the Offa’s Dyke Path as it runs parallel, but west and uphill, of the Dyke.
All these examples show the interleaving manners in which private individuals and local groups serve to mark and commemorate the Dyke and integrate the dyke into the heritage of the locality more broadly. These are good initiatives indeed, allowing the Dyke to join a rhizome of other stories of place and people over the longer term, from prehistory to the present.