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Route Description

The 177 miles Offa's Dyke Path National Trail was opened in the summer of 1971, linking Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow on the banks of the Severn estuary with the North Wales coastal town of Prestatyn. The Trail is named after, and often follows, the spectacular Offa's Dyke, a great frontier earthwork, which Offa the King of Mercia from 757 to 796 A.D. ordered to be constructed. The following is intended to provide further information about the route. Please note that all distances and heights are approximate and along with all the other information are provided as an aid to describe the route.


The terrain varies from riverside paths, country lanes, farmland, rolling hills and mountain paths.

Waymarking and Navigation

The route is sensibly waymarked and generally easy to follow with the aid of a map and guidebook.

Sedbury Cliffs/Chepstow (height above sea level 10m) to Monmouth (20m).

Offa’s Dyke Path (ODP) starts in England at Sedbury Cliffs (near to Chepstow) overlooking the Severn estuary. The Dyke itself is first met at the very start of the ODP, close to Sedbury Cliff. The ODP passes to the east of Chepstow with views of Chepstow Castle. From here the ODP continues its journey north on the eastern side of the River Wye high on the tree lined escarpment with a number of classic viewpoints, one of the most iconic being the view of Tintern Abbey from Devil’s Pulpit. The Wye Valley is one of the finest lowland landscapes in Britain and was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1971. Along this section the ODP offers several route options which meet at Bigsweir. The ODP continues through woodland and at Redbrook it makes the first of many border crossings between England and Wales, and continues to Monmouth, a Welsh border town situated at the confluence of the Rivers Wye, Monnow and Trothy and perhaps best known as the birthplace of Henry V.

Monmouth (20m) to Llangattock Lingoed (150m).

From the town centre the ODP crosses over the 13th century Monnow Bridge, the only remaining medieval fortified bridge in Great Britain. Leaving behind the River Wye the ODP crosses quiet rolling farmland, mainly sheep country. It passes through woodland on route to Hendre, it then crosses farmland to the church at Llanvihangel-Ystern-Llewern, and continues to the village of Llantilio Crossenny. Continuing across the rolling farmland the ODP passes alongside the medieval White Castle on route to the village of Llangattock Lingoed and the medieval St. Cadoc's Church.

Llangattock Lingoed (150m) to Longtown (140m).

Approaching Pandy there are great views of the Black Mountains including Hatterrall Ridge over which the next part of the Trail passes.From Pandy a steady climb brings you to the first upland section of the ODP. It takes the route along Hatterrall Ridge in the Black Mountains, which are the eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Once the first summit has been reached the ODP follows a well-defined ridge walk with stunning views to either side. Much of the ODP follows the ridge path at over 600metres. A few miles into the ridge crossing descend from 500metres and overnight at Longtown (140m) with its 12th century Norman Castle.

Longtown (140m) to Hay-on-Wye (90m).

The following morning transport will take you a short way back uphill from where you follow a footpath for a 300metre climb back onto the ridge. Continue to follow the ridge crossing Hay Bluff (677m) which is the northern high point of the ridge from where the ODP descends into Hay-on-Wye (90m), famed for its numerous bookshops, the town also has the ruins of two Norman castles.

Hay-on-Wye (90m) to Kington (170m).

From Hay-on-Wye the ODP follows level paths alongside the River Wye, last seen in Monmouth. After a couple of miles the ODP leaves the river to begin a rolling route through farmland. The ODP climbs and contours around Little Mountain (approx. 320m) then descends into the village of Newchurch (240m) - the church here is always open and welcomes walkers and you can help yourself to a cup of tea for a small donation. The ODP climbs again into rolling hills before descending into in Gladestry (225m). The final stage across hill country before Kington is to follow the ODP over Hergest Ridge (426m) with wonderful views all-round. Crossing the ridge you pass an old racecourse which is exactly a mile around. This area was also the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles and Mike Oldfield’s second album Hergest Ridge. Descending from the ridge you join a road which leads to the historic market town of Kington.

Kington (170m) to Knighton (175m).

On this stage the ODP follows long stretches of well-preserved Dyke before it enters Knighton (Tref-y-Clawdd, meaning the town on the dyke in Welsh). On leaving Kington the ODP rise over Brandor Hill and its golf course. A high point of approx. 390m makes Kington Golf Course the highest in England. Soon after the ODP meets up with Offa’s Dyke on Rushock Hill (375m), from this point to Chirk Castle the ODP and Offa’s Dyke keep each other company for most of the journey. The ODP now continues its journey across the rolling countryside. The highest peak on this section is Hawthorn Hill (407m) a few miles before Knighton. There are stunning views from the hill and one of Owain Glyndwr’s (the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales) famous battle sites can also be seen from here where he fought the English at the Battle of Pilleth, with the square clump of trees that mark the burial site of the soldiers. The final decent brings you down into the historic market town of Knighton, almost the half-way point along Offa’s Dyke Path and the home of the Offa’s Dyke Centre.

Knighton (175m) to Brompton (140m).

This next section of the ODP is generally regarded to be the toughest. This is the ‘switchback’ section and the ODP rises and falls through the Shropshire Hills an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However the views make the effort worthwhile. Shortly after leaving Knighton the ODP climbs into the Shropshire Hills, the highest point is 430metres as the ODP crosses Llanfair Hill alongside some of the best preserved sections of Offa’s Dyke. Just above Newcastle on Clun you are at the true midpoint of the ODP, with its midway marker, a good photo opportunity for all walkers. The ODP descends into the Clun Valley. The ODP climbs into the hills again and at Hergan there is what seems to be a natural break in the Dyke, where the Shropshire Way joins the Dyke for a short distance. There are very few villages on this section but a number of hidden gems await the walker, one of these is Churchtown - at the foot of a narrow valley you find the church, but no sign of a town. Within a couple of miles the ODP crosses the Kerry Ridgeway trail from this point on it is level or downhill. Shortly before Brompton the ODP goes through the hamlet of Cwm and passes Mellington Hall, areas with a scattering of accommodation.

Brompton (140m) to Buttington Bridge (70m).

For the next couple of miles the ODP follows the Dyke across fairly level terrain as it passes to the right of Montgomery. The ODP then rises to pass Nantcribba and over the next few miles continues to rise to Beacon Ring (408m), the earthworks of the ancient hill fort on the summit of Long Mountain, with views down to Welshpool. The ODP then descends to Buttington Bridge where you meet the River Severn, from where it is a short walk into the busy market town of Welshpool.

Buttington Bridge (70m) to Trefonen (175m).

This walk to Llanymynech is almost flat throughout and is the easiest section of the ODP. Leaving Buttington Bridge the ODP follows the Montgomery Canal and then River Severn for several miles before crossing fields to the village of Four Crosses. The ODP then follows the Montgomery Canal to the town of Llanymynech (75m) where the Wales – England border is the main street! After the flattest section the ODP, it returns to rising and falling via Llanymynech Hill (226m) and Moelydd (285m). The summit of Moelydd is one of the surprises of the day - the 360 degree views are stunning and a topascope helps you identify the many hills you see. Trefonen is just a short walk away.

Trefonen (175m) to Llangollen (100m).

Continuing its way north across the rolling countryside the ODP passes a few miles from the town of Oswestry. Oswestry, or "Oswald's Tree", is generally thought to be derived from Oswald's death there and the legends surrounding it. Oswald lived in the 7th century and was the powerful King of Northumbria. He spread Christian religion in Northumbria and soon after his death came to be regarded as a saint. The 97 mile route from Holy Island to Heavenfield, in Northumbria, is named after St Oswald. The ODP continues across the rolling countryside then descends to the River Ceiriog at Castle Mill, close to Chirk. From the river the summer season path leads past Chirk Castle, set in 480 acres of parklands. With over 700 years of history, and as the last castle from this period still lived in today, you can visit if time allows. From the castle the ODP crosses a few miles of farmland towards Trevor where you have the option to cross Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, now listed as a World Heritage Site it is the largest aqueduct in Britain. It is now only a few miles to Llangollen, a town situated on the River Dee, and there are two possible routes to take.

Llangollen (100m) to Clwyd Gate (286m).

The ODP is above Llangollen where it passes medieval castle Dinas Bran (320m), overlooking the town, at Trevor Rocks. A climb up from the town brings you to the route. This area is now part of the Clwydian Range, the series of hills and mountains before the ODP arrives at Prestatyn. For the next few miles the ODP contours round below the crags of Eglwyseg Mountain to the well named ‘World’s End’ (300m). The ODP then passes over the moorland (475m) before descending through Llandegla Forest, to Llandegla (250m). For a short distance the route stays close to the River Alyn then climbs bank into Clwydian Range and for much of the time you are following the heather clad ridge that is so prominent in this area to Clwyd Gate.

Clwyd Gate (286m) to Bodfari (40m).

From Clwyd Gate the ODP continues along the ridge over the hills and mountains of the Clwydian Range. It passes over or beside a string of ancient hill forts on its journey including Foel Fenlli, Moel Arthur and Penycloddiau. The key landmark on this section of the ODP is Jubilee Tower on the top of Moel Famau (554m). The tower was built to celebrate the 50th year of the reign of George 3rd in 1810. The summit of Moel Famau is also the high point on this section of the ODP. This section affords magnificent views westwards across the Vale of Clwyd to Snowdonia and eastwards to the English border and beyond. The ODP descends from the hills into the valley and the village of Bodfari.

Bodfari (40m) to Prestatyn (5m).

For the next few miles the ODP continues over the last remaining, but lower, hills of the Clwydian Range to Rhuallt village. The ODP continues over the rolling countryside and views of the sea open up as you approach journeys end. Fabulous views of Snowdonia and the North Wales coast are seen from Prestatyn Hillside before you descend into the town and onwards to the end of the ODP at Prestatyn beach. Traditionally at this point boots and socks are removed and a walk into the Irish Sea marks the end of your journey and gives some relief to those tired feet.

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