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Offa’s Dyke – in the time of Covid

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An account of walking Offa’s Dyke in the time of Covid 2022

Offa’s Dyke runs along the border between England and Wales. I walked from south to north, from Chepstow to Prestatyn and it took me 12 days. Sir John Hunt, leader of the 1952 Everest Expedition opened the Path in 1971 by . For over a third of its 177 miles it closely follows the earthworks of Offa’s Dyke.

The Path falls naturally into 5 stages, all different and equally interesting and challenging. It begins by following the course of the River Wye past lush water meadows and limestone cliffs from its mouth in the Severn Estuary as far as Monmouth. It then crosses farming country to reach the Black Mountains. A long ridgeway leads to to Hay, where the Wye is joined, before embarking on one of the tougher sections – the Shropshire Hills, where the Dyke is at its most evident.

The five distinct sections of Offa’s Dyke

The Severn floodplain provides a flat respite of canal towpaths and river banks until the land rises again at Llanymynech to the finale of the Eglwyseg Mountain north of Llangollen and the Clwydian Range from Llandegla to Prestatyn.

Panorama Walk, Eglwyseg Mountain

In June, Offa’s Dyke is a joyous river of bird song.  One walks through a green abundance of meadows and magnificent ancient trees – oak, ash and lime trees in new leaf. Walking, you sense the generations that have settled, farmed and fought over this land and how places harbour the memories of the people that lived and died here.

There is little tarmacked road and most of the way is along tracks and grassy paths. None is demanding, but for me it was a challenge, not least because I contracted Covid at the start. Some days were long and tiring but I enjoyed every bit and highly recommend it.

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