Offa's Dyke Path

Offa's Dyke Path (Welsh: Llwybr Clawdd Offa) is a long-distance footpath following closely the Wales–England border. Opened in 1971, it is one of Britain's National Trails and draws walkers from throughout the world. Some of the 177-mile (285 km) route either follows, or keeps close company with, the remnants of Offa's Dyke, an earthwork, most of which was probably constructed in the late 8th century on the orders of Offa of Mercia.

Llwybr clawdd offa
A marker post on Offa's Dyke Path
Offa's Dyke Path
Offa's Dyke Path signpost. - geograph.org.uk - 501938
Offa's Dyke Path signpost in Denbighshire
Length177 mi (285 km)
LocationEnglish/Welsh border
DesignationNational Trail
TrailheadsSedbury51°37′57″N 2°38′54″W / 51.6324°N 2.6482°W
Prestatyn53°20′32″N 3°24′45″W / 53.3423°N 3.4126°W
UseHiking
Hiking details
SeasonAll year

Walking

Black Mountain Top
The summit of the Black Mountain crossed by the Offa's Dyke Path

Traveling south to north, starting by the Severn Estuary at Sedbury, near Chepstow and finishing at Prestatyn on the north coast, the walk will take an average walker roughly 12 days to complete.[1] Following a man-made border and ancient monument, rather than natural features, the dyke path crosses a variety of landscapes. The route crosses the Black Mountains, the Shropshire Hills, including the many ups and downs of the 'Switchback', the Eglwyseg moors north of Llangollen and the Clwydian Range.

It passes through, or close to, the towns of Chepstow, Monmouth, Abergavenny, Hay-on-Wye, Kington, Knighton, Montgomery and then in and around the North Wales towns and villages of Llangollen, Llandegla, Clwyd Gate, Bodfari and Dyserth.

The half-way point of the path is marked by the Offa's Dyke Centre in Knighton (52°20′45″N 3°03′06″W / 52.3458°N 3.0517°WCoordinates: 52°20′45″N 3°03′06″W / 52.3458°N 3.0517°W).[2] There used to be around 600 stiles along the route, but many of these have now been replaced by kissing gates.

a certain vigorous king called Offa......had a great dyke built between Wales and Mercia from sea to sea.
— Asser

Promotion

Various bodies on either side of the border are collaborating on a sustainable tourism partnership, a principal focus of which is Walking with Offa, both on the trail but also in what has been dubbed Offa's Country i.e. in a corridor along the border.

In media

The path was the focus of an episode of the Channel 4 program Britain's Ancient Tracks with Tony Robinson.

References

  1. ^ "Mileages along the Path (South to North)". Offa's Dyke Association. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  2. ^ "The Offa's Dyke Centre in Knighton, Powys". Offa's Dyke Association. Retrieved 14 August 2013.

External links

Arthur's Dyke

Arthur's Dyke is a 2001 British film starring Pauline Quirke and Brian Conley. The plot follows a group of ramblers as they attempt to recreate their conquest of the Offa's Dyke path 20 years earlier.

Clun Forest

Clun Forest is a remote, rural area of open pastures, moorland and mixed deciduous/coniferous woodland in the southwest part of the English county of Shropshire and also just over the border into Powys, Wales.

It was once a large forest covering an area that stretched from Ludlow up the Clun Valley. It now is only forested in some wooded areas, such as Radnor Wood, though a fairly large area of forest exists on the Wales–England border north of Anchor (the planted Ceri Forest).

The ancient Offa's Dyke runs north-south through the area (and can be walked by the Offa's Dyke Path).

It is a deanery of the Church of England's Diocese of Hereford.

Craig y Forwyn (Denbighshire)

Craig y Forwyn ("Maiden's Crag") is a crag that encloses the northern side of World's End, near the town of Llangollen in Denbighshire, Wales. It is part of the limestone escarpment that separates the Eglwyseg Valley from the higher Ruabon Moors and, along with nearby Craig Arthur, is a popular site for rock climbing. Evidence of lead and silver mining is found just to the west. The Offa's Dyke Path runs along its foot.

The crag is mentioned in George Borrow's Wild Wales: Borrow, while walking from Llangollen to Wrexham, meets a local whom he asks about the origin of its name, receiving the response "I do not know sir; some people say that it is called so because its head is like that of a woman, others because a young girl in love leaped from the top of it and was killed."

Crucorney

Crucorney is a community in the county of Monmouthshire, Wales. It is the northernmost community in the county and covers the villages of Llanvihangel Crucorney, Pandy, Cwmyoy and Llanthony amongst others. The Vale of Ewyas comprises much of the northern part of the community, with the River Honddu running through Llanthony and Llanvihangel Crucorney, before turning northeast passing Pandy towards the River Monnow.

Notable landmarks include Llanthony Priory, a Grade I listed former Augustinian priory at Llanthony. Offa's Dyke Path runs along the border between Crucorney and the English county of Herefordshire. The community also has a voluntary group, The Crucorney Environmental Group, which oversees environmental and sustainability issues, including sustainable development, recycling and litter picking.

Cwmyoy

Cwmyoy is an extensive rural parish in Monmouthshire, Wales (Welsh: Cwm Iou) for the valley and parish, (Welsh: Cwm-iou) for the village. The standard Welsh name is Cwm Iau / Cwm-iau. In the Gwentian dialect of Welsh that was spoken here until the late 1800s, the name was pronounced as Cwm Iou ('ou', also spelt informally 'oi', for standard 'au' is a common feature of south Wales Welsh). The 'English' name is in fact this local dialect form in a more English spelling. The name of the valley probably originates from the Welsh word 'iau' meaning yoke, in reference to the shape of the hill surrounding it.

The village of Cwmyoy is located 7 miles north of Abergavenny and 4 miles south of Llanthony in the Vale of Ewyas in the Black Mountains. It is within the Brecon Beacons National Park, in an upland location just below the broad ridge of Hatterrall Hill, which carries the Wales-England border along which runs Offa's Dyke Path.

Four Crosses, Powys

Four Crosses is a village in Montgomeryshire in northern Powys, mid Wales, close to the border with Shropshire. It is in the community of Llandysilio. It lies on the A483 road which now bypasses the village to the west.

The village is home to over 900 persons.It is on the Offa's Dyke Path. The nearest town is Oswestry. The Foxen Manor housing estate has a football field and playground. This field is home to Four Crosses Football Club, who are in the SPAR Mid Wales League, and are moving up the division.

The village was served by Four Crosses railway station until 1965.

Hatterrall Ridge

The Hatterrall Ridge (sometimes spelled Hatterall) is a ridge in the Black Mountains forming the border between Powys and Monmouthshire in Wales and Herefordshire in England. The ridge is about 10 miles (16 km) long, and is followed by the Offa's Dyke Path. On the west side of the ridge is the Vale of Ewyas, and on the east side is the Olchon Valley and Black Hill. The western side of the ridge falls within the Brecon Beacons National Park. Much of the northern part of the ridge is a broad whaleback, but it narrows down considerably further south, and especially near to Llanthony Priory in the Vale of Ewyas to the west of the mountain. There is a large and prominent landslip on the eastern side of the mountain here, known as Black Darren, where a large slice of the rocks has fallen away from the main mass of the hill.

The ridge to the southwest ends abruptly at the sheer cliff known as the Darren below which is a considerable landslipped area extending south to the hamlet of Cwmyoy with its mis-shapen church.

Hergest Ridge

Hergest Ridge is a large elongated hill which traverses the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom, between the town of Kington in Herefordshire and the village of Gladestry in Powys. Its highest point, which is in England, is 426 metres high.

Llangattock Lingoed

Llangattock Lingoed (Welsh: Llangatwg Lingoed) is a small rural village in Monmouthshire, south east Wales. It is located approximately five miles north of Abergavenny, between Abergavenny and Grosmont, a few miles south of the Wales-England border. Offa's Dyke Path passes through the village. The village is near the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Maelor Way

Maelor Way is a key long distance footpath, running 38 kilometres / 24 miles from the Offa's Dyke Path National Trail at Bronygarth to the Shropshire Way, Sandstone Trail, Llangollen Canal, South Cheshire Way, and the Marches Way all at Grindley Brook near Whitchurch.

Mardu

Mardu is a small dispersed village in Shropshire, England. It is located a mile northwest of the village of Whitcott Keysett.

The nearest town is Clun. The village lies at 246m above sea level.

Offa's Dyke Path runs through the village.

Moel y Gaer, Bodfari

Moel y Gaer (Welsh for "bald hill of the fortress") is an Iron Age hillfort at the northern end of the Clwydian Range, located on a summit overlooking the valley of the River Wheeler, near the village of Bodfari, Denbighshire, Wales, five miles north-east of Denbigh. The site is a scheduled monument, classified as a prehistoric defensive hillfort.The hillfort is one of a chain of six hillforts in the Clwydian Range, which are, from north to south, Moel Hiraddug, Moel y Gaer Bodfari, Penycloddiau, Moel Arthur, Moel y Gaer Llanbedr, and Moel Fenlli. Moel y Gaer Bodfari is the lowest of these hillforts, being just 200 m (656 ft) above sea level. The hill on which it stands is surrounded by lower land and is strategically situated at the confluence of the River Wheeler and the Clwyd. Offa's Dyke Path passes along the foot of the hill.

The fort at Moel y Gaer is one of the smallest of the chain of defensive works found along the Clwydians. It probably dates from the Iron Age, although there is no definitive evidence to establish the exact period during which it was occupied. It has a single entrance on its northern side and is defended by a steep slope on the eastern side of the hill.Excavation started in 2011 and is ongoing as of 2016. The area enclosed by the ramparts is about two hectares. Various anomalies have been targeted in the excavations, including what is possibly a group of pits and other features where the ground seems to have been dug out, as well as what seems to be a roundhouse on a levelled piece of land. Examination of the middle rampart began in 2013, and it seems that there may have been several phases in its construction.

Monnow Valley Walk

Monnow Valley Walk is a 40 miles (64 km) long-distance footpath in north-east Monmouthshire, South Wales, with short sections in Herefordshire, England and Powys. It links Monmouth and Hay-on-Wye, following the River Monnow and the foot of the Black Mountains.

The trail is linear running through the valley of the River Monnow, from Monmouth, near its confluence with the River Wye, to the headwaters below Hay Bluff. At this point, the walk links up with the Offa's Dyke Path National Trail, sharing the same route to the finishing points at Hay-on-Wye.Notable settlements on route include Monmouth, Skenfrith, Grosmont, Clodock and Hay-on-Wye.

Nantmawr

Nantmawr is a village in Shropshire, England. It is located about 5 miles south west of Oswestry and close to the Welsh border. The Offa's Dyke Path runs through the village.

Like many of the towns in the Welsh Marches, the area was formerly Welsh speaking, and its name means "big stream".

The village also forms the terminus of the surviving stub of the former Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway, better known as the 'Potts Line', which is currently being re-opened as a heritage railway by the Tanat Valley Light Railway Company.

Nantmawr has a nature reserve known as "Jones' Rough" managed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust. It is a breeding place for the pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly.

Offa's Dyke

Offa's Dyke (Welsh: Clawdd Offa) is a large linear earthwork that roughly follows the current border between England and Wales. The structure is named after Offa, the Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia from AD 757 until 796, who is traditionally believed to have ordered its construction. Although its precise original purpose is debated, it delineated the border between Anglian Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys.

The dyke, which was up to 65 feet (20 m) wide (including its flanking ditch) and 8 feet (2.4 m) high, traversed low ground, hills and rivers. Today the earthwork is protected as a scheduled monument. Some of its route is followed by the Offa's Dyke Path; a 176-mile (283 km) long-distance footpath that runs between Liverpool Bay in the north and the Severn Estuary in the south.

Although the dyke is conventionally dated to the Early Middle Ages of Anglo-Saxon England, research in recent decades – using techniques such as radioactive carbon dating – has challenged the conventional historiography and theories about the earthwork.

Oswestry Race Course

Oswestry Race Course (also known as Oswestry Old Racecourse Common) is a historic racecourse on ‘Cyrn y Bwch’ hill close to Oswestry in Shropshire that was used by the Welsh and English to socialise and race horses. Covering an area of 22 hectares (54 acres), the course was closed to racing in 1848 and is now an area of common land for recreation. It is a well travelled walking route because Offa's Dyke Path passes through the site.

Penycloddiau

Penycloddiau is a hill in Flintshire, Wales, and one of five Marilyns in the Clwydian Range.

The hill, like Foel Fenlli and Moel Arthur to the south, has an Iron Age hillfort at its summit. It covers 26 hectares (64 acres) making it one of the largest hillforts in Wales. In 2017, excavations by the Clywdian Range Archaeology Group (CRAG) unearthed a significant number of 4,000-year-old stone tools from the Bronze Age, the discovery indicates human activity occurred much earlier than first thought in the area.Penycloddiau is crossed by the Offa's Dyke Path and the Clwydian Way, two long distance footpaths that traverse the hills in this area.

Trevor, Wrexham

Trevor (Welsh: Trefor) is a village in the county borough of Wrexham (until 1974 in Denbighshire) in Wales. It is situated in the scenic Vale of Llangollen, on the A539 between Llangollen and Wrexham in the community of Llangollen Rural.

Its name is an anglicised version of the Welsh place-name Trefor, meaning "large village". This was one of the old townships of the parish of Llangollen, giving its name to both a powerful landowning family whose ancestral home was in the township, and to the later industrial settlement represented by the modern village. In common with neighbouring Froncysyllte, Trevor is largely made up of nineteenth- and twentieth-century cottages for workers in the area's traditional industries of limestone quarrying and brick-making. Although these industries have now disappeared the area has a rich industrial archeology.

Trevor lies on the Llangollen Canal at the northern end of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct: the Trevor Basin is at the north end of the aqueduct.

Until 1965, the village had a railway station on the now-closed Ruabon–Barmouth line. However the nearby Llangollen Railway aims to extend eastwards to Ruabon, which may include rebuilding and full restoration of the station as part of the work.

The Offa's Dyke Path passes through the village.

Wysis Way

The Wysis Way is an 88 km (55 mi) walking route which forms a link between the Offa's Dyke Path and Thames Path national trails in the United Kingdom. The Way runs between Monmouth in Wales and Kemble, Gloucestershire in England.

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