Posted: May 9, 2003
Heres a cool photo Mr. Cope sent us of Anne and I on the Wansdyke during west winds...
What is Wansdyke? Wansdyke is a long ditch and bank, also known as a linear defensive earthwork - this is the technical term. Wansdyke is dated to the Dark Ages, roughly between 400 and 700 AD. It runs from the Avon valley south of Bristol to Savernake Forest near Marlborough in Wiltshire. Maybe it is not as familiar to many people as Offa's Dyke or Hadrian's Wall, yet it is one of the largest linear earthworks in the UK.
Wansdyke was originally a large bank with a deep ditch in front, and runs in an east-west alignment, clearly pointing to a danger from the north. What was this danger? Who were the builders? The name points to the Saxon god Woden, but that does not mean that it was pagan Anglo-Saxons who actually built it. the name might mean it was only dedicated to Woden by pagan Saxons, or that it was already forgotten who the real builders were. Archaeological research now seems to point to a construction date in the 5th century.
(from Wansdyke homepage by Robert Vermaat)