Offa's Dyke Path
Key information: Offa's Dyke Path
- One of Britain's great long-distance paths, running beside the ditch-and-bank defence built be Offa, the late 8th century King of Mercia, along the ridges of the Welsh border.
- Gorgeous views of rolling hills, farmland and the sculpted treeless ridges of the borderland mountains (British definition).
- Walk between inns and hostels in pretty country villages and towns.
- Drop down to the castles and beautiful ruined monastic buildings of this ancient border countryside.
- Walkopedia rating84
- Natural interest13
- Human interest12
- Negative points0
- Total rating84
- Length: Variable
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
The remarkable Offa's Dyke was built by Offa, king of Mercia, in the late 8th Century as a ditch-and-bank defence against marauding Welsh tribes. It formed a fairly brief frontier between his kingdom and the wild lands to the west.
Offa's Dyke Path follows - not always exactly - the course of the Dyke from the resort of Prestatyn in North Wales to Sedbury Cliff overlooking the Severn Estuary near Chepstow, some 275 kms (177 miles) south.
It is invidious, with a path so consistently beautiful and interesting, to select "best" sections - but Walkopedia never shirks its task, so here goes:
- Walkopedia's favourite walk in the Black Mountains has to be the fantastic Hatterrall Ridge , the long (11 or so miles) ridge from the ancient hill fort above Pandy to Hay Bluff above Hay on Wye. This is the easternmost ridge of the Black Mountains and accordingly has huge views across the green beauties of western England, as well as westward over the beautiful Vale of Ewyas to the range's central ridges. The ridge is both the England-Wales border and possibly the finest stretch of Offa's Dyke Path. You can walk the entire ridge in a longish but not difficult day, or create a circuit (which manages to combine the charming and the dramatic) from tiny Capel-y-Ffin or the atmospheric ruins of Llanthony Priory in the Vale of Ewas, climbing onto Hatterrall Ridge to join Offa's Dyke Path for a way before circuiting back.
- The section from Knighton to Montgomery follows magnificent ridges through the beautiful "mountain" section (British definition); the dyke is at its best here - well preserved, with both the dyke and ditch in a splendid state for much of its course. This is said to be because the Mercian capital of Tamworth (north-east of Birmingham) was east of here and this was an area [of easy access along] the ridge paths.
- The high, moorland ridge near Kington has wonderful views over the surrounding countryside. Popular and can get a bit crowded.
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Other accounts: share your experiences
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The Offa's Dyke Path - Cicerone
A very good chapter in The National Trust Book of Long Walks in England, Scotland and Wales by Adam Nicholson (now out of print)
UK Ordinance Survey maps cover the whole route.
Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk. An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
May to September (but can be beautiful and empty at other times of year
At the damp end of the British climate: can be wonderful but come prepared for unpredictable weather, especially in the Black Mountians.
Depends on which section you want to walk.
No permits are needed to do this walk.
Around 170+ miles long, well marked, mapped and documented. All of it is fine walking. (We will be expanding on the best sections over time.)
Possible problems, health, other warnings
Weather: lots of it rain, cold and wind are possible at any time of year. Come prepared.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to Important information for further important information.
Get appropriate insurance.
Guided or independent?
While most people do this walk independently, you can have your bags carried between night stops.
Expedition organizers include:
· Sherpa Expeditions www.sherpa-walking-holidays.co.uk
· Celtic Trail Walking Holidays www.offasdyke.com
· Explore Britain tours www.xplorebritain.com
There are hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts and campsites along all the route, as well as some Landmark Trust edifices.
· The Riverside Inn at Aymestry (www.riversideinn.org) is 25 minutes drive from some of the best sections, around Knighton; it is pleasant with good food, and reasonable value.
· Springhill Farm, near Clun: B&B and camping in a delightful ridge site. 01588 640 337
We will be expanding this section over time. In the meantime, Add a comment
Other information and tips
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
http://www.walkingenglishman.com/ldp/offasdykepath.htm - this provides links to websites both for practical information and for description and photos from other walkers.
Other things to do in the area
Wye Valley walks.
Brecon Beacons and Black Mountain walks.
Castles, monasteries and abbey ruins in spectacular settings
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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