About the Trail
What is Offa’s Dyke Path?
Offa’s Dyke Path is a 177 mile (285 Km) long walking trail. It is named after, and often follows, the spectacular Dyke King Offa ordered to be constructed in the 8th century, probably to divide his Kingdom of Mercia from rival kingdoms in what is now Wales
The Trail, which was opened in the summer of 1971, links Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow on the banks of the Severn estuary with the coastal town of Prestatyn on the shores of the Irish sea. It passes through no less than eight different counties and crosses the border between England and Wales over 20 times. The Trail explores the tranquil Marches (as the border region is known) and passes through the Brecon Beacons National Park on the spectacular Hatterrall Ridge. In addition it links no less than three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Range / Dee Valley.
How long does it take to complete the Trail?
It takes about two weeks to complete the whole Trail, although people have been rumoured to complete it in four days. Many people choose to complete only short sections in day trips or to complete the whole Trail over many weeks, months or years.
How hard is it?
The Trail passes through many different types of landscape. The toughest part is probably the switchback section of the Shropshire Hills between Knighton and Brompton Crossroads and things can also be hard going in the upland stretches in the Brecon Beacons and Clwydian Range, especially in poor weather or visibility.
The flattest stretch is the section between Buttington Bridge and Llanymynech which largely follows the River Severn and the Montgomeryshire Canal. Elsewhere it is largely a case of gentle ups and downs.
The Trail has long been notorious for the number of stiles on the route. Many of these have been removed in recent years and we plan to reduce these still further to make the Trail more accessible.
If you walk entire Trail from south to north there is about 28,000ft of accent, which is the same as the height of Everest.
Exploring the Trail
How do I get to Offa's Dyke Path?
The closest airport to the northern end of the trail is Liverpool John Lennon. At the southern end, Cardiff Airport is nearest.
Both ends of the Trail and several points along the route can be reached by train. Chepstow station is about 2 miles (3 Km) from the start of the Trail. Prestatyn station is about 0.3 miles (0.5 Km) from the northern end.
Local buses call at points on or near Offa’s Dyke Path.
Hay Ho! is a year round bus service linking Hereford Railway Station and Hay-on-Wye on Sundays and Bank Holidays. The bus is timed to meet trains from London, the North West and the Midlands. Visit the Hay Ho! Facebook page for more information.
You can find up-to-date public transport information including a journey planner at www.traveline.info
Where can I stay on the Trail?
There is a good choice of accommodation close to the Trail and it can be viewed here.
The area is popular and accommodation can book up quickly in peak season so we recommend that you book it well in advance.
Can I camp along the Trail?
There are plenty of campsites along the Trail and they can be viewed here. If you plan to camp please note it is not legal to wild camp in England or Wales – you will need to stay on official campsites.
Can I get my bags carried or my accommodation booked?
What is the best time of year to walk on the Trail?
Offa’s Dyke Path can be walked right through the year, so there is not really a best time. Most people walk between April and October. Spring and early summer are best times to see the flora along the way.
Which direction should I walk it in?
The guide books are generally written from south to north, and this is the direction most people walk the Trail in, but there is nothing to stop you going the other way, there is even a guidebook written north to south – so take your pick!
What should I take with me?
We recommend that you take a map and/or guidebook with you, or a copy of the walk leaflet if you are doing a shorter walk. You may also find a compass useful.
If you are walking solo you may want to tell somewhere where you are going as there can be mobile black spots along the Trail. Ensure your phone is fully charged before setting off.
Weather in the UK can be changeable so it’s wise to be prepared. You’ll need good footwear, waterproofs and warm layers. Take plenty of water and just in case, pack a few plasters for your feet. In the summer you may need sun cream.
Will I have mobile phone and internet access?
Phone reception can be patchy along the Trail, don’t rely on being able to use your phone to help you navigate. Wi-Fi is available at some accommodation and pubs/cafés along the route.
Is there signage on Offa's Dyke Path?
The UK is unique in having a network of paths that the public can use, this is the Public Rights of Way network. You can see these paths on Ordnance Survey maps.
National Trails are signed with an acorn symbol and/or the Trail name which you will see on stiles, gates and signposts. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails.
As you are walking along the Trail you will also see waymarkers pointing to other paths. You can use the public rights of way network to leave the Trail to explore places of interest, reach your accommodation and find places to eat and drink.
You will often find a coloured arrow on signs which indicates the status of that section of path. The most common are yellow arrows which are footpaths and blue which are bridleways.
Can I download a GPX file?
You can download a GPX file of the whole Trail here.
Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise
Can I get a guidebook and map for the Trail?
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
Can I get a certificate if I complete the Trail?