08/11/2023 - Permalink

Winter works to be carried out along Offa’s Dyke in Powys

Related topics: Leisure, culture and heritage / Partner organisations

News from our partners: Offa’s Dyke Conservation Project

Building on previous work throughout the Marches, the Offa’s Dyke Conservation Project (ODCP) will be starting works on two sections of Britain’s longest archaeological earthwork this winter – at Drewin Farm, near Churchstoke, and at Burfa Farm near Presteigne.

After a series of ecology surveys and advice from specialists, skilled local contractors have been invited to quote for the challenging and delicate tasks at hand to improve the condition of these lengthy stretches of the monument, the adjoining National Trail, and the natural environment through which they run.

Both farms will see a mixture of tree surgery, scrub reduction, coppicing, and access improvements through new gates and signage. Walkers will notice a number of different markings made on various trees on the Dyke to indicate planned work; some marks indicate “do not touch” and might be spotted on a number of impressive veteran and mature trees. The goal is to encourage a dense grass sward across Offa’s Dyke, with the roots knitting the soil together. Above, there will be a light canopy with occasional spectacular oak or ash trees, and patches of scrub or understorey like hazel or elder.

Another feature common to both sections of monument are overgrown hedge lines on the lower counterscarp bank, beyond the main ditch. These hedges will be pruned or coppiced, resulting in a dramatic visual change, but roots will remain intact and recovery growth is fast and strong.

The National Trail will be temporarily closed and diverted for safety reasons during the these works – look out for official notices or staff on-location. Please keep dogs under close control at all times. Both sections of Trail are scheduled to re-open on slightly modified, improved routes both to protect the ancient earthwork and to make walking along it safer.

Every stretch of Offa’s Dyke has different conservation needs, and the ODCP is delivering a series of bespoke demonstrator projects with the overall purpose of ‘passing Offa’s Dyke on to the next generation, better understood and in better condition’.