Offa’s Dyke Conference, Saturday 15th September 2018

Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust and the Offa’s Dyke Collabatory invite you to a one day conference event, held at the Marches School, Oswestry, on Saturday September 15th. 

This exciting and informative symposium, organised by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, will feature perspectives from field archaeologists, academics, local history societies, enthusiasts, and many more. With talks on historical and archaeological aspects of these important border features, updates on recent excavation work, and discussions from conservation and heritage groups, this is a day not to be missed!

There are free tables or display spaces available for groups and societies who have interests in areas related to Offa’s and Wat’s Dyke, related medieval earthworks and sites, and areas surrounding them. Please contact Penelope Foreman, community archaeologist, to book a table.

The talks and discussions will be followed by an opportunity to have a guided tour of the excavation of a section of Offa’s Dyke at Chirk Castle, undertaken by the archaeologists of Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust. Please note delegates must have their own transport to Chirk Castle, and though access to the excavation site is free, delegates wishing to go on to visit Chirk Castle itself must pay the National Trust entrance fee.

The cost of this event is £5, free for Friends of CPAT, and free for speakers or stall holders. Tea and coffee, as well as a light buffet lunch, will be provided. Please note any dietary requirements when registering for your ticket.

Please reserve your tickets (including free ones) via Eventbrite here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/offas-dyke-day-school-tickets-49175018805

The venue for this event – The Marches School, Morda Road, Oswestry, SY11 2AR – is accessible to all and has modern facilities, step free access, and plenty of free parking on site.

Draft Programme (TBC) 

 

09:00 – 09:35

Arrival and Registration – tea and coffee

 

09:35

Welcome and introduction from Dr Paul Belford, Director at Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust

 

09:45 – 11:15

Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory talks

 

Dave McGlade – Offa’s Dyke Association

Professor Howard Williams – University of Chester

Dr Paul Belford – Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust

Andrew Blake – Wye Valley AONB

Alan Brown – Caer Alyn Archaeology

 

11:15 -11:45

Tea and coffee break, society stalls and displays

 

11:45 – 13:00

Local societies and interest groups roundtable

 

With an introduction by Dr Keith Ray

Niall Heaton – Trefonen Rural Protection Group

Mel Roxby-Mackey and Ian Mackey – CoSMM (Community Stewardship for Mercian Monuments)

Ray Bailey – Offa’s Dyke Collabatory North

Dick Finch – Offa’s Dyke Collabatory Gloucestershire

 

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch and society stalls and displays

 

14:00

Travel onwards to Chirk Castle for a tour of the excavation

For further details, and to book free stall space for local interest groups, history societies, preservation and conservation groups and related organisations, please contact Penelope Foreman at Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust 01938 553670 or penelope.foreman@cpat.org.uk

 

Please share this email with any other individuals or groups who would be interested in this fascinating and educational day.

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A Walkers’ ‘Passport’ for Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail

In spring 2019 the Offa’s Dyke Association (ODA) is launching its walkers’ Passport scheme for Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail. It will operate with the full knowledge and co-operation of the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail Officer and will use the official National Trail acorn branding on its cover.

Trail passports are popular with walkers and they can incentivise people to make repeat visits to an area. In Spain, the Santiago de Compostela has its ‘Pilgrim’s Passport’ while nearer to home the Hadrian’s Wall Path passport, perhaps the most successful of the National Trail passports, has operated very successfully since that trail opened in 2003.

The Offa’s Dyke Path Passport will be a paid for souvenir. For two years now the ODA’s Conservation Fund has drawn from its charitable reserves in order to award grants towards conservation projects along the Dyke and National Trail. The ODA wants to continue to help pay for projects, for example to re-align the Trail and associated path furniture off the upstanding monument onto more level ground alongside, but in order to do so it must first raise the funds. The cessation of its Tourist Information Centre funding from Powys County Council at the end of 2017 means that a new way must be found to bolster the Conservation Fund.

The Hadrian’s Wall Path Passport is a paid for souvenir selling for £5 and it is made very clear on the front cover that the money raised will help to pay for essential conservation works to the Trail and monument. Having set up the scheme myself in 2003 when the Trail opened I can vouch for that. The Hadrian’s Wall Path Passport is also seasonal, between May and October each year, in order to encourage long distance walkers to walk the Trail during what are normally the drier months of the year.

Basically, in winter when soils are saturated the risk of erosion to archaeological earthworks increases and using long term mean soil moisture data published by the Met Office it was clear that the so called dry season on the Wall, when soils are normally in moisture deficit, is between May and October.

It is proposed to run the Offa’s Dyke Path Passport scheme in more or less the same way with a cover charge and on a seasonal basis. Monthly Water Situation Reports, published by Natural Resources Wales and the Environment Agency, graphically illustrate the general soil moisture trends for the Welsh Marches. They suggest that the dry season is more or less May to October but is that window a realistic one for the Offa’s Dyke Path Passport?

On Hadrian’s Wall Path the passport was introduced in 2003 when the Trail opened but Offa’s Dyke Path is almost fifty years old. There may be concerns that the seasonality of the passport might harm accommodation businesses but the Trail has always had its own winter close season and on Hadrian’s Wall Path the passport actually encouraged more repeat visitors. They were the short break walkers who would walk a section of Trail, over say a long weekend, who would return maybe the following spring or summer to walk another section of path and collect more passport stamps. They would eventually complete the collection – and hopefully buy an official souvenir achievers’ badge and certificate.

Proposed Offa’s Dyke Path Passport season

It is proposed that the Passport season operates between Easter and the end of October each year. Of course Easter is either early or late so the proposed season is a trade off between monument conservation and achieving the support of the Trail’s accommodation providers. 

It is also proposed that at some future point in time, when considerably more of the National Trail has been re-aligned away from the upstanding monument, that consideration be given to extending the passport season. That would require another conversation involving all of the individuals and organisations with an interest in the Dyke and Trail.

Comments by 9th September please to oda@offasdyke.org.uk

Dave McGlade   Chairman, Offa’s Dyke Association