'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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Designer / Design Director

£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn