The complete route (Chepstow to Prestatyn):
During my planning of several previous hikes, my mother repeatedly told me of a splendid, adventurous trek she had discovered while reading a British travel magazine. I finally listened to her, read the article about the Offa’s Dyke Path and yes, she was right, it did look interesting. Since I knew little about Wales and didn’t have a clue about Offa or the history of the area, I ordered several hiking guides to see if this was worth additional consideration for a future hike. I learned:
Offa became the king of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom in central Britain known as Mercia in 757AD. A powerful king who effectively worked to increase the size of his kingdom, Offa was twice unsuccessful in conquering the Celtic population across the border in Wales. To protect his British lands from these Welsh antagonists, Offa built a dyke along the British border with Wales. Each farmer living near the border was required to build 20 feet of the dyke, which (more than 1300 years later) remains a visible reminder of the cultural separation between these two countries.
The 182 mile path follows Offa’s Dyke fairly closely, alternately wandering through areas of Wales and England along their border. By the end of our walk, the total of 201.54 miles included a little exploring and off-trail hiking. Our total elevation gain of 29,262′ disproves the common notion that Wales is flat. The following links will carry you through the Path as we experienced it.
(Note: At the end of each day’s blog entry is a link to the beginning of the next day AND a space for your comments.)
(Hiking Companion: Sarah Allday, from the Silver Lake Hiking Club.)