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Walk the Offa's Dyke Path

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 19 Oct 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Offa’s Dyke Path Walking Offa’s Dyke

Offa’s Dyke Path was opened in 1971 linking Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow on the banks of the Severn estuary with the North Wales coastal town of Prestatyn which overlooks the Irish Sea. It’s named after King Offa who ruled the Kingdom of Mercia back in the 8th century and its thought he built the dyke to separate his kingdom from Powys, another rival kingdom, back in Anglo-Saxon times and which still exists today as part of Wales.

Geography

Starting out in the south from Chepstow and heading north, the trail passes through eight different counties and criss-crosses the border between Wales and England more than 20 times. It follows tranquil marshland and passes through Brecon Beacons National Park on the 1000 foot high Hatterall Ridge where you can experience spectacular views of the landscape beneath you. You’ll get to visit the town of Hay-on-Wye which has become a bit of a ‘Mecca’ for book and literary enthusiasts and the path also links three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Hills with its famous Clwydian ‘moels’ – the 1820-foot Moel Famau and Moel Arthur with its Iron Age fort. The final section of the walk leads you on to the cliffs of Prestatyn and, though this section is less demanding than some of the previous ones, a popular tradition for those who complete the entire path south to north is to go for a paddle in the Irish Sea from the beach in Prestatyn. However, many people also opt to walk the route in the other direction.

How Long Does It Take?

If you were to walk it all in one go, it would probably take you somewhere in the region of 12 to 16 days. However, because of its quite difficult terrain, many people opt to complete short sections at a time on day trips and fill in the missing sections on subsequent visits until they have completed the entire trail. It’s because of this trend that there are places to eat and easy to find accommodation along much of its route in nearby towns and villages and public transport is available to and from most of its key points of access.

Places of Interest

Tintern Abbey, close to the start of the walk if you’re heading north from Chepstow, is one of the great Cistercian monastic ruins and the first one of its kind to be built in Wales, dating back to the 12th century. It even inspired William Wordsworth to write a poem of the same name. Chirk Castle is the last of the Edwardian castles in Wales which is still lived in today. It has magnificent award winning gardens and is set in a stunning location overlooking 9 counties. The town of Hay-on-Wye is a must for book enthusiasts and Penycloddiau Hill Fort in the Clwydian Hills is one of the largest hill forts in Wales and is clearly visible from the top of Moel Famau.

Getting There

National rail and bus services go to both Chepstow and Prestatyn and service many other towns along the Offa’s Dyke Path.

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Lane - Your Question:
Hi, I run a guest house halfway along the Offa Dyke Path used by a variety of guests but in the summer season I'd say over half our guests are walkers. I have found solo female walkers to be especially appreciative of their stay, and wondered if you know of any associations for solo women walkers. We get quite a few repeat visits from people walking the Offa Dyke path in stages of one week one year (usually half the full trail) and finishing the next year. Like many guest houses on the path we can accept/help arrange bag transfers if wished. I'd really like to tell more solo women walkers about my place but don't know how to reach them… Any suggestions appreciated. Lane

Our Response:
We don't know of any female walkers associations etc, but some useful things to try would be:
Check out any facebook groups - walkers, female travellers etc
Make sure your information is available in tourist information offices, they'll be discrete about who they give the information to - you do not necessarily want to openly advertise the sole female aspect.
The Ramblers association and the Long Distance walkers association would be good to contact.
Travel organisations/companies
WalkingAndHiking - 20-Oct-15 @ 12:00 PM
Hi, I run a guest house halfway along the Offa Dyke Path used by a variety of guests but in the summer season I'd say over half our guests are walkers. I have found solo female walkers to be especially appreciative of their stay, and wondered if you know of any associations for solo women walkers.We get quite a few repeat visits from people walking the Offa Dyke path in stages of one week one year (usually half the full trail) and finishing the next year. Like many guest houses on the path we can accept/help arrange bag transfers if wished. I'd really like to tell more solo women walkers about my place but don't know how to reach them… Any suggestions appreciated. Lane
Lane - 19-Oct-15 @ 10:23 AM
Thanks Jeff, we'll bear those in mind for future articles.
WalkingAndHiking - 5-Apr-11 @ 9:56 AM
A good article on the path. Shame there isn't anything on The Black Mountains and the stunning walk to Fan Brycheiniog from Llanddeusant. Pen Y Fan is also a good hike with limitless trails and paths. Hike Safe, Hike Happy :-)
Jeff - 4-Apr-11 @ 3:07 PM
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