Offa’s Dyke: A Classic Walk along the Anglo Welsh Border:
Britain’s Offa’s Dyke Walk is one of the most historic walks in Britain. This walk takes you along the ancient Anglo-Welsh border.
The track begins in Chepstow, passes through scenery of beauty and variety, ranging from the woodlands of the Wye gorge to the windswept ridges of the Black Mountains and from the rolling hills and secluded valleys of mid-Wales to the heather-clad Clwydian Hills. Along the way it visits a succession of historic border towns and attractive villages including Monmouth, Hay-on-Wye, Knighton and Montgomery.
David Hunter has written a Cicerone guidebook ‘The Offa’s Dyke Path’, a useful illustrated booklet, with line-drawings, detailed maps and route directions.
The Offa’s Dyke route is 310 km long and for those contemplating this trail for their walking holiday in Britain, a certain amount of planning is required. Although the path is well marked, the British weather is unpredictable and needs to be catered for.
Some general information about the walk: Offa’s Dyke Route: Starting from historic Chepstow, the 310 km trail wends its way northwards and ends at Prestatyn, a coastal holiday town. The route crosses high wild moorland, attractive, wide river valleys and ancient woodlands. It passes through historic towns and remote hamlets. On the way you see hill forts, castles, abbeys and surviving remains of pre-historic settlements, and get the chance to walk on the Dyke.
Some Highlights: Chepstow Castle and Montgomery castles show the original Norman occupation of the Marches. The Kymin and the Naval temple just near Monmouth. The wonderful village of Hay-on-Wye, the centre of second hand books. We visit the Montgomery Canal, Monmouth, the home of Henry V and Edward Rolls, and Llanthony Abbey, hidden away in the Honddu Valley.
Walking Route Planner: The number of days required depends on how fit and how quickly or leisurely you want your walking holiday to be. Work out the average number of kilometres you are prepared to do in a day, taking into account the landscape and the town or village in which you will end your day. It’s also nice to plan on arriving a little earlier in a village if there are interesting attractions you may like to visit, such as in Haye-on-Wye or Llangollen. We did the walk in 17 days, however it’s also possible to do it in about 12 days.
Luggage transfer: This efficient service is readily available and can be organized through a number of tour operators on the ‘self-guided’ itineraries.
Your Offa’s Dyke Accommodation: This is usually in B&Bs or inns and should be booked in advance.
Food: Mostly good quality traditional English and Welsh food is served up at B&Bs and village inns and there are wide choices in their menu. Most B&B owners can cater for vegetarians or people with other food preferences if given sufficient notice.
When to go? The northern spring or autumn seasons are recommended as accommodation is easier to obtain and the tourist numbers are lower.
Walking Gear: Good walking boots and socks are critical. Your boots should have been worn in. Take appropriate rain gear. Make sure it’s made from a breathable material such as Gore-Tex.
Our Take: There is a lot to see on this 310 km journey along the ancient border between Wales and England, so remember to bring your camera. Be prepared for rain and the wonderful walking. The path is usually walked from Chepstow to Prestatyn.