'Like driving a road through Stonehenge': Stretch of historic Offa's Dyke flattened

Police investigate after bulldozer rips through eighth century monument

A 50-yard stretch of Offa’s Dyke, which has been left undisturbed for 1,200 years, has been flattened with a bulldozer in a move described by experts as similar to 'driving a road through Stonehenge'.

The 8th Century monument runs for 82 miles along the border between England and Wales and is a Unesco World Heritage site with protected status.

Police, along with Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environment service, are now investigating claims that a section of the dyke was flattened by a large digger clearing scrub and weeds near to the A5 between Llangollen and Chirk.

One witness told the Daily Mail: "I don’t think the men who cleared the hedge and weeds realised the significance of what they were doing.

"A lady from Cadw who came to inspect it... said what they had done was like driving a road through Stonehenge."

It's a criminal offence to damage Offa's Dyke under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. Anyone who is found to have damaged the 8th century monument can face a £5,000 fine or a six month jail sentence.

Jim Saunders of the Offa’s Dyke Association said: "We had a report that quite a well-preserved part of the dyke had been damaged by the new landowner."

"I have been living and working with Offa's Dyke for 25 years and if the reports I have had are correct then this is the worst example of destruction of the Ancient Monument that I can recall."

According to reports the owner of the field claimed he had no idea that the site was of historic importance saying he had "lived here all my life and I've never heard of Offa's Dyke."

Offa was the King of Mercia from 757 until his death in July 796. His kingdom encompassed the area between the Trent/Mersey rivers in the North to the Thames Valley in the South, and from the Welsh border in the West to the Fens in the East. He also at one point controlled Kent, East Anglia and Lincoln.

Offa's Dyke is a linear earthwork which follows the English/Welsh border. It has a ditch and rampart and runs for 82 miles along the border between England and Wales.

The section believed to have been damaged is near to the famous Pontcysyllte aqueduct, which is a 126ft canal boat crossing high above the River Dee in the Vale of Llangollen, north Wales.

A spokesperson for Cadw said: "We are aware of the reported damage to a section of Offa's Dyke which is a nationally important ancient monument protected by law. 

An investigation is currently underway to determine whether or not an offence has been committed. The police have been informed."

In October of last year Lonely Planet named Offa's Dyke one of the 10 best wall walks in the world alongside the Great Wall of China, the 17th century walls of Quebec City and the Berlin Wall.

A North Wales Police spokesman said: “We have been made aware by Cadw and are waiting for their assessment.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Recruitment Genius: Invoicing Clerk

£14500 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are contractors to...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Administrator / Marketing Assistant

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of packag...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy