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Offa's County

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Overview

It can be safely assumed that Offa, an eighth century king of Mercia, didn’t think much of his Welsh neighbours.

 

In fact he spent a lot of time and trouble building a dyke all the way from one end of Wales to the other to keep us out of his back yard.

 

It’s now Britain’s longest ancient monument – and the inspiration for one of its most popular long-distance walking routes. King Offa, one suspects, would not have approved.

 

Because 177-mile-long Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail from Chepstow to Prestatyn certainly doesn’t keep Wales and England apart. It brings them together in shared enjoyment of a spectacular landscape we call Offa’s Country.

 

A network of bridleways, drover’s path and quiet lanes radiates out from the main trail into the surrounding countryside – from the dramatic Black Mountains to the riverside meadows of the Wye and Severn.

 

All this means that many walkers on Offa’s Dyke Path never quite manage to leave Mid Wales. Not with places like Powis Castle to explore and events such as the Hay Festival of Literature to distract them.

 

It can’t be easy to tug on your boots again after a sumptuous meal in a country pub and a night in a farmhouse bed. And it’s virtually impossible to tear yourself away from market towns such as Montgomery, Presteigne and Welshpool with their array of all too tempting independent shops.

 

The Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton, the only town on the dyke itself, will tell you all you need to know about Offa’s Country. And right outside the town is a forest where the last dragon in Wales lies sleeping. Wouldn’t harm to have a little look.

 

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