AN ICONIC piece of 1,200-year-old history was summarily destroyed last week when a 50-yard section of Offa’s Dyke near Chirk was flattened by a bulldozer.
Cadw, the Welsh heritage board, working with police, has put a ‘stop notice’ on groundwork which was being carried out on private land near Plas Offa on the A5 and has launched an investigation. It has warned that anyone found to have damaged the dyke could face up to two years in prison or a heavy fine.
North Wales Police spokesman Michael McGivern confirmed their involvement.
“Cadw are looking into the matter and will report back to us,” he said.
Damage to the World Heritage site has shocked the border community and experts have described the actions as “like driving a road through Stonehenge”.
Chirk Community Council chairman Frank Hemmings said he had heard it described as ‘mindless vandalism’.
“I have been up there and it is far worse than I thought. I can’t really understand how someone could do it without realising what they were doing. It is obvious. It is a pretty obvious structure when you look at it,” he added.
In a statement 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.”
Jim Saunders from the Offa’s Dyke Association said he was horrified.
“It is very sad. It is a 1,200-year-old monument – you can’t put it back. People are nibbling away at the dyke all the time. The ancient monument isn’t going to get any better.”
The dyke runs from Treuddyn (in north east Wales) to Sedbury Cliffs (on the Severn estuary, in southern Gloucestershire) and is believed to have been constructed by the Anglo Saxon King Offa in the 8th century.
Offa’s Dyke path, which takes walkers from Prestatyn to Chepstow, runs alongside the dyke for some stretches of its 168-mile journey.