Pathways > The Pathways book > Dykes and ditches

Dykes and ditches

The British Isles are littered with dykes and ditches, many of which are of unknown origin. In England there are dozens, some of which are very substantial earthworks stretching for miles across the countryside.

Because many have names with an Anglo-Saxon derivation they have previously been assumed to date from that era, possibly erected to defend against invading Viking armies. Some, such as Offa's Dyke (the only one credited to an individual), are certainly Anglo-Saxon. However recent excavations have begun to suggest that many are much earlier, dating from around the Roman withdrawal from Britain around 410AD.

If that is the case the dykes paint a picture of a country unified under the Romans disintegrating into old tribal factions once the central power-base was gone (rather as happened more recently with Yugoslavia). The construction of the dykes would have coincided with the refortification of some Iron Age hill forts. It is an intriguing notion.  

The Oswestry Old Racecourse and Offa's Dyke walk, featured in the book, is free to download once you have joined as a member of Walkingworld.

Below you can read the full chapter from the book.
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In the centuries after the Romans left Britain and before the arrival of the Normans in 1066, a considerable number of long linear earthworks were constructed across the country, of which Offa’s Dyke is the best known. They were clearly designed as defensive barriers, but who built them and against what threat is largely lost in the mists of time. This was, after all, the period that we call the Dark Ages.

In the past many of these formidable structures were attributed to the Anglo-Saxons and presumed to be fortifications against the invading Danes and Norsemen. Certainly many of the names by which they are now known would appear to have Anglo-Saxon derivations. But, Offa apart, these names usually refer to legendary rather than historical figures or places, suggesting that the original purpose of the structure was very quickly superseded and forgotten, even by Anglo-Saxon times.

In Cambridgeshire a well-preserved linear earthwork now called the Devil’s Dyke does appear to be Anglo-Saxon, dating from the sixth or seventh centuries. The dyke stretches seven miles to the west of Newmarket, from the fen edge at Reach to the claylands at Woodditton, and is the last in a series of defensive linear earthworks that stretch south-west, including Fleam Dyke, Brent Ditch and Bran Ditch.

The Devil’s Dyke may have been constructed by Penda, the Saxon king of the East Angles, to protect the East Anglian Saxons from the Britons to the west. Stretching across the open chalk lands between the impassable fenland to the north and the thickly wooded land to the south, it would have formed an effective barrier. The Britons often fought on horseback while the Saxons were usually on foot, so the dyke and ditch, possibly filled with thorny bushes, would have prevented the use of cavalry in a confrontation.

The monument has had several recorded names. During the Middle Ages it was regularly known as St Edmund’s Dyke, because it marked the limit of the jurisdiction of the abbots of Bury St Edmunds. There are also references around the same time to the Great Ditch. During the 11th century siege of Ely by William the Conqueror, it is referred to as Reach Dyke.

Devil’s Dyke or Ditch is a post-medieval name: as so often, a supernatural provenance is ascribed to a monument, landform or structure whose original purpose is lost in the past. One local legend is that the Devil came uninvited to a wedding, perhaps at Reach church, and was chased away by the guests. In anger he formed the groove of the dyke with his fiery tail. In another a king called Hrothgar made the dyke with some local giants to ward off a fire god, or fire demon, who had taken a fancy to his daughter Hayenna. In the early stages of the conflict the fire demon looked to have got his way, at which point the giants fled. But Hrothgar had the presence of mind to scratch a breach from the river, allowing a thundering cascade of water to flow into the ditch, extinguishing the fire demon and freeing the daughter.

Archaeological excavations suggest that many of the other dykes were built during the last years of Roman occupation in Britain, or soon after the Romans left the country to its own devices some time around 410 AD. Wat’s Dyke, which sometimes runs parallel to Offa’s Dyke, was once considered to be the work of Offa’s predecessor Aethelbald, predating it by just a few decades. Now there is some evidence that it was built several centuries earlier. Likewise, archaeological evidence from the eastern section of Wansdyke in Wiltshire suggests it was made in the fifth or sixth centuries, after the withdrawal of the Romans but before the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. When the Saxons came upon the dyke, they named it after their god Woden; hence it became Woden’s Dyke and, eventually, Wansdyke.

It is possible, then, that the earlier dykes tell a quite different story, one of inter-tribal warfare in the decades following the withdrawal of central Roman power. They would coincide with the refortification of some of the Iron Age forts. What we have is a picture of the disintegration of a country into a host of factions, with the rapid resurfacing of tribal loyalties held at bay during the Roman occupation. It must have been akin to Yugoslavia falling apart in the late 20th century.

The sheer number of dykes indicates widespread disruption to the British economy, with loss of trade and communication between the opposing groups. Some of the dykes appear to protect major trade routes, but others cut through them, as Fleam Dyke in East Anglia does the Icknield Way. The aim may have been to control trade, but equally it may have been to prevent it altogether. In the latter case it would not have taken long for the whole damaged and dissected country to descend into isolated subsistence farming and a bitter fight for survival between scores of small tribes.

Such a situation may have made it easier for the Anglo-Saxon incomers to move in and take control of an attractively fertile land. Although the Dark Ages were dark in the sense that there were several centuries without written records or even a minted currency, it was not long before parts of the country regained their prosperity and long-distance trading resumed. There were, of course, new threats from around 800 onwards from Norse and Danish invaders (the ‘Vikings’) keen to snatch riches but also to settle. There is little evidence, however, that dykes played a major role in the sometimes bitter warfare that ensued: in fact it was King Alfred’s ‘burhs’, a series of well-fortified towns, that saw off the Viking armies towards the end of the ninth century.

Offa’s Dyke
David and Chris Stewart take a short walk along the ramparts of Offa’s great dyke with their dog Brough.



If many of the dykes were thrown up by British tribes before or soon after the Roman withdrawal, Offa’s Dyke must have been one of the last of these grand linear structures to be built. It is recorded as the masterwork of Offa, King of Mercia from 757 to 796. There is no contemporary record of the construction but Bishop Asser writes a hundred years later that ‘a vigorous king called Offa… had a great dyke to be constructed between Wales and Mercia, stretching from sea to sea’. There is some argument over whether Offa’s new construction actually did join the Bristol Channel to the Irish Sea, or whether this was simply in conjunction with Wat’s Dyke and other earlier ditches.

Far from being a petty tribal chief, Offa could lay claim to being an overlord – a ‘bretwalda’ or ‘wide ruler’ in Anglo-Saxon terminology. This was not the king of a single country in the sense that we would recognise it now, but rather the dominant overlord of all the minor kings and leaders of the realm under his command. And dominant he certainly was, bringing much of current-day England from the south coast to the Humber under his control.

The job called for constant vigilance, as other kings would flex their muscles from time to time. The people of Kent, occupying a valuable link to the continent, had a habit of falling out of line. In 775 Offa raised a force and attempted to put them right. On this occasion, in a battle at Otford near Sevenoaks, he seems to have been defeated. In 785 he tried again with more success. The process of subjugation would have involved a good measure of brutality, followed often by much conciliation and displays of renewed friendship and generosity.

Offa had a keen sense of the importance of PR and was determined to reinforce the legitimacy of his reign. This was particularly necessary as he had come to power in a coup d’état, seizing the throne from Aethelbald’s successor Beornred, about whom little is known. He made a great show of his friendship with the powerful Charlemagne. He also understood the importance of being anointed by the Church, although like many Anglo-Saxon leaders his Christianity was perhaps driven as much by pragmatism as true faith. When the Kentish Archbishop Jaenberht failed to supply sufficient assurances of support, Offa went over his head to Rome and got his own archbishopric established in Lichfield.

And as far as his currency was concerned, Offa went to exceptional lengths to have coins of ostensible quality. Some of the beautifully struck portraits show him almost in the guise of Roman emperor. He also had coins made with the image of his wife Cynethryth, just as Roman emperors used to do. Offa’s Dyke fits in with all these endeavours to be recognised beyond the boundaries of his kingdom as well as within it.

The real role of the dyke is something of a mystery but there are clues in its construction. There are no forts or garrisons on its entire length, which would indicate that it was not intended to be defended. There would, however, have been clear sightlines for signalling, so warning of a Welsh force gathering at the border could have been communicated very quickly. Equally importantly, it would have provided a swift route for bringing an opposing force directly to the point of danger.

These would have been entirely practical functions, but no doubt the dyke also served a purpose as a statement of power and ownership. There was no capital to the Mercian kingdom: Offa was an itinerant leader and had to be. Only by making your presence felt on a regular basis could your supremacy be maintained. This was kingship by travelling about, complete with your entire retinue, tents for stays where there was no suitable lodging, treasure and money for gifts and of course men at arms for security. He would have travelled by poorly maintained Roman road and by any manner of rough track and way. It must have been incredibly tiring. Offa’s reign is extraordinary therefore for its length – many kings only lasted a few years before dying of natural causes or worse.

Establishing your land rights by walking was pretty standard practice at the time, at every level. On a local scale pacing the land was integral to the doling out of property rights. In a world without maps, parcels of land granted to followers and religious houses were defined in charters. Hundreds of these Anglo-Saxon documents have been incorporated into succeeding deeds, so although the original may no longer exist the gist has been maintained. A charter involving a piece of land had a section describing its boundaries, tracing natural features and linking prominent landmarks. In a few parishes the tradition is maintained with the ‘beating of the bounds’, with the youngsters of the village alternately beaten (very gently nowadays) and given rewards as they circuit the parish boundary. The idea was that younger villagers would be forced to remember the defining waypoints of the parish boundary, should there ever be a dispute in later years.

It is quite possible, then, that the dyke served an important purpose as the delineator of a national boundary – a property charter but on a very large scale. Natural borders to Offa’s realm, like the Channel and to a lesser extent the Humber estuary to the north, were relatively simple to identify and defend. Elsewhere, Offa would have had to deal with endlessly troublesome neighbours. Having decided, after a number of fruitless campaigns, that he couldn’t conquer the Welsh he opted instead to draw a line in the sand and define his kingdom rather than extend it.

So Offa would have known his land intimately and in a very practical way, because he paced much of it with his own feet. Walking along the parapet of the dyke today, it’s intriguing to think that the man who ordered its construction might have done the very same. All along it makes use of the natural boundaries that do exist, linking and reinforcing them rather than inventing an entirely manmade line. Perhaps this is an integral part of its function: to make the image of a significant natural boundary where one didn’t really exist before.

The dyke would certainly have reinforced a sense of belonging on ‘this side of the fence’. It is likely that the construction was done by gangs from tribes offering annual service to the dominant king. By bringing in tribes from across Mercian-controlled England, it is conceivable that Offa completed the job in a single year, with every group returning with tales of how they built something incredible to keep the rebels out.

It’s a nationalist sentiment that has endured, giving rise to the notion that ‘it was customary for the English to cut off the ears of every Welshman who was found east of the dyke, and for the Welshman to hang every Englishman whom they found west of it’ (George Borrow, Wild Wales, 1862). This particular assertion almost certainly has no basis in reality, but the idea of setting up those ‘beyond the pale’ as dangerous outsiders would certainly have been in the mental armoury of a ruthless leader like Offa. Significantly, the word ‘Welsh’ derives from the Germanic word for ‘foreigner’. ‘Cymry’, on the other hand, is probably derived from the Celtic word ‘combrogi’, meaning ‘fellow countrymen’. The dyke was not just a physical partition; it was a cultural one.

We are still deliberating on which section of Offa’s Dyke to walk when I find myself summonsed to Shrewsbury Crown Court as a prosecution witness. It seems a good opportunity to visit a section of the dyke we have not walked before. As the Crown Prosecution Service will be contributing to our overnight expenses, we splash out on a posh country house hotel right on the Welsh border. The Pen-y-Dryffn promises fine food and drink, is happy to house the dog, and sits just a stone’s throw from the dyke.

We know that Anglo-Saxon kings set great store by being able to provide their followers with great feasts and quantities of ale: it was part of the deal that helped to see them through the hardships of battle, travelling and hunger. The packed mead halls described in the epic poem Beowulf, which some commentators think may have been written for King Offa himself, spring vividly to mind. It seems appropriate somehow to be tucking into a lavish dinner at the Queen’s expense, in return for services rendered at court the next day.

The court appearance turns out to be a slightly disconcerting affair. My memory of the incident, involving two young men racing on the motorway, has faded after more than a year. I strain to recall the details. The defending barrister asks if I recall seeing a silver Ford Fiesta. I don’t but, trying to be helpful, I venture that it could have been one of the cars in front, hidden behind a cloud of burning rubber. The judge chides me gently: ‘Please don’t speculate, Mr Stewart. Just stick to what you saw.’ After ten minutes of doing my best I am dismissed. It’s a salutary reminder of how unreliable memory can be. The fact that no one recalls the purpose of a clutch of imposing post-Roman earthworks begins to seem less surprising.

We make our way from our hotel in Rhydycroesau up onto Racecourse Common. Here Offa’s Dyke runs along the edge of a ridge alongside the grass strips of Oswestry’s old race course. From the car park we soon join a wide band of well-cut grass as it arches round to a tight right-hand bend before a long open run along the top of the common. A bulky stone statue with horses’ heads facing both ways, placed here in the 1990s, commemorates its history as a sporting venue and as the boundary between England and Wales.

For a good century from the early 1700s this was a popular horse racing circuit for the local gentry. The annual meetings were a big event, with horses charging around a two-mile loop on this plateau 300 metres above sea level. In the early 19th century things were still going well – so much so that a stone grandstand was built at the southern end by the dramatic final bend before the finishing line.

But this was the beginning of the end. By the 1840s the gentlemen race-goers were getting increasingly disenchanted. Gambling, drinking and pick-pocketing were rife, the whole affair was becoming rowdy and, worst of all, the lower classes were winning the races. The arrival of the railway in Oswestry was the final blow, allowing spectators, horses and competitors to travel elsewhere for their fun. In 1848 the course was abandoned. Stone from the grandstand was plundered for housebuilding, though the foundations remain as a good spot for a picnic.

From the racecourse we take a path through the woods, which drops down to meet Offa’s Dyke. The wide deep ditch of the dyke still stands out, even though erosion and the pounding of many feet have done their best to level it. In places great trees have grown up in its banks, their root tentacles helping to hold it together. The path runs along its line, sometimes on the apex of the banks, sometimes within the ditch and sometimes on the outer edge. It must have been a popular walk in past decades as strange grottos and seating areas have been built from stone blocks, providing resting places and viewpoints along the way.

Walking along the dyke, as we do now for a mile or more, it’s clear that this was no agreed boundary. The earthworks are substantial – 65 feet across and 10 feet deep in places – and they all favour the Mercians rather than the Welsh. Rubble dug up to make the ditch was all piled on the Mercian side. Rather than running along the ridge of the hill, the dyke is frequently built into the Welsh-facing slope, so the advantage lies with a Mercian force above the dyke as well as on it. Here the dyke sits 100 yards or more to the west of the ridge, on the side of a reasonably steep hill. Nowadays the hillside is wooded but no doubt a corridor of bare ground was maintained either side of the dyke during its working life, allowing the Mercians a clear view of the enemy. The top of the bank may well have had a wooden palisade, making it an even more formidable barrier.



Reaching the southern end of our section of the dyke, we cut back on a lower path, dropping through woods towards the stream below. The dyke swiftly disappears into the trees above. However, as we climb up again along a gentle incline we meet it again, its great banks now experienced from below – the Welsh perspective. The earthwork has been used as the line for a drystone wall, no doubt for the simple purpose of keeping stock on one side, though this too has tumbled down and now any animals are free to roam at will. A wooden gate lies uselessly, propped up against a pile of mossy stones. From here we rejoin our outward path and head back to our hotel.

The dyke’s purpose was undoubtedly short-lived, partly because Offa’s family swiftly lost its grip on power. Offa went to great lengths to have his son anointed as his successor with the blessing of the Church, but after his death his carefully laid plans crumbled away. Offa died in June 796 and his son outlived him by just a few months. Without a surviving dynasty to maintain them, the wooden palisades on Offa’s Dyke probably rotted away, or were filched for timber or firewood, within a few short winters. It may not have been long before Offa’s Dyke, like all those other great ditches, was simply a weird earthwork, built by strangers.

 

Below is a list of other walks visiting Dykes and Ditches:

Cambridgeshire

The walk starts at the attractive old village of Reach, then goes along the Devil's Dyke path down to the fenland, finally beside Reach Lode, once a busy waterway centuries ago transporting boats to the port at Reach.... More info

ID:
2160
Length:
2.5 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

A lovely walk which starts on the ancient Devil's Dyke, then crosses over to the lovely rural village of Swaffham Prior, which boasts no fewer than two churches, two windmills and a very pleasant pub. Return is via country lanes to the village of... More info

ID:
3064
Length:
5.6 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Denbighshire

This walk starts from the popular Loggerheads Country Park and follows a relatively little-used bridleway around the base of Moel Famau, the highest summit in the Clwydian range. The Jubilee Tower on the top is a superb viewpoint, even the English... More info

ID:
680
Length:
8.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

This circular walk takes in the summit of Moel Hiraddug, which is the most northerly of the six hill-forts on the Clwydian range with its outstanding views. It uses part of Offa's Dyke National Trail on the return to a National Trust car park. ... More info

ID:
1912
Length:
5 Miles
Grade:
Strenuous

The lower hills of the Clwydian Range form the basis of this walk, which uses a section of the Clwydian Way as the outward route and part of Offa's Dyke National Trail to return by.... More info

ID:
2017
Length:
9.3 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

The undulating countryside around Trelawnyd is very attractive and offers excellent views as far as Snowdonia and the chance to walk part of Offa's Dyke National Trail.... More info

ID:
2018
Length:
6.8 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

With a pub every 6km, a round might well be in order. The walk starts high in the Clwydian Hills and drops to two villages by woodlands and limestone outcrops, before rising again to join Offa's Dyke National Trail.... More info

ID:
2396
Length:
11.2 Miles
Grade:
Strenuous

This is a part of the Clwydian Range where you are unlikely to meet many people, except for the short section on Offa's Dyke National Trail. The terrain is firm tracks apart from one section. There are particularly wide views from the summit of Moel... More info

ID:
2723
Length:
6.8 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

The walk is based on the pretty Welsh village of Cilcain and has some steep ascents. The terrain is mostly easy, however: lanes, tracks and firm ground. Offa's Dyke National Trail is used for part of the walk, which goes under the shoulder of Moel... More info

ID:
2724
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A circuit of the gentle hill ridge to the west of Llangollen - the northern tail of the Berwyns - topped off by a return on the Carrog - Llangollen heritage railway. There are views across the Vale of Llangollen to Llantysilio Mountain and the... More info

ID:
6111
Length:
13.1 Miles
Grade:
Strenuous

The walk starts in the car park Coed Moel Famau, from which a path parallel to the road is followed to the higher car park at Bwlch Pen Barras. From here Offa's Dyke Trail is followed over and around the shoulder of Foel Fenlli Hill-Fort, with... More info

ID:
7541
Length:
4.4 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

East Sussex

Town and Down; from Hove Station the walk follows a hidden green corridor through Hove, via Waterhall to the South Downs, Saddlescombe Farm (NT), up to the breathtaking Devil's Dyke. From there the Number 77 bus takes us either to Brighton Station or... More info

ID:
5826
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Gentle Stroll

Flintshire

Wide views across the Dee estuary, hidden valleys, woodland carpeted with flowers; a fine walk at any time of year but stunning when the spring flowers are out. The route can be extended by continuing on Walk 7705 to make a seven-mile circuit.... More info

ID:
7671
Length:
4.4 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

This short walk shows an attractive and under-visited part of Flintshire with woods, streams and splendid views. The top time for this walk is April, when the native daffodils are in flower. These are rare, so seeing them in the wild is a real... More info

ID:
7705
Length:
3.1 Miles
Grade:
Gentle Stroll

Gloucestershire

The walk starts at the River Wye and follows Offa's Dyke for part of its route and the Gloucestershire Way in the middle.... More info

ID:
1193
Length:
8.1 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

This is a fairly easy walk with the climbing done before lunch. There are good views of the Wye Valley and Tintern Abbey from Offa's Dyke. ... More info

ID:
1244
Length:
7.5 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

A short walk to visit the viewpoint at the Devil's Pulpit and walk part of Offa's Dyke.... More info

ID:
1427
Length:
3.7 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Begin with another stretch of Offa's Dyke, some of the time walking on or near the dyke, with good views and plenty of wildlife. Most of the walk is on good paths, but with some mud after rain and a steepish descent of the field between Waymarks 6... More info

ID:
1665
Length:
5.6 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Quite a strenuous walk from Brockweir and up to Hewelsfield and Brockweir, with plenty of sunken lanes as well as old stony tracks. Hewelsfield and St Briavels have plenty to see and the mixed woodland is rich in flowers and birdlife.... More info

ID:
1821
Length:
7.5 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Visit the ancient Borough Town of Monmouth, rich in history and walk on the old iron bridge that carried the railway across the River Wye. Climb up the Kymin and walk along forest rides, past HUGE stone outcrops; and see spectacular views before... More info

ID:
1895
Length:
8.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Starting from Redbrook, the outward route follows the Offa's Dyke Path to visit the Round House before dropping down to Monmouth. The return route follows the River Wye.... More info

ID:
2663
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

This walk uses the Wye Valley Walk on the Welsh side of the river, but returns via the Offa's Dyke Path on the English side. There are great views of the Wye Valley, particularly as the path descends to Redbrook. ... More info

ID:
3086
Length:
7.5 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A circular walk along two of Britain's greatest rivers, that also follows the first few miles of Offa's Dyke Path from its start at the top of Sedbury Cliffs.... More info

ID:
7629
Length:
8.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Herefordshire

The feel of a high mountain without a big climb, great views across the Welsh Borders, a short stretch of the Offa's Dyke path and then a green route to a country pub for lunch.... More info

ID:
187
Length:
8.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

The walk starts from the Marches town of Kington. The outward route uses the Offa's Dyke Path as it climbs onto Bradnor Hill. The views are far-reaching. After reaching part of the original earthworks of the dyke, the return route follows the... More info

ID:
3075
Length:
6.8 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A delightful walk from Kington, Herefordshire, partly on Offa's Dyke, climbing 426 metres above sea level and visiting the small communities of Bredward and Hergest.... More info

ID:
3801
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Strenuous

A walk along an old drovers' road, climbing up onto Hatterrall Hill and along Offa's Dyke path before descending Black Darren. There are wWonderful 360-degree views.... More info

ID:
6649
Length:
8.1 Miles
Grade:
Strenuous

Hertfordshire

See the original 'Old Mill By The Stream' on this beautiful Hertfordshire walk.... More info

ID:
3706
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Lincolnshire

Lincoln is rich in history, one of Britain's most important medieval cities, but often overlooked today. This walk takes you through every era from Roman to the modern day, with the glorious cathedral as its centre point.... More info

ID:
7454
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Monmouthshire

This short walk from Tintern Abbey along the Wye Valley to the Devil's Pulpit, takes in part of Offa's Dyke Path and combines historical interest with fine views of the monastic site and its surroundings.... More info

ID:
213
Length:
3.1 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

A short circular walk set in the heart of the Black Mountains with fine views of the surrounding hills and plains. The route leads from Llanthony Priory onto Hatterrall Hill and includes a section of Offa's Dyke Path. This walk offers a good... More info

ID:
307
Length:
5 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

This walk starts at Chepstow Castle and continues on the Wye Valley Walk along the wooded hillsides, following the river to Tintern, crosses at Brockweir and then climbs again to follow the Offa's Dyke Path back to Chepstow.... More info

ID:
402
Length:
12.4 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A walk in the Wye Valley taking in the Wye Valley Walk and Offa's Dyke Path.... More info

ID:
1219
Length:
8.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

From the monastic site at Tintern, follow the old railway track acros the river and through the woods, climb to Offa's Dyke and the Devil's Pulpit and return through the woods.... More info

ID:
1294
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

From Llanthony Priory, climb up onto Hatteral Hill and walk part of Offa's Dyke. Come down above Vision Farm and return along the Vale of Ewyas.... More info

ID:
1520
Length:
8.1 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Although this walk has a height gain of 200 metres, it seems mainly flat. The walk starts in Chepstow and the town and castle are both worth a visit. The walk takes you out to Sedbury Cliffs and back another way.... More info

ID:
1760
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

An easy walk for half a day; pass the site of Dingestow Castle and on the return route pass the site of a motte and bailey. Part of the walk is on Offa's Dyke Path and the walk through King's Wood is rich in birdlife and flowers.... More info

ID:
1797
Length:
5.6 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

A short easy walk to visit White Castle. The outward route makes use of the Three Castles Walk, (White Castle, Skenfrith and Grosmont) and returns via Offa's Dyke Path. Most of the paths are on good ground, all the stiles are good and easy to use.... More info

ID:
1822
Length:
3.1 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

This easy walk uses the newly-opened Monnow Valley Walk for the outward route and after crossing some fields, joins Offa's Dyke Path to return to Monmouth. There are no real climbs or descents.... More info

ID:
2203
Length:
3.7 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

On this walk we follow parts of two long-distance paths, Offa's Dyke Path and the Marches Way. The return route visits a nature reserve.... More info

ID:
4539
Length:
3.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A section of Offa's Dyke Path and the Three Castles Walk are followed on this circular walk, visiting the best-preserved of the 'three castles', as well as an unusual white church at Llangatock Lingoed.... More info

ID:
7679
Length:
8.1 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Powys

Going south from Knighton on Offa's Dyke National Trail, some fine examples of the earthworks are seen. A hilltop link from Rhos-y-Meirch to Bailey Hill has fine views and allows the walker to join Glyndwr's Way back to Knighton, with a short... More info

ID:
2357
Length:
9.3 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

The Breidden Hills rise abruptly out of the Severn Plain and are most often viewed by walkers on Offa's Dyke National Trail. They are very dramatic in form and any ascent is steep, but their isolation make them among the most rewarding viewpoints... More info

ID:
3868
Length:
5 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

The Breidden Hills rise abruptly out of the Severn Plain and are most often viewed by walkers on Offa's Dyke National Trail. They are very dramatic in form and any ascent is steep, but their isolation make them among the most rewarding viewpoints... More info

ID:
3869
Length:
6.8 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

The start of the walk is a good climb on the Offa's Dyke Trail. The reward is the lovely view, followed by a gradual descent back down to Hay and the pubs and tea rooms.... More info

ID:
4451
Length:
6.2 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A skyline walk in the Black Mountains along part of Offa's Dyke. Can't decide whether to walk in England or Wales? You can do both at the same time on this walk.... More info

ID:
4771
Length:
7.5 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A circular walk from the Offa's Dyke Centre in Knighton, featuring a variety of wildlife habitats.... More info

ID:
6654
Length:
2.5 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Shropshire

This is a short, circular walk mainly in mature woodland and using part of Offa's Dyke National Trail. It is on good tracks and is easy to follow. The walk itself has few views, but the open ground at the start offers outstanding views across the... More info

ID:
2179
Length:
3.1 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

West Sussex

Enjoy wide skies and lovely views over the Sussex Weald on this breezy walk, with a choice of three hostelries on the route.... More info

ID:
1596
Length:
6.8 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

A South Downs walk for short winter days taking in Devil's Dyke, the South Downs Way and views way out to sea.... More info

ID:
4112
Length:
13.7 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Explore The Devil's Dyke, walking through it and around it with wonderful views of Sussex.... More info

ID:
5277
Length:
2.5 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk

Wrexham

Based on the National Trust's Erddig Hall, this is a short and attractive walk accompanied in part by a boundary older than Offa's Dyke. A visit to Erddig can easily be rounded off by this stroll in the grounds and the surrounding countryside.... More info

ID:
1695
Length:
4.4 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Private footpaths through the grounds of Chirk Castle are now open all year round, but this walk offers an alternative. It uses some very narrow lanes and tracks along which Offa's Dyke path runs as well as a length of the Llangollen Canal. There are... More info

ID:
5979
Length:
6.8 Miles
Grade:
Easy Walk

Yorkshire

The RSPB describe their reserve at Bempton Cliffs as 'easily the best place in England to see, hear and smell seabirds'. Find out for yourself.... More info

ID:
5596
Length:
6.8 Miles
Grade:
Moderate Walk