Statistics: 14.9 miles, ascent 2565′, 7 hours
As we were checking our GPS to find the correct way out of Kington, a man with two greyhounds strolled by us and said, “that way.” As we rounded the next street corner a woman leaned out of her upstairs window and pointed out this same direction. Is this a common problem or did we look lost? Either they couldn’t wait to get us out of town or (most likely) they were just being very friendly and helpful, as were most people we encountered.
Leaving town we passed a “help yourself” basket of apples, grabbed a few for the trek and headed out for the long climb to Bradnor Hill. As we ascended, the valleys and hills we had tramped the previous several days became visible behind us. It was amazing to look as far as I could see and realize that we had walked all of it!
Nearing the top of this rise in the trail we arrived at Kington Golf Course, the highest golf course in all of England.
The golfers and the golf club were most welcoming to us as we walked through several golf rounds (games) in progress. It looked like a tough course, primarily on the side of a hill and with bracken everywhere. There is probably a fortune in golf balls lying under the bracken.
Continuing on through the rolling countryside, the marked trail moved away from Offa’s Dyke for a time, during which we came upon another hiker, Sylvia, who appeared to be unable to find the trail. We asked if she would like to join us, to which she immediately replied, “Yes!” She hiked with us for the long pull up Hawthorne Hill, which led us to rejoin the dyke. The trail headed right down the middle of it.
Dolley Green is a little village with a small, Baptist church that has opened its WC (or bathroom) to walkers, also providing water for those that are thirsty. The bathroom had a walkers’ guestbook to record our visit!
Along the way we ran into the ever present sheep.
The dyke was especially enjoyable when it wound through the woods.
We dropped into Knighton which was much larger than we had expected and found our B&B, The Horse and Jockey Inn, a 14th century coaching inn. Our very comfortable room was in the remodeled stables.
The official Offa’s Dyke Center is located in Knighton. My hiking friend from California, Sarah, and I enjoyed visiting its museum and we bought several trail mementos. On the way back to the center of town we had a lovely cream tea and scones (our afternoon sustenance whenever possible) at The Clock Tower Tea Rooms, named for the town’s clock tower across the street. The owners of the shop were most friendly and informed us that there is a difference between an English cream tea and a Welsh cream tea. It all seems to revolve around whether the jam or the cream goes on the scone first.
After resupplying for tomorrow’s lunches we returned to the B&B and had a delicious dinner in the charming and traditional Horse and Jockey dining room.