to Prestatyn A fascinating if sometimes challenging path along
the English/Welsh border via Hay, Knighton and Llangollen. The trail passes 80
miles of the 8th century dyke and earthen wall built by the Anglo-Saxon King Offa
of Mercia (757 to 796) to protect his territory from marauding Welsh raiders.
The bank reaches 20 feet in height in some sections, even after the wear and tear
of 12 centuries. The dike is not continuous - either it was never finished or
Offa decided to use natural geographic obstacles to deter the Welsh and save his
people extra work! The wall is most impressive around Knighton.
closely follows the border between Wales and England, and indeed crosses from
one to the other 9 times.
Beginning at Chepstow, the path climbs a ridge
and then follows the River Wye past the ruins of Tintern Abbey, then on to the
fortified town of Monmouth with its Norman Castle and the famous Bridge Gatehouse.
Ten miles further along the ruins of the moated 12th century White Castle are
directly on the path.
The path then climbs Haterall Ridge, some 1000 feet
high. The views are superb, but then there is a steep descent into picturesque
Hay-on-Wye. The town is pretty enough, but it is more famous as the used book
capital of Britain, with numerous second-hand and specialty book shops lining
The earthworks of Offa's Dyke are most noticeable around Knighton,
which is home to the Offa's Dyke Association (see contact info below). The way
is rough just north of Knighton, but then the path descends into the level ground
of Montgomery Plain. There the path follows the course of an old Roman road past
the Iron Age earthworks of Beacon Ring Settlement and then along the Montgomery
Canal towpath. Powis Castle in Welshpool is just off the path.
then follows the Severn River past Chirk Castle (an optional detour takes visitors
directly to the castle) and on to the Dee Valley, where an aqueduct carries the
Telford Canal over the river. The ruins of Castle Dinas Bran hover over the pretty
village of Llangollen.
The going is steep and fairly rough through the Clwydian Hills - though the superb
views provide compensation for your efforts - to the final end of the path at
Prestatyn on the Irish Sea.
Highlights: Offa's Dyke
8th century earthworks Chirk Castle Powis Castle Tintern Abbey
Iron Age earthworks and ruined castles