In a previous post I addressed one aspect of this stretch of Offa’s Dyke: the fact that the Rhos branchline crosses and buries Britain’s longest monument. Here I return to a stretch I discussed, between Cadwgan Hall (to the north) and Pentrebychan Hall (now the crematorium, to the south), in Wrexham. Here, the Dyke’s bank is striking and large at multiple locations, but there are minor breaks, the interruption by the 19th-century Rhos branch line, and the Dyke is cut by the Bronwylfa Road. There is also destruction caused by farm entrances and the ditch is badly damaged. It crosses undulating ground here, following a relatively subtle contour with short views downslop to the west.
There are three sections of note here, which Sir Cyril Fox (1955: 49) only very briefly addresses. Subsequent studies have afforded no specific attention to this part of the Dyke in any regard. Despite this, I would suggest they are a useful stretch to consider, since the Dyke here is navigating relatively easy terrain: neither following a significant hill or ridge, nor a valley. In this relatively ‘easy’ country, one can still gain a full sense of how the monument was carefully positioned to take advantage of the topography and command modest but sustained views westwards.
First, and southernmost, the footpath of the Offa’s Dyke path follows the ditch, allowing an appreciation of the sizeable bank covered with mature trees.
Second, north of the Bronwylfa Road the Dyke is within a field boundary. Fox regards as ‘very fine and with a steep scarp’ in at least one place, presumably referring to the bank, since the ditch is nearly gone, apart from a field ditch re-cutting its line. As it approaches the railway embankment, it is severely denuded and briefly lost at a field gate.
Finally, north of the railway embankment, again the Dyke survives in a field boundary. This section enjoys open views westwards approaching Cadwgan Hall. The Dyke is impressive indeed and topped by trees, even if the ditch has nearly completely gone. Again, it is broken by field gates.
Park at the crematorium, and this is a really smart short walk to see Offa’s Dyke with Wrexham County Borough Council public footpath signs to mark the route. It is an example of important stretches of Offa’s Dyke that lie beyond the National Trail’s route, which departs from the line of the Dyke north of the River Dee.
Fox, C. 1955. Offa’s Dyke. London: British Academy.