Although people have been rumoured to complete the Trail in four days, more typically, two weeks are about right for the whole journey. Of course, many people choose to complete only short sections in day trips or to complete the whole Trail over many weeks, months or years! There are regular places to stay, eat, and drink in the vicinity of the Trail and public transport is available to key points – use the links on the right for more details.
Below is a brief south to north description of the trail, split into the same sections as in the official guidebook published by Aurum Press.
1. Sedbury Cliffs to Monmouth - 17.5 miles / 28 kilometres
Starting in England overlooking the Severn estuary the Trail passes to the east of Chepstow and continues, with spectacular views, above the eastern bank of the Wye. The Dyke itself is met for the first time and the Trail first enters Wales at Redbrook and continues, via the viewpoint at the Kymin, to the historic town of Monmouth.
2. Monmouth to Pandy - 16.75 miles / 27 kilometres
This section crosses the gently undulating and very peaceful farmland of Monmouthshire, passing a couple of small villages and the 12th century White Castle.
3. Pandy to Hay-on-Wye - 17.5 miles / 28.2 kilometres
A dramatic upland section in the Black Mountains, straddling the national border on the Hatterall ridge before descending into Hay-on Wye, famed for its numerous bookshops.
4. Hay to Kington - 14.75 miles / 23.3 kilometres
This section starts off alongside the Wye, last seen at Monmouth, before passing through the rolling territory of the Powys - Herefordshire border. As a finale to the stage the Trail rises to over 400 metres on Hergest Ridge before dropping down into Kington.
5. Kington to Knighton – 13.5 miles / 21.7 kilometres
As well as superb views from the remote hills, this stage is notable for long stretches of well preserved Dyke before the Trail enters its ‘spiritual home’ – Knighton (Tref-y-Clawdd, meaning the town on the dyke in Welsh).
6. Knighton to Brompton Crossroads – 15 miles / 24 kilometres
The ‘switchback’ section is generally reckoned to be the toughest on the Trail as it rises and falls through the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However the views and sense of tranquillity make the effort well worthwhile.
7. Brompton Crossroads to Buttington Bridge – 12.25 miles / 20 kilometres
There is ample opportunity to see the Dyke itself as it is followed, across fairly flat but very pleasant terrain, for most of the section. It is only left towards the end when the route climbs up to the earthworks of Beacon Hill fort before descending to Buttington Bridge, from where it is a short walk into Welshpool.
8. Buttington Bridge to Llanymynech – 10.5 miles / 17 kilometres
A transitional stage between the hills – almost flat throughout. The Trail follows stretches of the Montgomeryshire Canal and the River Severn before reaching the town of Llanymynech where the Wales – England border is the main street!
9. Llanymynech to Chirk Mill – 14 miles / 22.5 kilometres
After the flattest section the Trail returns to rising and falling via Llanymynech Hill, Moelydd, Candy Woods and Oswestry Old Racecourse. There are some good stretches of the Dyke itself and industrial archaeologists will be interested by the mining areas around Nantmawr.
10. Chirk Mill to Llandegla – 15.5 miles / 25.7 kilometres
This varied section includes the last stretch of the Dyke actually followed before the monument and the Trail part ways for good. After Chirk Castle (which can be reached via a permissive route in the summer only) the Trail crosses the historic Pontcysyllte aqueduct before reaching the spectacular Eglwyseg Crags near Llangollen and descending through Llandegla forest.
11. Llandegla to Bodfari – 17.5 miles /28 kilometres
Soon after Llandegla the Trail enters the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and, largely following the ridge, stays on it until just outside Prestatyn. There are ancient earthwork forts and magnificent views westwards across the Vale of Clwyd to Snowdonia and eastwards to the English border and beyond,
12. Bodfari – Prestatyn – 12 miles / 19 kilometres
The most northerly section of the Trail is still in the Clwydian Hills. Although they are smaller now the views and tranquillity are undiminished until, finally the Trail descends into Prestatyn and, after a stroll up the high street, journey’s end by the sea.