Where is the Offa’s Dyke Path?
Fell-runners take five days. Most hikers take 12. For everyone else Offa’s Dyke Path is a walk to tick off in stages. Take two days – even two hours – and you will discover why Lonely Planet names Offa's Dyke among the world’s greatest walks.
Britain’s longest ancient monument
Clwydian Range, North East Wales by Paul ThickittThree cheers for Saxon monarchs. Because King Offa of Mercia erected an 8m border rampart in the 8th century, walkers in 1971 received a new coast-to-coast trail.
Offa’s Dyke, Britain’s longest ancient monument, guides the route: criss-crossing the border up the Wye Valley to Monmouth, past book capital Hay-on-Wye into the Shropshire hills then Clwydian Hills that peel to Prestatyn.
Hike the lot and you’ll cover 177 miles, pass through eight counties and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills and Clwydian Hills).
Yet with excellent transport links to pretty market towns en route and plenty of accommodation (not to mention obliging B&B owners who collect you from the trail), the path is the stuff walking weekends are made of.
3 of our favourite walks
The problem is where to go: stride a windswept moor or stile-hop through forgotten valleys? Here are three of our favourite sections for inspiration.
The Wye Valley, 16 miles
Wye Valley in autumn near Builth Wells, Powys, Wye Valley
Start your Wye Valley walk at Chepstow and finish at Monmouth. Between the two is an easy, uplifting day through gorgeous woods that open occasionally for sweeping views of the lower Wye Valley. You’ll see Tintern Abbey too from Devil’s Pulpit. It was from its limestone pillar that the devil tried to lure away the monks, they say. With scenery like this? No chance.
Pandy to Hay-on-Wye, 18 miles
Llanthony Priory, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons
The Pandy to Hay-on-Wye walk starts with an early section of upland drama that takes you into the Black Mountains on the Hatterall Ridge. Beneath are the toothy ruins of Llanthony Priory. Beyond are peaks of the Brecon Beacons National Park. And the reward for a day in the wilds? Book-browsing, fine dining and a warm duvet in lovely Hay-on-Wye.
Llangollen to Prestatyn, 34 miles
Eglwyseg Range from above Horseshoe Pass, North Wales BorderlandsThe Clwydian Range provides the scenery. Towns like Llangollen and Ruthin (a few miles off-trail but most B&Bs collect walkers) offer comfort. This challenging weekender provides exhilarating walking, out past the Eglwyseg escarpment near Llangollen to heather-mailed Iron Age hillforts before descending to the Irish Sea. Moel Famau, the peak of the Clwydian hills, is the highpoint... literally.
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