Emma Davies

Entered the Hall of Fame:29th August 2014
Trail Completed:10th August 2014

Having previously walked the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail and Llŷn Peninsula Coastal Path I decided to head inland and walk the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail from Chepstow to Prestatyn.

 

I was unsure if I would enjoy walking an inland trail as much as a coastal path for a period of almost three weeks. First, it is very hard to go wrong on a coastal path – keep the sea on your left-hand side at all times and navigation is straight forward. Second, on a coastal path you are never far away from facilities, including public conveniences! What’s more, what if it is a wet summer and I’m faced with waterlogged fields and wet boots day after day? Finally, what about these switchbacks I keep reading about?

 

Well, waymarking and path maintenance along the Offa’s Dyke Trail was excellent, it’s a shame the same can’t be said for some of the public footpaths around Longtown and Llanbedr-Dyffryn-Clwyd. Facilities along some sections of the trail were few and far between and I was appreciative of those churches and the Oswestry Equestrian Centre that welcomed walkers. The weather at the end of July and early August was glorious so I experienced the Black Mountains, Shropshire Hills and Clwydian Range at their very best. Finally, I now know that switchbacks and zig-zags are very different beasts!

 

Would I recommend the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail to others? Most definitely. The scenery along the length of trail is so varied and beautiful. It’s a trail for those who like their effort to be rewarded in views to be savoured. At times the remains of Offa’s Dyke are truly impressive and the old oak trees only serve to remind you just how long this earthwork has been in existence. It’s also a trail for those who take the time to look out for the quirky landmarks that are not located on maps or mentioned in guidebooks. Keep your eyes peeled for the wooden stick-man on the path behind the caravan site; the words to the nursery rhyme ‘There was a Crooked Man’ inscribed on the backrest of the hedge covered bench; the eagle and owls in the tree stump, as well as the big red dragon with the green wings that lives in the garden overlooking the lane!               

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