Offa’s Dyke – walking on the Dyke (760AD) to Discoed

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Through the country of the Magicians

We had been walking for half the day and were enjoying the Welsh countryside enormously. Next was Burfa Bank Forestry Plantations and of course, another hill to climb. I had the feeling that we were out in the middle of nowhere, with the last farms far behind us. I guess it was the accumulation of days of predominantly rural walking which had put me in a totally different frame of mind. Then unexpectedly we came across a marvellous old farmhouse, with a freshly mown front lawn, neat driveway and a well maintained building. This was the restored medieval Burfa farmhouse.

Soon we rejoined the actual Dyke by climbing onto its ridge and made our way slowly and with some difficulty. The path was narrow and hemmed in by clumps of stinging nettles. To add to the challenge, a barbed-wire fence ran along this section’s entirety making us pay close attention to each footstep.

Radnorshire once boasted of a family of powerful magicians, the Harrieses, who were well known throughout Wales. They conducted their affairs and offered their services as any business would, but payment was usually prompt as early in their careers, defaulters would not get a second chance to default.

The wind which had been with us for most of the day, decided to give us trouble. It blew sharply and strongly, pushing us towards the barbed-wire fence.
 “Bloody wind,” I thought.
 
It seemed to laugh gleefully at our struggles and dared us to lose our concentration for a moment. Undaunted, we continued, balancing against the force of the cross wind and taking a rest when a wind break was found. The wind continued, but we had now left the uncomfortable journey along the Dyke as the path had temporarily separated from the ancient earthwork and entered Granner Wood.

Emerging from the woods we could see the panorama of the Lugg Valley below and tried to sight the hamlet of Discoed. Anyway, it was mostly downhill from here. The path rejoined the Dyke and without a barbed-wire fence to avoid, the descent through the landscape was pleasant.

It was about 6.30 pm and one of the longest days on the walk. Thankfully, the sun was still out, the path not muddy and even the wind was with us as we made our way down to a road and followed it past Yew Tree Farm till we arrived at Maesgynne.

Mrs Olwen Price made us welcome and provided a large pot of tea complete with Welsh cakes and her own fruit cake. Just the ticket.

 “So you have enjoyed your walk today?” Olwen asked.
 “It’s beautiful country here,” Carol said.
 “Wait till you get north of Knighton,” said Olwen. “You’ll enjoy it, so many lovely hills.”
“Nice and quiet here,” I said.
 “Yes. Don’t mind the cattle if they start lowing,” Olwen added.
Our B&B was on a large working farm and our hostess had to pop out for a while to check on a newly born calf who had an infection. We put our feet up and enjoyed the warm fire in the lounge room.

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