Offas Dyke Footpath
The Offas Dyke Footpath roughly traces the English - Welsh border, following Offa's Dyke for some 70 miles.
Offa's Dyke is an 8th century construction, built by the powerful King Offa of Mercia to mark the boundary to his Kingdom.
Stretching to 150 miles in all, from the Severn to the North Wales coast, the dyke took many years to build, even with an obligation on the locals to provide assistance.
Offa's Dyke is Britain's longest ancient, man made feature.
The Offas Dyke Footpath is regarded by many to be amongst the most picturesque of all the National Trails, passing through the Brecon Beacons National Park and further designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Trail takes in a variety of scenery ranging from moorland through woodland to more settled valleys.
There is much history to be seen on the route, with many significant villages and features along the way.
Were you to walk all 177 miles of the Offas Dyke Footpath in one go, it's estimated it might take you approximately 2 weeks.
Even though Offas Dyke Footpath offers less challenging walking than many of the other National Trails, you'd still need to be fit and healthy to tackle the complete 177 mile route.
As with the other National Trails, the Offas Dyke Footpath can be split up into more manageable chunks and so you should be able to find a walk to suit your specific requirements.
Due to the popularity of the Offas Dyke National Trail, it is recommended that you book any accommodation you may need in advance.
While there is no set of official sub-sections on the Offas Dyke Footpath, we have taken popular break-points in the trail and detailed these below to give an idea of distances, what there is to see and the type of walking you should encounter.
For further information, there is an Offas Dyke National Trail Officer, whose office can be contacted on: +44 (0) 1547 528 753.
The Offas Dyke Footpath starts here.
Things to do near Sedbury Cliffs
Sedbury - Monmouth
An easy first section as the Offas Dyke Footpath leads you away from the Sedbury Cliffs loosely following the river Wye. Scenery ranges from high, wooded ridgeland past Tintern Abbey, to open farmland to the hilltop views from Kymin, from where you can see your destination of Monmouth.
Monmouth - Pandy
Plenty of history to see on this section, from Monmouth itself with such features as the medieval Monnow Bridge Gate and Monmouth Castle, birthplace of Henry V, to the well preserved Norman ruins of White Castle, dating from the 12th Century.
Pandy - Hay-on-Wye
One of The Offas Dyke Footpath's more challenging routes as it enters the Black Mountains, passing high over the 1,000ft Hatterall Ridge for the best part of 10 miles. There are peaks to negotiate too - Hatterall Hill at 1,540ft and Hay Bluff at 1,963ft.
As you'd expect there are excellent views to be had when the weather allows, including Llanthony Priory and the Wye Valley. However, be sure to check the weather forecast before you go and to take suitable hill walking equipment, food and water.
Hay-on-Wye itself is something of a Mecca for fans of second hand books.
Hay-on-Wye - Kington
An easier day's walking as The Offas Dyke Footpath takes you through moorland, before climbing onto Hergest Ridge as you begin to near Kington.
Kington - Knighton
You follow Offa's Dyke more closely on this section as you head through hills and valleys with views a-plenty to enjoy. Knighton is officially the half way point on the Offas Dyke Footpath, and it's here that you'll find the Offa's Dyke Centre. Run by the Offa's Dyke Association, this centre provides a wealth of information on the history and maintenance of Offa's Dyke and the National Trail.
Knighton - Brompton Crossroads
Generally regarded as the toughest section of the Offas Dyke Footpath, this section has lots of steep ascents and descents to negotiate. Don't despair though, as your effort is rewarded with terrific and varied views throughout the route. As with all challenging hill walking, be sure to be properly equipped, skilled and clued up on the weather before setting out on this section.
Brompton Crossroads - Pool Quay
A flat section by Offas Dyke Footpath standards. The only real climbing is as you ascend from gentle farmland to Beacon Ring, an impressive Iron Age hill fort. Thereafter, you descend into Buttington where you follow the canal to Pool Quay.
Pool Quay - Trefonen
The Offas Dyke Footpath takes on an aquatic theme on this section as it follows the course of the River Severn through picturesque scenery. There is some climbing to be done, however, as the trail rises over Llanymynech and Moelydd before dropping down into Trefonen. The limestone cliffs of Llanymynech offer a striking contrast to the woodland at their feet.
Trefonen - Pont-Cysyllte Aqueduct
Relatively easy walking as rolling hills carry you towards Chirk Castle, offering great views on the way. Attractive as Chirk Castle is though, the astounding Pont-Cysyllte Aqueduct offers some serious competition for the most memorable feature on the section. Built by Telford at the turn of the 19th Century, it's now a World Heritage Site and an impressive thing to behold, spanning some 1,000ft of the Dee valley at a height of 120ft.
Pont-Cysyllte Aqueduct - Llandegla
Another very picturesque section of the Offas Dyke Footpath. Striking views of Llangollen and Iron Age Castel Dinas Bran are on offer as you make your way from the Dee Valley up into the hills past Dinas Bran then World's End. There's boggy moorland to cross before you make your descent into Llandegla.
Landegla - Bodfari
There's climbing to be done on this section which is one of the Offas Dyke Footpath's more demanding sections. Ascending into the Clwydian Hills and the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you find yourself among the famous Clwydian Moels and their Iron Age forts. Highlights include the 1,820ft Moel Famau and Moel Arthur with its hill fort. Penycloddiau, one of the largest hill forts in Wales, is also to be fond on this section.
Bodfari - Prestatyn
Still within the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this is the final section of the Offas Dyke Footpath. Similar, if less demanding, walking to the previous section will take you through the remainder of hill fort country and on to the cliffs of Prestatyn, where your descent into the town is traditionally followed by a paddle in the Irish Sea.
You can continue reading about other National Trails and Long Distance Walks using the links at the bottom of the page.