Offa’s Dyke Path is a 177 mile long National Trail that runs along the Welsh-English border. It was officially opened in Knighton by Lord Hunt in the summer of 1971. It has since become known as one of Britain’s best-loved long-distance footpaths.
Offa’s Dyke Path is named after Offa’s Dyke, a gigantic linear earthwork that is said to have been built on the orders of King Offa of Mercia in the 8th century. Offa’s Dyke runs through the English/Welsh borders, from Treuddyn to Sedbury Cliffs. The path itself follows, for about 60 miles, the remnants of the ancient dyke. Offa’s Dyke Path is the only National Trail that follows a man-made structure.
Walkers usually opt to walk the path from south to north, starting from the Severn Estuary at Sedbury and finishing the journey at the coastal town of Prestatyn on Liverpool Bay. The path tends to follow higher ground, which gives ramblers ample opportunity to view the lush surroundings. The path passes through different kinds of landscape, through the unspoilt Welsh Marches, high moors, floodplains, river valleys, and areas of ancient woodland. Offa’s Dyke Path passes through 80 different counties and crosses over the English/Welsh borders more than 20 times. The “switchback” area between Knighton and Brompton Crossroads, which runs for fifteen miles and requires ramblers to make numerous climbs and descents, is reputed to be the most difficult part of the hike. Other challenging portion of the path include going through the Black Mountains followed by the climb up and descent from Haterall Ridge, which is about 1000 feet high.
Depending on the weather and visibility as well as the overall physical fitness of the climber, finishing the entire path takes, on average, 14 days. The area is known for sudden changes of weather and unexpected rain, even during the height of summer, as well as several boggy patches, so a pair of waterproof four-season hiking boots such as the Scarpa SL BX M3 Boot would probably serve a rambler better than one or two-season hiking boots.
Offa’s Dyke Path also links together the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills, and the Clwydian Hills.