Offa’s Dyke – Classic Walks Itinerary

Offa’s Dyke: Itinerary:

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Walking on Hay Bluff, Offa's Dyke, UK

Britain’s Offa’s Dyke route is 307 km that takes walkers along the limestone ridge, the scarp of the Cotswold Edge. A wonderful walking holiday.

The walk can be done in as little as 12 days, but for a more pleasurable walking experience 15 days plus one rest day, we suggest at knighton, is recommended.  In planning an itinerary, some of the considerations in determining the distance for each day should include the type of terrain, the accommodation, weather, time of year and how fit one is.

The following is an outline of the 16-day walk itinerary that we chose.  We decided on this itinerary because of the reasonable distances and the available accommodation.

Begin at: Chepstow, Wales.
How to get there: Trains or buses from Victoria Station London, taxi to accommodation.

Walking itinerary:

Day 1.  Chepstow – Bigsweir Bridge (18km)
Today we follow the Wye River. Wintour’s Leap – 200 feet above the river where a Royalist leader was said to have jumped from to avoid capture by Cromwell’s men. Further on (down far below) is Tintern Abbey, a little off the trail.

Day 2.  Monmouth (12km)
Some climbing today towards the Naval Temple – a celebration of British naval might and a memorial to several British admirals, including Nelson who visited the site in 1802. The Kymin – a hill with The Roundhouse, a two storied castellated tower. Then across the Monnow Bridge, once a watchtower and jail.

Day 3.  Llangattock (19km)
Open fields and more climbing to Llanfihangel Ysture Llywern – with its ancient church of St Michael. Llantilio Crossenny – try a pot of tea at the Hostry Inn (built in 1459). Visit the White Castle – The early Marcher Lords constructed it between 1067-1069.

Day 4.  Llanthony (18km)
We walk to Pandy and then up Hatterrall Ridge, part of the Black Mountain.Take care if the weather is bad. From here we make our way down to the ancient village of Llanthony.

Day 5.  Hay-on-Wye (18km)
Walk up to Capel Y Ffin (chapel on the border) and then along Hay Bluff – a wide expanse of turf which van be very windy. Down into Hay-on-Wye, the world’s largest village devoted to 2nd hand books.

Day 6.  Gladestry (15km)
Over the Clyro Bridge – great viewpoint. Then through the green Welsh countryside to Newchurch with its St Mary’s Church. Up and over Disgwylfa Hill – a double humped hill.

Day 7.  Discoed (21km)
Walk up Hergest Ridge on open moorland turf. Kington with St Mary’s Church and the Chocolate Box Cafe. Kington golf course, the highest in Britain. Rushock Hill an opportunity to walk on another section of the Dyke. At Lugg Valley, a wonderful panorama spreads out before you.

Day 8.  Knighton (9km)
We walk across Dolley Old Bridge away from Discoed. Up Hawthorn Hill with marvellous views of the Malverns in the south-east and the Brecon Beacons in the south-west. Past a marble obelisk – a memorial to Sir Richard Green Price, the man who had brought the railway to Radnorshire. Then we follow the dyke down into Knighton.

Day 9.  Churchstoke (near Montgomery) (9km)
We sight Kinsley Wood with the coronation ‘ER’ plantation. Trees with slightly different coloured foliage had been planted in 1953 for the coronation of the new Queen Elizabeth.

Day 10.  Buttington (17km)
We make our way to Montgomery, visit the Church of St. Nicholas and the Robber Grave, and the impressive Montgomery castle ruins. Then to Buttington and the beginning of the Shropshire Union canal.

Day 11.  Four Crosses (near Llanynynech) (10km)
Shropshire Union canal – a quiet towpath, a pleasant change from the past few days of ascents and descents.
Site of Strata Marcella Abbey – founded by the Cistercians in 1170, is just across the Severn about ¼ of a kilometer away. We walk along the canal to Pool Quay – an 1820’s lock-keeper’s cottage by the locks, now neglected.

Day 12.  Pentre Chirk (16km)
After a short climb we arrive at Llanymynech. The long bar inside the White Swan Inn displays a marker showing the frontier, allowing the enthusiastic drinker to have a pint in England after finishing one in Wales.
Past Trefonen, old Viking hamlet. Then through Candy Wood, another forested area with many pine trees.
We walk down to Craignant, a village at the bottom of a steep valley. Then up to Chirk Castle – Wild wolves roamed the Powys Hills up to the 17th century and the last was a lonely survivor who prowled the dry moat.

Day 13.  Llangollen (11km)
This morning we walk along Llangollen Canal, one of Wales’ great canals. And cross the Pont Cysyllte Aqueduct – the walkway seems a challenge, great views. Further on is the Panorama Walk – great views of the Dee Valley. Up hills (again) to Castell Dinas Bran – ruins of the old fort of Bran, legendary Welsh warrior, and down to Llangollen.

Day 14.  Llandegla (16km)
Our first stop is Vale Crucis Abbey and a visit to the Pillar of Eliseg a memorial to an old battle. As usual, more hills and valleys to cross. Then to the Manor House – a good example of sympathetic restoration. Then to World’s End and later Llandegla Forest before arriving at the village of  Llandegla.

Day 15.  Bodfari (16km)
Lots of hills today. First up to Moel Fammau and the Jubilee Tower, built for King George III’s Jubilee celebrations. Then we skirt around Moel Arthur, no need to climb every hill! Then along to Penyclddiau Fort. From here 5 km and 1,300 feet of descent needed to be covered before reaching Bodfari.

Day 16.  Prestatyn (18km) – your destination! 
First up is the village of Rhuallt with the Smithy Arms Inn. Then past Brynllithrig Hall, a magnificent mansion.
Further along in the hills we come to Marian Cwm, a landscape full of Marian names. Then a final climb (in the rain) up to the Clwydian Hills and the Prestatyn cliffs. From here we begin the slow descent along the widening track to the flatland of Prestatyn.

How to get back from Prestatyn: Train to Chester then London.

Our Take: This is an exhilarating walk on which you will cross 700 odd stiles. Also the hills and valleys are so green because it rains – a lot. Take wet weather gear. History and hospitality add the icing to this walk.

See the Offa’s Dyke information for walkers here

Hopefully these tips have been helpful. What do you think?

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