Walking Holidays in Wales - UK - Wales - Offa's Dyke and The Marches


Holiday Highlights
  • A Borderland full of history, myths and legends
  • Discover Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Views are magnificent in all directions as one hill rolls gently onto the next


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Self Guided walking holiday - Click here to find out more about Self Guided walking holidays          

 
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This is a land bathed in mysterious history. A land, Celtic in origin, of saints and stones. A land where around almost every corner one finds something ancient. Almost every hilltop is clad with the remains of a fort or castle and burial mounds are scattered far and wide. The valley below hides lanes deep and narrow as they wind between hidden settlements whose habitation extends into the past as far as history can record.

Extending virtually the whole length of the border between Wales and England, the Offa’s Dyke is renowned as the defence King Offa ordered to be constructed in the 8th Century to divide the kingdom of Mercia, England from several smaller kingdoms, later to become Wales. Views are magnificent in all directions as one hill rolls gently onto the next with wonderfully level stretches in between which wind round hilltop forts and castellated mounds. Far below, ancient villages and medieval towns dot the valley floors where many a river forms a winding silvery trail. The path is well signed and easy to follow, but there lies another, intriguing side to this part of the trail; a side which is mysterious, legendary, and magical.

Leaving behind the Clwydian Hills, you follow the delightful Dee Valley (AONB) to cross the World Heritage Site of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the magnificent Marcher stronghold of Chirk Castle. Holding a vital strategic location on the English-Welsh border, a statement of English intent in these once disputed lands. Back among the hills,mysterious hillforts dominate the landscape, affording extensive panoramic views. Follow the River Severn along the Montgomery Canal, with easier walking along the Dyke taking you through the lowlands of Montgomery with its ancient castle ruins. While the undulating hills of the Shropshire-Powys border offer a haven of tranquility with secluded valleys and quiet country villages.

Extended stay

Llangollen, always a honeypot for visitors due to its stunning setting on the River Dee and backdrop of dramatic hills, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Set in the lush rolling hills of the Marches, the market town of Knighton marks the mid-point on the Offa’s Dyke Path. Tref-y-Clawdd, meaning ‘town on the Dyke’, is the Welsh name for Knighton and reflects its unique position on the line of the Offa’s Dyke. 

Day 1: Arrival

Arrive in the beautiful town of Llangollen. There is plenty to peruse, with a wealth of cafes and independent shops. Enjoy a tranquil horse drawn boat trip along the Llangollen Canal or take a ride on the steam train through the magnificent Dee Valley.

Overnight Llangollen

Day 2: Llangollen to Castle Mill  

Leaving the charming town of Llangollen, todays walk takes you along the world famous Pontcysllte Aqueduct. Completed in 1805 by Thomas Telford, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the world’s highest navigable aqueduct. If heights aren’t for you, the official path follows the old bridge over the River Dee to the village of Froncysyllte. Where the two paths join, continue along the canal towpath and on to Ty’n-y-Groes, with fine views across farmland to Chirk Castle. A short descent through woodland brings you to Castle Mill in the beautiful Ceiriog valley. Transfer to your accommodation. 

Overnight Pontfadog

Ascent: 480m Descent: 450m Distance: 10 miles Time: 4.5 hrs   

Day 3: Castle Mill to Llanymynech

Transfer to start of the walk. As you ascend from Castle Mill you follow the line of the Dyke towards Selattyn Hill (372m), a Bronze Age ring cairn. Following gentle slopes, you reach the heathlands of Racehouse Common. Passing through the delightful Candy Woods to Morda Valley you cross the summit of the mysterious Moelydd Hill (285m). Despite its modest height it offers superb panoramic views. Discover the industrial heritage of the area at the limestone quarry of Llanymynech before arriving at your accommodation.

Overnight Llanymynech

Ascent: 650m Descent: 800m Distance: 15 miles Time: 7hrs

Day 4: Llanymynech to Buttington Bridge

Today offers gentle walking. Enjoy peace and tranquility as you walk along the towpath of the Montgomery Canal. Continue through farmland before following the course of the River Severn, with the Breidden Hills dominating the view from the surrounding plains. Upon reaching the old Cambrian Railway line, the path rejoins the towpath to Buttington Bridge. Your accommodation is just a short distance from the path.

Ascent: 25m Descent: 40m Distance: 10 ½ miles Time: 4.5hrs

Overnight Welshpool

Day 5: Buttington Bridge to Mellington

Climb to the summit of Beacon Ring hill fort (408m), before dropping down through the Victorian Leighton estate. Ancient trees tower above, the path now running beside the Dyke. Skirt past the villages of Kingswood and Forden, crossing the Plain of Montgomery and the River Camlad. The Dyke is now a prominent feature, with views to the west of Montgomery, overlooked by its ancient castle ruins. Continue across farmland, with distant views of Corndon Hill and the Kerry Hill ridgeway. Your accommodation is just a short distance from the path.

 Ascent: 500m Descent: 400m Distance: 14 miles Time: 5.5hrs

Overnight Mellington

Day 6: Mellington to Newcastle on Clun

Cross the Kerry ridgeway, an ancient drovers’ route known as the oldest road in Wales, before embarking on the challenging Switchbacks section. Undulating through the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the magnificent views certainly make the short steep rise and falls worthwhile. This section also features among the best-preserved sections of the Dyke. At the foot of the pretty valley of the River Unk you reach the isolated church of St John the Baptist. Proceed along the shoulder of Hergan Hill before arriving at the midpoint of the Offa’s Dyke Path. Transfer to the lovely town of Clun, with its ruined castle and 15th century packhorse bridge.

Ascent: 450m Descent: 400m Distance: 8 ½ miles Time: 4hrs

Overnight Clun

Day 7: Newcastle on Clun to Knighton

Transfer to start of walk. Ascend along the side of Graig Hill passing through rolling farmland to meet the River Clun. Continuing through the Clun valley, you are now following a long section of byway crossing Llanfair Hill (430m) and sharing your route briefly with the Jack Mytton Way. Beyond is Cwm-Sanham Hill (410m), which offers you your first glimpse of Knighton. From here, the path levels off with views over the meandering River Teme and beyond to the Knucklas viaduct. Climb to the summit of Panpunton Hill (370m) where you will find a memorial bench and cairn dedicated to the pioneers of the Offa’s Dyke Path. Joining the River Teme you soon reach Knighton. If you have time, visit the Offa’s Dyke Centre featuring an exhibition and interpretive displays on the Dyke.

Ascent: 645m Descent: 600m Distance: 7 ½ miles Time: 4hrs

Overnight Knighton

Walk Grading

The average day is 10 miles with some longer days and ups and downs of a moderate nature. 

Total for standard week ignoring variations: - Ascent 2750m, Descent 2690m, 66 miles.

Self-Guided

Our Offa’s Dyke trek is offered on a self-guided basis. We provide full walking notes and all the relevant maps and backup support you may need.

Baggage Transfer

Throughout this trek your luggage (1 bag per person) is transported from hotel to hotel so it will not be necessary to carry more than a light pack containing items you will need during the day.

Offa's Dyke - Llangollen to Knighton

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We have personally stayed in or visited all our accommodations. They have all been selected for their great locations, friendly atmosphere, and traditional hospitality, as well as the warm welcome they offer to walkers. View More Information for a summary of our usual accommodations*.

On this trek, you spend 1 night in a converted grade 2 listed B&B, 1 night in a traditional farmhouse, 1 night in a cosy homestay and 4 nights in a variety of characterful coaching inns. 

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Availability Information

When to Go

The Offa’s Dyke trail is best experienced ‘out of season’ although it is a year-round destination.

Late autumn, winter and early spring offer the walker the stunning beauty and true spiritual essence of this remarkable landscape with empty paths, quiet places to stay and of course, the variable Welsh weather. The rest of the year whilst generally offering a more stable climate, is busier with visitors.

Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit.

When to book your walking holiday in Wales - UK - Wales - Offa's Dyke and The Marches

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