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  Vortigern Studies > Wansdyke

Welcome to Vortigern Studies!

Welcome to Wansdyke Project 21, a unique web-based study which focuses on the enigmatic, least-known Dark Ages earthwork, known as Wansdyke. Edited by Robert M. Vermaat, it features narrative histories, original source documents and important texts, extensive bibliographies, reading lists, informative articles by guest writers, maps, polls and more.
Wansdyke Project 21 is part of Vortigern Studies, which has the internet's most comprehensive treatment of Britain's history from the end of the Roman era to Arthurian times.

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Welcome and Greetings!

Welcome and Greetings! You have reached the Wansdyke Project 21 Homepage.

A short obituary of Wansdyke expert Keith S. Gardner, who sadly passed away on January 24th, 2008.

Wansdyke Project 21, which is launched through this website, has the aim to support the preservation of the ancient monument known as Wansdyke. This earthwork is severely threathened in some places by modern activities such as building and agriculture, and may be lost if no action is taken to schedule more parts of it. Wansdyke Project 21 aims to endorse this by making it better known to the general public by discussing all aspects of this unique Dark Ages earthwork.

Where's Wansdyke?
Where's Wansdyke? Click the dot.

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.

Wansdyke Path. Another, long-term aim of this project is the completion of a long-distance footpath from Maes Knoll near Bristol to Savernake Forest. The part of Wansdyke known as East Wansdyke has for some time been accessed by a beautiful footpath known as the Wansdyke Path. An extension of this footpath from Morgan's Hill westwards to Bath, and then across West Wansdyke to Bristol, would greatly benefit the preservation of this unique monument, as well as present new opportunities to walkers.

Join in! Anyone who has become interested is invited to join this project. Are you a rambler, a rider or a cyclist? Please contact me, and we can work out how you can support this project! Several contributors have written a short report of their visit, while some of their pictures can be admired at the Wansdyke Photo-Album.


Wansdyke in the s
Bristol farmers won't budge for millions
The Wansdyke Mystery

Burial Mound preserved for Future
Graves from Saxon Warriors found
Police tackle Off-road motorcyclists and fly- tippers

  Wansdyke West to East
Wansdyke described from beginnings at Maes Knoll hillfort south of Bristol, to its ending near the fringes of Savernake Forest south of Marlborough. Each of the 10 sections comes with many pictures and a set of directions for each section.
Wansdyke West to East
  Wansdyke Maps
From old 19th-century Parish maps from Somerset and Wiltshire, to an overview of the total course of Wansdyke by satellite pictures and a revolving panoramic map! These maps show details of Wansdyke such as individual sarsen stones.
Maps of Wansdyke
  Wansdyke Articles
Here you'll find the more scholarly articles and interviews with experts about Wansdyke and other earthworks. Most are brand-new, but I've reprinted some of the older articles about Wansdyke as well.
  Wansdyke Photo-Albums
This section contains the galleries of several contributors to this site, as well as pictures and drawings I've collected for this website. Not just the images used throughout the rest of the site, but many, many more not seen before.
Wansdyke Photo-Album
  Wansdyke Visits
Reports and pictures of all visits of the editor to Wansdyke during the summers of 1989, 1992, 1994 and 1996. Reports from other contributors from 1996 to today, which are intended as field-walk reports. Stocked with pictures!
Visits to Wansdyke
  Wansdyke Video Fragments
Several stunningly beautiful aerial views of most parts of East Wansdyke, all courtesy of Pete Glastonbury, who flew over it in his ultralight aircraft. (large files: 2.8 to 8.2 Mb).
Wansdyke Videos from the air
  Wansdyke Screensavers
Two very beautiful 360 degrees panoramic views of Wansdyke. The first is of Tan Hill, the second of West Woods, both courtesy of Pete Glastonbury. (1.377 and 2.332 kB).
Wansdyke Screensavers

Wansdyke- links
Links to many other sites about Wansdyke. Also, more links to other earthworks: Bokerley Dyke, Car Dyke, Devil's Ditch(es), Fleam Dyke, Grey Ditch, Grim's Ditch, Offa's Dyke, and Wat's Dyke.

Wansdyke Links


Wansdyke Project 21 is associated with the


VortigernStudies and Wansdyke Project 21 are copyright Robert Vermaat 1999-2010.
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