This classic hiking tour follows a famous ancient earthwork along the border of Wales and England.
A self-guided walking tour.
2018 dates: Start any day April to mid-October except as indicated below re Hay-on-Wye and Llangollen festivals.
The best season for walking the Dyke is from May to September, although good weather conditions can be encountered both earlier and later in the year. However it is very difficult to obtain accommodation in Hay-on-Wye during the annual Guardian Hay Festival. This famous annual literary festival takes place for 10 days in late May/early June. In 2018 the dates of the Hay Festival are Thursday 24 May to Sunday 3 June. It is also difficult to obtain rooms in Llangollen during the Eisteddfod Musical Festival, which in 2018 lasts from Tuesday 3 to Sunday 8 July.
Duration: This depends on how much time you have and how far you want to walk. The shortest duration tour we offer is 4 nights, e.g. from Knighton to Welshpool or from Llangollen to Prestatyn. If you want to walk for a week (7 nights), you could do Chepstow to Knighton, or Knighton to Llangollen or Welshpool to Prestatyn. To cover the whole of the national trail from Chepstow to Prestatyn can be achieved in two weeks (or less) by a strong hiker, but we recommend taking at least 15 hiking days (16 nights including overnight stops at start and end). Feel free to discuss possible variations with us before booking.
Grade and difficulty: We grade the various itineraries mainly according to the maximum distance to be walked in any one day. The least strenuous options (graded ‘Easy’) are OA6 (Chepstow to Hay-on-Wye), OA9 (Chepstow to Knighton) and OB4 (Hay to Knighton). Other options are moderate to strenuous, the most sustained strenuous section being that between Knighton and Welshpool (on OA10, OB6, OC4). For more about grade and difficulty see ‘Detailed Factsheet’ below.
Daily distances. ‘Easy’ options average 11 miles/17.5km per day, others 14 miles/22.5km per day.
Tour prices: See “Tour prices” below.
Tour codes: OA5, OA6, OA7, OA9, OA10, OA13, OA16 (starting at Chepstow); OB4, OB6, OB7, OB10, OB13 (starting at Hay-on-Wye); OC4, OC7 OC10 (starting at Knighton); OD4, OD7 (starting at Welshpool); OE4, OE5 (starting at Llangollen). The numbers indicate the standard duration (number of nights). Feel free to discuss possible variations with us before booking.
Outline itineraries. We have worked out a number of possible variations of different durations starting and ending at places with reasonably good public transport links. OA, OB etc. are tour codes. 5, 7 etc. indicates the number of nights.
OA tours starting at Chepstow :
OA5 Nights 1 Chepstow, 2 Redbrook, 3 near White Castle, 4 Llanthony/Longtown, 5 Hay-on-Wye.
OA6 Nights 1 Chepstow, 2 St Briavels, 3 Monmouth, 4 Llangattock-Lingoed, 5 Llanthony/Longtown, 6 Hay-on-Wye.
OA7 Nights 1 to 5 as OA5, then 6 Kington, 7 Knighton.
OA9 Nights 1 to 6 as OA6, then 7 Gladestry, 8 Kington, 9 Knighton.
OA10 Nights 1 to 7 as OA7, then 8 Newcastle-on-Clun, 9 Montgomery, 10 Welshpool.
OA13 Nights 1 to 10 as OA10, then 11 Llanymynech, 12 Carreg-y-Big, 13 Llangollen.
OA16 Nights 1 to 13 as OA13, then 14 near Clwyd Gate, 15 Bodfari, 16 Prestatyn.
OB tours starting at Hay-on-Wye :
OB4 Nights 1 Hay-on-Wye, 2 Gladestry, 3 Kington, 4 Knighton.
OB7 Nights 1 to 4 as OB4, then 5 Newcastle-on-Clun, 6 Montgomery, 7 Welshpool.
OB6 As OB7 but omits Gladestry.
OB10 Nights 1 to 7 as OB7, then 8 Llanymynech, 9 Carreg-y-Big 10 Llangollen.
OB13 Nights 1 to 10 as OB10, then 11 near Clwyd Gate, 12 Bodfari, 13 Prestatyn.
OC tours starting at Knighton :
OC4 Nights 1 Knighton, 2 Newcastle-on-Clun, 3 Montgomery, 4 Welshpool.
OC7 Nights 1 to 4 as OC4, then 5 Llanymynech, 6 Carreg-y-Big, 7 Llangollen.
OC10 Nights 1 to 7 as OC7, then 8 near Clwyd Gate, 9 Bodfari, 10 Prestatyn.
OD tours starting at Welshpool:
OD4 Nights 1 Welshpool, 2 Llanymynech, 3 Carreg-y-Big, 4 Llangollen.
OD7 Nights 1 to 4 as OD4, then 5 near Clwyd Gate, 6 Bodfari, 7 Prestatyn.
OE tours starting at Llangollen:
OE5 Nights 1 Llangollen, 2 Llandegla, 3 near Clwyd Gate, 4 Bodfari, 5 Prestatyn.
OE4 As OE5 but omits Llandegla.
Further combinations and variations are possible. Please ask us for a quotation if your preferred itinerary is not shown. Extra nights at places already en route may be added on at time of booking.
Accommodation: Specially selected guest houses or ‘B&Bs’. En suite (ES) or private bathroom facilities (PB) are available most nights.
Meals included: Breakfast each morning; other meals can be obtained locally without pre-booking.
Extra nights: These can be included at any point on the tour at the time of booking the holiday. For prices see ‘Tour Prices’ below.
Rail stations and train service. The nearest rail stations to the various possible starting and end points are Chepstow, Hereford (bus link with Hay-on-Wye), Knighton, Ludlow (bus link from Knighton, more frequent trains), Welshpool, Shrewsbury (train and bus link to/from Welshpool, more frequent trains than Welshpool), Ruabon (frequent bus to and from Llangollen) and Prestatyn. For more details please see our factsheet FSO (available by e-mail). Train services are less frequent on Sundays and may sometimes be slower at weekends owing to engineering works.
Airports. The airports with international flights best placed for Offa’s Dyke Path are Cardiff (CWL), Bristol (BRS), Birmingham (BHX), Manchester (MAN), London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW). For more details of rail links between airports and the starting and end points of the various tours see our ‘Detailed factsheet’ below.
OA5 (5 nights, Chepstow to Hay-on-Wye): £475.
OA6 (6 nights, Chepstow to Hay-on-Wye): £540.
OA7 (7 nights, Chepstow to Knighton): £605.
OA9 (9 nights, Chepstow to Knighton): £735.
OA10 (10 nights, Chepstow to Welshpool): £800
OA13 (13 nights, Chepstow to Llangollen): £995
OA16 (16 nights, Chepstow to Prestatyn): £1190
OB4 (4 nights, Hay-on-Wye to Knighton): £410
OB6 (6 nights, Hay-on-Wye to Welshpool): £540
OB7 (7 nights, Hay-on-Wye to Welshpool): £605
OB10 (10 nights, Hay-on-Wye to Llangollen): £995
OB13 (13 nights, Hay-on-Wye to Prestatyn): £995
OC4 (4 nights, Knighton to Welshpool): £410
OC7 (7 nights, Knighton to Llangollen): £605
OC10 (10 nights. Knighton to Prestatyn): £800
OD4 (4 nights, Welshpool to Llangollen): £410
OD7 (7 nights, Welshpool to Prestatyn): £605
OE4 (4 nights, Llangollen to Prestatyn): £410
OE5 (5 nights, Llangollen to Prestatyn): £475
- Extra nights: £60 per person per night.
- Single room supplement (applicable when 3 or 5 persons book together): £25 per night.
- Solo traveller supplement: £45 per night.
Prices quoted are per person on basis of two people in double or twin-bedded rooms. Included in the price are bed and breakfast each night, with baggage transfers, maps and route directions. ‘ES’ (en suite) facilities means that there is a private bathroom with shower or tub and toilet within the main door of your room. ‘PB’ means that the private bathroom may be outside the main door of your room.ES/private bathroom facilities cannot be guaranteed throughout on this tour (although generally available on most nights).
Offa was King of Mercia, a mainly lowland realm roughly corresponding to the present-day English Midlands, during the latter part of the 8th century A.D. To the west of Mercia lay the hill country of Wales, which must have seemed from Offa’s viewpoint a wild and uncontrollable land, populated by ruffians. Offa decided to define the western limit of his kingdom by organising the construction of a continuous north-south barrier extending 160 miles along the eastern margin of Wales from the tidal River Severn in the south to the Irish Sea in the north. This ‘Offa’s Dyke’ may have been in part a timber construction which has not survived; but for much of its length the Dyke was, and survives as, an earthwork consisting of a continuous linear earth bank, of varying height, flanked to its west by a ditch. The modern English/Welsh border still approximates to the line of the Dyke, but the boundary is now much less straight than it was in Offa’s time.
Offa’s Dyke Path
Offa’s Dyke Path is a long-distance National Trail established in 1970 and officially opened by former local resident John Hunt, leader of the first expedition to record a successful ascent of Everest. The path extends from one end of the Dyke to the other, but keeps for the most part to high ground, deviating from the line of the Dyke itself where the latter crosses the cultivated lowlands of Herefordshire and Flintshire. The Path traverses a seemingly magical and mysterious countryside of hills, valleys, moorlands, sheep pastures, farms, forests, castles, churches, old houses, inns and little market towns where the locals are pleased to pass the time of day with a stranger. Its total length is 175 miles. We now include the whole length of the Path, from its southern end on the Severn estuary near the ancient fortress town of Chepstow to its northern end at the beach resort of Prestatyn on the Irish Sea coast.
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