Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail

By Dave Roberts   

on October 1, 2018    5/5 (2)

Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail

LDP Details

Route Summary: 

Walk a National Trail on the Welsh/English border, following the famous 8th century Dyke constructed by King Offa of Mercia.

Where does the Offa's Dyke  Start and Finish:

Sedbury Cliffs (in England) Near Chepstow to Prestatyn on the North Wales Coast.

Offa's Dyke Weather Forecast:

Where is the Offa's Dyke 

It follow the Wales / England border

How long will it take to walk the Offa's Dyke 

12 days is the ‘official’ estimate.

How Long is the Offa's Dyke 

285 Kilometers

How hard is it to complete the Offa's Dyke ?  

It’s not an easy National Trail, with varying landscapes and a total ascent of over 9000 meters!

Recommended Offa's Dyke Maps

201 Knighton & Presteigne216 Welshpool & Montgomery240 Oswestry256 Wrexham & Llangollen265 Clwydian RangeOL13 Brecon Beacons National Park Eastern areaOL14 Wye Valley & Forest of Dean

Offa's Dyke Highlights:

In addition to the Offa’s Dyke of course you will pass 3 AONB’s in the form of the Clwydian Hills, Shropshire Hills and Wye Valley as well as the Brecon Beacons’ National Park

What’s Public Transport Like on the Offa's Dyke ? 

Public transport can be patchy, we recommend you visit Traveline Wales for details. There’s a railway station at Chepstow and Prestatyn, so either end of the trail is well served.

Offa's Dyke Guidebooks:

Hills and Places on Offa's Dyke

Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail

The Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail is a long distance footpath that is famously on the border of England and Wales. It was opened in 1971, is 285 kilometres in length, and has a rich history that goes back to the 8th century. Sections of “Offa’s Dyke”, built by Offa of Mercia in the 8th Century are still visible in places. It’s original purpose is not agreed on, it marked the border between Wales and Mercia.

Walking Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail can vary in terms of length of time, as with most LDP’s it solely depends on the walker’s abilities. On average it takes around 12 days.

Due in large part to the border that the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail shares, you’ll find that it has garnered a great deal of attention from the media and tourism boards alike. Wales, England and Britain as a whole have partnered together to promote the well loved trail, and it has been featured on the hit show, “Britain’s Ancient Tracks with Tony Robinson” no less!

There are several towns that the trail passes nearby and even through, for those that wish to stop along their walk. These towns include  Monmouth, Hay-on-wye, Kington, Kington, Welshpool and Llangollen.

Many will walk the trail from South to North and is the favoured option that features in most guidebooks, though there is a guidebook detailing the walk North to South, so it’s up to you. Those looking for a further alternative could couple it with the Glyndwr’s Way National Trail which it (almost) intersects with at Welshpool and Knighton.

Offa’s Dyke National Trail Distance Chart

Offa's Dyke National Trail Distance Chart

Note that a few of the locations above are ‘near’ the town or village and may require a slight detour or transport organised. Llanthony requires a descent from the ridge, Trefaldwyn/Montgomery is a few extra kilometres as is Llangollen. Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd is the A494 at the Clwyd Gate Restaurant (which we believe is currently CLOSED)

Offa’s Dyke National Trail Route Summary

The Offa’s Dyke National Trail can be split neatly into 12 day sections, which allow for plenty of variety and options as seen above. The 12 days range from nearly 31km on the first day to 17.5km for the leg between Buttington Bridge to Llanymynech, so you could conceivably complete it in 10 days with 30km day. Timings given for each legs are based on Naismith’s Rule and do not allow for breaks – you’ll need to add that, or for carrying a heavy pack. Assume each section will take you a long day and you’ll be close to the mark.

Offa’s Dyke from Sedbury Cliffs (Chepstow) to Trefynwy / Monmouth

Distance – 30.5 km, Height Gained – 1100 metres, Time – 8 hours

Offa’s Dyke starts from Sedbury Cliffs which is incidentally in England and you’ll need to work out how to actually get here with a taxi from Chepstow Railway Station to the minor road outside Sedbury (ST547 930) and walking an extra half a kilometre to the actual start along the LDP. The first section is also the longest, and dominated by the woodlands and riverside walks through the Wye Valley. There’s also a load of ascent on this section, with around 1100m to climb. That’s the most of any day on the entire trail, so there’s no easing you into it gently. The leg finishes in Trefynwy / Monmouth, a small border town on the Welsh side known for it’s history, including roman remains, and Pont Trefynwy (Monnow Bridge) which is the only remaining fortified medieval bridge in the country.

Offa’s Dyke from Trefynwy / Monmouth to Pandy

Distance – 26 km, Height Gained – 580 metres, Time – 6hr 10min

The next section travels through more lowland, visiting rural villages and a castle. There are a number of churches on the route, but very few places for refreshments until you reach Llangattock Lingoed (The Hunter’s Moon). White Castle is at the 17km point on the day’s journey and worth a visit. Established by the Normans after 1066 to protect the road from Wales to Hereford it was part of the Three Castles lordship which had a role in protecting the Marches from the Welsh, who wanted the English out. The section ends at Pandy – rather stranded on the A465 with the village of Llanfihangel Crucorney a few kilometres down the road. On the plus side, The Old Pandy Inn is directly on the path, as well as The Rising Sun and The Skirrid Mountain Inn in the village giving you plenty of choice for the night’s refreshments.

Offa’s Dyke from Pandy to Y Gelli Gandryll / Hay-on-Wye

Distance – 26 km, Height Gained – 760 metres, Time – 6hr 30min

Day three sees Offa’s Dyke path climb over the Black Mountains and follows the border between Wales and England for most of the day. While these may be the highest hills the trail traverses, once you’re up there it’s a reasonably flat walk. The path is wide and easily followed, but it could be tricky if you go off path in mist. While the highest point is Black Mountain at 703 metres high, Hay Bluff a bit further on (and an optional path) is more interesting. It’s then down to the bookshop town of Y Gelli Gandryll / Hay-on-wye where if you do get tempted by the books, then you’ll probably need to get them posted on to you!

Alternatively, you can descend to Llanthony in the Vale of Ewyas if you wanted a shorter day by following the Loxidge Trail that’s a link route between Offa’s Dyke and Llanthony. There’a a priory here and a couple of pubs, making it a good spot to stay overnight.

Offa’s Dyke from Y Gelli Gandryll / Hay-on-Wye to Kington

Distance – 24 km, Height Gained –690 metres, Time – 6 hrs

From Hay-on-wye, the trail appropriately follows the Wye for the first part, before heading through farmland and woodland to the hamlet of Newchurch. It’s then a bit more climbing, over DIsgwylfa Hill and back down into Gladestry which has the only pub on this section of trail – The Royal Oak. They have limited opening hours, but they will apparently respond to ringing the doorbell at lunchtimes if they’re closed! The final part of this section involves a walk over the Hergest ridge, which rises to over 400m before descending into Kington – which is over the border in England.

Offa’s Dyke from Kington to Knighton / Tref-y-Clawdd

Distance – 21.5 km, Height Gained – 780 metres, Time – 5hrs 30min

There’s one thing that the trail has seen very little of up to now and that is the actual Offa’s Dyke. This section starts by heading over Rushock Hill where you’ll find a clear section of the dyke. The remainder of this section follows various sections of Offa’s Dyke up and down numerous hills before ending the day in Tref-y-clawdd / Knighton with no facilities along this section other than at the start and end.

Offa’s Dyke from Tref-y-Clawdd  / Knighton to Brompton Crossroads

Distance – 24.5 km, Height Gained – 1050 metres, Time – 6 hours 40 min

This section continues similar to the previous section, with walks along the actual Offa’s Dyke. Some of the sections between Llanfair Hill and Spoad Hill are the best preserved sections of the earthwork and the most impressive. The section also crosses the Shropshire Hills AONB

This is literally the middle section of the National Trail as just  past Newcastle-on-Clun around half way on this section, you’ll come to the official half way point of the entire trail that’s clearly marked on an official half way way-marker! It may make a short diversion into Newcastle-on-Clun which has the only pub on this leg – The Crown Inn for a celebratory pint!

Don’t overdo it though, as this is a tough section and one of only three where the overall ascent is over 1000m, which is more than you’ll climb walking up Snowdon. You’ll need to organise accommodation at the end as Brompton Crossroads is just that – with a pub – The Blue Bell – and that’s it. You’ll need to pop into Churchstoke if you want to base yourself in a village for the night or continue around 7km to Trafaldwyn (Monrtgomery) which is a couple of km from the trail but offers a few more choices.

Offa’s Dyke from Brompton Crossroads to Buttington Bridge

Distance – 19 km, Height Gained – 510 metres, Time – 4 hours 40 min

This is a shorter section, starting off along the actual Offa’s Dyke with more visible sections, it also appropriately follows the Wales/England border for sections. Dominated by farmland, the leg passes close to the village of Ffordun / Fforden which has a pub (The Cock Hotel). It’s then through the Leighton woodlands above Y Trallwng / Welshpool from which the hills of Snowdonia are visible before this shorter section finishes at Buttington just outside Welshpool. There’s a pub – The Green Dragon – at Buttington, or plenty more facilities in nearby Welshpool. There is also a railway station, which makes this a good point to finish the walk if you want to complete the ODP in more than one trip.

Offa’s Dyke from Buttington Bridge to Llanymynech

Distance – 17.5 km, Height Gained – 90 metres, Time – 4 hours

This is the shortest day on the walk, starting off along the Afon Hafren / River Severn and the Montgomery Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal with hardly any ascent involved. It’s then through the village of Four Crosses (with a few facilities) and a section on a busy road (a shock after all this time) before crossing the Afon Efyrynwy / River Vyrynwy and rejoining the Montgomery Canal on the final section into Llanymynech.

Offa’s Dyke from Llanymynech to Chirk Mill

Distance – 22.5 km, Height Gained – 820 metres, Time – 6 hours

The trail becomes much less remote as we pass through many more villages on the daily sections. Setting off initially up and over  Llanymynech Hill, the ODP continues through the villages of Porth-y-waen and Nantmawr before the larger settlement of Trefonnen. Here at Trefonnen, you’ll find the Barley Mow Inn – which has its own brewery – aptly named the Offa’s Dyke Brewery. The ODP continues, with some impressive sections of the dyke visible in places and onward to Racecourse Common.

Oswestry’s Racecourse Common, until the mid 19th century, was the site of a proper racecourse and some stones are all that remain of the course’s grandstand. The section ends just outisde Chirk, and you’ll need some imagination to organise accommodation for the night or continue onward to Froncysyllte, adding a further 7km to the day.

Offa’s Dyke from Chirk Mill to Llandegla

Distance – 25 km, Height Gained – 915 metres, Time – 6 hours 30 min

The ODP now traverses the entire length of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB for the final three days, passing first over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which is designated as a World Heritage Site. Completed in 1805, it’s the oldest and highest navigable aqueduct in the world. You’ll needa head for heights to cross this!

While the trail doesn’t pass through Llangollen, it gets close and is a reasonable option for an overnight stop. It continues beneath the impressive limestone escarpment of Eglwyseg Mountain before heading to World’s End and up and over to Llandegla.

Offa’s Dyke from Llandegla to Bodfari

Distance – 29 km, Height Gained – 1090 metres, Time – 7 hours 35min

The penultimate section, and one of the longest and toughest sees the ODP traverse the entire Clwydian Range. While they’re not the highest hills, there’s quite a few of them and plenty of climbing between them. That’s despite the trail’s effort to avoid the actual summits, getting perilously close to Foel Fenlli that it would be rude not to walk to the highest point. Moel Famau is the first proper summit that on this section, which at 549 metres is the highest point on the ODP since it passed over the Black Mountain and second highest point overall. It continues along and around the main spine of the Clwydian Range, passing the hill fort of Moel Arthur and over the hill fort on Penycloddiau before finally descending to Bodfari.

Offa’s Dyke from Bodfari – Prestatyn

Distance – 20 km, Height Gained – 670 metres, Time – 5 hours

The remainder of the Clwydian Range make nothing more than a token effort to being hills on the final day, keeping well under 300m. Passing over the busy A55, it’s then through the village of Rhuallt before a final meandering walk to finish the route at the seafront in Prestatyn.


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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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