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There is nothing quite like the feeling of a walking holiday! Every day is somewhere different and you are not bound by the constraints of motorways, roads and cars - just the fresh air and stunning surroundings.
This two week adventure takes you along the Offa's Dyke path. Drawing in walkers from around the world this amazing pathway takes you close to the English border from Chepstow all the way to Prestatyn.
Take up the challenge and make your way through a diverse terrain. Following rivers and estuaries, passing ancient castles and picturesque Welsh villages, climb hills and down valleys with breath-taking views and a real sense of achievement; this is the holiday of a lifetime!
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Day 1: Arrival in Chepstow
Today you will arrive at the starting point of Offa’s Dyke, the town of Chepstow. Enjoy some free time in this wonderful town before taking on the Offa’s Dyke trail. Take this opportunity to visit the famous Chepstow Castle, a Norman castle perched high above the banks of the river Wye. The oldest in Wales, construction began at Chepstow in 1067. The castle changed in appearance over a period of almost 600 years, continually growing and being adapted to the latest military fashions.
Day 2: Chepstow > Monmouth
Today your walking tour will truly begin. The trail follows the river Wye at the beginning. At the start of the trail you will see the Severn estuary which is designated as a Maritime Natural Area. It has the second highest tidal range in the world due to the 5 rivers that feed the estuary. You will see the Dyke itself right at the start of trail. You will also pass through the village of Tintern, which is most famous for the historic Tintern Abbey. Founded in 1131 and situated right along the river Wye, its remains have been celebrated in poetry and painting. From here, enjoy the stunning views of the Wye Valley, an official Area of Outstanding Beauty. At the end of the day you will arrive in Monmouth, a Welsh border town. Best known as being the birthplace of Henry V, Monmouth has a lot to offer. Why not visit Monnow Bridge, the only medieval fortified bridge in the UK?
Mileage: 13 miles
Day 3: Monmouth > Pandy
Leaving the river Wye behind, you will now be joined by the rivers Monnow and Trothy. There is a lot of medieval history along the way, most notably White Castle. Built in the 12th century, it is the best preserved of the Three Castles (White, Skenfrith and Grosmont), usually put together because of their shared history as a block of territory under the control of Hubert de Burgh. You will also pass through Grace Dieu Abbey. Founded in 1248, the remains of this small Cistercian abbey cannot be seen from the ground, and there is in fact some debate as to where it was actually located. While walking towards Pandy you will have spectacular views of the Black Mountains as you pass through the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Overnight: near Pandy
Mileage: 13.5 miles
Day 4: Pandy > Hay-on-Wye
Leaving Pandy you will immediately have the first real climb of the trail ahead of you, reaching the highest point of the route in the Black Mountains at 2300ft. After you reach the summit you will walk along a ridge walk for approx. 11 miles,
finding yourself in Hay Bluff. Here, you will enjoy stunning views all around you. Walking on you will find yourself at the ruins Llanthony Priory, an Augustian priory dating back as far as the year 1100 and a Grade I listed building since 1956. After this you will descend into Hay-on-Wye, a small market town usually described as “the town of books” because of its many bookshops. It also has two Norman castles on offer for you to visit.
Mileage: 14 miles
Day 5: Hay-on-Wye > Kington
Today you will be reunited with the river Wye, and you will be walking along the Powys-Herefordshire border. You will pass through the villages Newchurch and Gladestry. Why not visit the church in Newchurch, whose name in Welsh is Yr Eglwys Newydd ar y Cefn which translates as "new church on the ridge"? You will take on a rise of 400 metres to Hergest Ridge where you have 360 degree views of the area. Hergest Ridge was the inspiration for Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle as well as Mike Oldfield’s second album Hergest Ridge. You walk today will end in the border market town of Kington, where you will spend the night.
Mileage: 13 miles
Day 6: Kington > Knighton
Passing over Brandor Hill today, you will meet up with the Dyke again on Rushock Hill. You will find yourself back in Wales as you enter the county of Powys, the county with the longest section of the route. You will pass through Granner Wood, part of the Woodland Trust and located on a hill overlooking the village of Evanjobb. You will then descent to the River Lugg at Dolley Old Bridge. Take a stop on the bridge and you might just be able to spot dippers and kingfishers! You will then take a climb up to Furrow and Hawthorn Hill, where you will be able to see Radnorshire, famous as being one of Owain Glyndwr’s battle sites. After this wonderful view you will descent to Knighton, a small market town where you could visit the Offa’s Dyke Centre.
Mileage: 10 miles
Day 7: Knighton > Pentreheyling
Today you will take on what it perhaps the toughest part of the trail, rising and falling through the Shropshire Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You will be able to see well preserved part of the Dyke itself along the way. You will also pass the true midpoint of the trail just above Newcastle-on-Clun, where you could take a photo of yourself with the midpoint marker. Along the way the trail will be joined by both the Shropshire Way and Wild Edric’s Way, named after a Saxon nobleman leading a number of wars against the Normans. You will pass through very few villages on this part of the trail.
Mileage: 14 miles
Day 8: Pentreheyling > Buttington Bridge
The trail at the start of your day today will begin on the national boundary of Wales and England. You have the option to take an extra stop in the town of Montgomery, where you could get refreshments and take in some great views from the castle here. The trail of today will let you climb up to the Beacon Hill Battery, which was constructed in 1534 during the reign of Henry VII. Enjoy some lovely views op on the hill before you descend to Buttington Bridge.
Overnight: Buttington Bridge
Mileage: 10 miles
Day 9: Buttington > Llanymynech
During your walk today you will follow stretches of the Montgomeryshire Canal as well as the River Severn. The main landmark you will see today is the Breidden Hill, an extinct volcanic hill. On this hill are the remains of a British Iron Age hillfort, and you can still see Rodney’s Pillar on the top of it, a monument built by gentlemen of Mongomeryshire. After passing through a rather flat part of the trail you will arrive in the village of Llanymynech, where the main street is actually the border between Wales and England! Hoffman Kiln, one of the only three remaining Hoffman kilns in the country, is nationally significant industrial heritage area and well worth a visit if you have got some time to spare.
Mileage: 9 miles
Day 10: Llanymynech > Chirk
Today the trail will rise and fall again after the previous day of flat landscapes. Start off with an ascent to Llanymynech Quarry which now supplies Hoffman Kiln. Both the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust manage parts of the quarry as nature reserves. The summit of Moelydd will offer you fantastic 360 degree views of the area. Before you reach the small town of Chirk, you will pass the Oswestry Old Racecourse, a popular venue for horse racing until the 1850s. Take a picnic here to relax a bit and enjoy the wonderful views of Shropshire and Wales. When you arrive in Chirk, why not visit the National Trust property of Chirk Castle? It was built in 1295 and was occupied as a castle and stately home for nearly 700 years.
Mileage: 11 miles
Day 11: Chirk > Llangollen
Today you could choose to take a little detour and visit the historic Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. It was built in 1805 by Thomas Telford and is listed on the World Heritage Site. It is the largest aqueduct in the whole of Britain. After this little detour the trail will bring you past World’s End, a narrow vale which lies at the head of the Eglwyseg Crags, and then on to Dinas Bran, a medieval castle on a hill overlooking the town of Llangollen.
Mileage: 8 miles
Day 12: Llangollen > Llanferres
The day starts off with a descent through Llandegla Forest, an area of moorland and forest. You will then journey through the Clywdian Range. You will come across Foel Fenlli, a hill on which the remains of hillfort dating back to the Iron Age can be found on the peak.
Overnight: Near Llanferres
Mileage: 13 miles
Day 13: Llanferres > Prestatyn
After already passing some yesterday, today you will pass another string of hillforts, most notably Moel Arthur and Penycloddiau. One of the main landmarks that you will see today is the Jubilee Tower on Moel Famau, a tower that was built to celebrate the 50th year of the reign George the third in 1810. You will find that the hills are quite low at this point of the trail. One of the most notable things to see at the last leg of the trail is the stone stiles north of Marian Cwm. As you walk on, you will see more and more of the sea approaching. Before you descend to the town of Prestatyn, you will be able to enjoy some wonderful views of Snowdonia and the North Wales coast.
Mileage: 16 miles
Day 14: Departure journey
Today is your final day and you will leave Prestatyn and the Offas Dyke trail behind, with a great sense of achievement!