What is the Offa’s Dyke Path
For 177 miles, from Prestatyn in the North of Wales to Chepstow in the South, the Offa’s Dyke Path winds along the English-Welsh border, roughly following the line of the 1200year-old frontier earthwork for which it is named. This magnificent long-distance footpath ranges over terrain as diverse as any you will find in Britain.
The Border Country is the land of Merlin and Arthur, a land of history and legend, from which sprung Owain Glyndwr and the Lord of the Rings. To journey through it on foot is the finest way to discover one of Britain’s best kept secrets.
How difficult is the Offa’s Dyke Path?
Do not be decieved into thinking this is an easy walk. A level of fitness and walking competence is required for most section’s of the Offa’s Dyke Path. If you wish to complete the walk in a fortnight, it requires an average of 15miles a day, that’s about 5-7hours of walking every day. That said, anyone possessing basic outdoor competence should find themselves coping perfectly well even with challenging sections but don’t underestimate any part of the route, it is not a doddle.
How long do you need to walk the Offa’s Dyke Path?
This is the great imponderable. Can the path be walked from end to end in a fortnight’s holiday? The answer is yes, definately, but a lot will depend on your travelling time. If you have just 14 days but need two of those for the journey to and from the trail, you’ll need to get a move on and it won’t leave you much time to stop and stare. No time to visit Chirk Castle, see Llangollen, call in at the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton or shop for second hand books in Hay on Wye. This is good country and it deserves more than a hurried glance. The walk will be more enjoyable if you can spare a full 14 days walking, plus a day or two for travelling to and from home. If you don’t have that time, you could undertake the walk over several shorter-trips, gradually accumulating the miles. Another option is to sample the highlights of the route on day walks and weekend trips.
Want someone to organise your trip for you?
For walkers wanting to make their holiday as easy and trouble-free as possible there are specialist companies offering a range of services from baggage carrying and/or accommodation bookings to self-guided or fully inclusive tours. One such company based in Hay on Wye is Drover Holidays.
Day Walks from Hay on Wye
Hay on Wye to Newchurch. North along the Wye at first then through the mysterious glade of Bettws Dingle, this 6.5mile ramble gives a taste of the countryside which Francis Kilvert writes about in his diary, including the chance to see Emmeline’s Grave at the pretty church of Newchurch. Hay on Wye is fairly well served by buses but you would probably have to get a taxi back to Hay on Wye from Newchurch.
Weekend Walks from Hay on Wye
Kington to Pandy. An outstanding 32mile outing in classis Dyke Country. Start by crossing the magnificent Hergest Ridge, stop for the night in the fascinating book-town of Hay on Wye, then continue along the grand sweep of the Hatterrall Ridge the next day. Both ends can be reached by bus.
Hay on Wye to Monmouth. This is a great weekend leg-stretcher of 34miles with high level walking along the spine of the Black Mountains, with a night in Pandy, following by a day wending through the by-ways of the Welsh Marches. On the way you pass lovely villages, country inns and the splendid ruin of the once-mighty White Castle. Hay on Wye and Monmouth are served by buses though services to Hay on Wye are more limited.
Sources of furthur information
- The National Trail Website
- Offa’s Dyke Association
- Backpackers Club
- The Long Distance Walker’s Association
Taken from the Trailblazer – Offa’s Dyke Path Book