This post is about one of the best sections to view Wat’s Dyke.
If you walk south in Erddig Park, one can follow the line of Wat’s Dyke for 4 kilometres as it navigates the east side of the Black Brook and then upslope to Pentre-clawdd and on to Wynnstay Park.
To the east in the parkland and farmland one can see surviving traces of medieval ridge-and-furrow agriculture. Following the Dyke, one can see one of the best sections surviving of this early 9th-century linear earthwork: a frontier mechanism of the Mercian kingdom to control and manage the movement of people, animals and resources through its western approaches and borderlands.
You can park at Erddig and walk south toward Middle Sontley Farm following the Wat’s Dyke Way. In doing so, you have an opportunity as far as Hafod Wood to see the Dyke from its front and its back.
Note: I’ll discuss the dyke south of Erddig Hall in the Park in a separate blog-post. Here, I’m discussing tghe section from Bryn Goleu to Middle Sontley Farm.
Fox gives this section very limited treatment, but does point out that there is a main alignment leading to One Oak Cottage from Bryn Goleu, with subtle local alignments – both sinuous and straight, that adapt to minor crestlines.
What is fabulous is that the modern field boundary helps us to see how the Dyke establishes this long alignment having projected outsides to overlook the Black Brook at the Rookery.
South of Bryn Goleu, the hedge hasn’t been maintained, allowing a good sense of the scale of the bank and ditch.
At the stream, one can see how the modern field gate has led to significant erosion from animals, associated with the passage of the stream.
Traces of the fleeces of the culprits of erosion are on the barbed wire for all to see!
In the field south of the small stream crossed by the Dyke, the Dyke’s ditch has been re-cut for field drainage and the bank is hidden within a hedge.
Another feature here is evidence of conservation of the Dyke: branches lain to put off animals and walkers.
In summary, the section immediately south of Erddig Park serves as a really useful first-introduction to Wat’s Dyke for the uninitiated, particularly revealing the scale of its V-shaped ditch.