Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Offa's Dyke.



Back in the 60's and 70's, my people owned a couple of cottages on top of the first Welsh hill to the West of Oswestry, in a location known as The Old Racecourse (somewhere between Llangollen and Welshpool on the map above). We would always go up for Christmas, occasionally pass a quiet weekend, but otherwise they stood empty. Not very PC.

The area was hilly; only really suited to sheep farming and timber growing. From our point of view this also meant that we hardly ever saw anyone else, and the silence was wonderful.

The cottages sat on the route of Offa's Dyke; a 150 mile earthwork separating Wales from Mercia. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't run right through our gardens.



Offa was King of Mercia (England) from 757 to 796. His Dyke was constructed to keep the Welsh out of Mercia; Welshmen caught to the East of the line had their ears cut off, Englishmen found to the West were hanged.

The Dyke runs from Prestatyn in the North, to Chepstow in the South, and is now a National Footpath. If you are thinking of taking a walking holiday in the UK, why not follow Offa's Dyke from North to South. It would probably take you about 2 weeks in all, but what a wonderful two weeks that would be. Old pubs, good food, and plenty of fresh air; what more could you want (as long as it didn't rain).

18 comments:

  1. cro
    dont forget to tell everyone that the dyke runs directly through Trelawnyd...
    tell em to pop in for tea!

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    1. I was going to mention it, but wasn't sure if you could cater for 'thousands'.

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  2. Those were the days - when you could keep Welshmen out with a simple ditch and bank. These days we accept coachloads of them into Bath on saturdays. They are almost encouraged.

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    1. ...a simple ditch, bank, and ear-clipping.

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  3. I'd be a long swim for me to get there. But maybe someday.

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  4. I keep reminding Keith that, as a Welshman, he should always ensure he is not found within the walls of Chester after sundown. ;)

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  5. What ever happened to your families cottage? Our farm may be selling soon and we could use an inexpensive home.

    The Dyke Hike is a lovely invitation. A raod trip to remember for sure

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  6. I think that would be a trip to remember Cro. Going to add it to my wish list! I have a girlfriend who has this relentless desire to see Wales..maybe she and I could do this together.

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  7. very interesting and great photos. We should explore that area a bit more now we are relatively close.

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  8. good to know that man's inhumanity to man has a long tradition!

    I have always thought a walking tour in the UK or France would be a fantastic way to spend a vacation. I like walking, like gardens, like vistas, love pubs. There you go. UK it is.

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  9. I found this really interesting,all the wonderful history ,ours is such a young country,and although I am sure the full history is just as amazing there are no written words and maps to follow,just generations of Dreamtime stories and we will never really know the real story of the arrival of the white settlers,all we have is the white man's account of it all,we do know that the real owners of our lands have never had a fair go as we say over here..to sit with an elder of a tribe must be truly an honour,they are a rarity now and I am afraid the true history of our land will die with them.

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  10. I would love to walk along that Dyke. Beautiful!! Thanks for all the comments you leave on my blog. I appreciate it.

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  11. Sounds like a wonderful holiday!! I'll pack my wellies in case it rains.

    megan

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  12. I live quite near to Offa's Dyke too. We walked part of it loads of times in days gone by. The farm where I spent my childhood was in a noted flood area. When the water levels of the River Severn peaked, the water would run over the dyke, flood us and all the neighbouring farms out - we often had to live upstairs until the flood waters receded.

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  13. Taradharma -- stop by and pick me up in Seattle on your way!

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  14. I'm amazed that I've actually been along quite a bit of this dyke! Many thanks for the low-down on its history. We travel quite regularly to visit friends in Longtown, Herefordshire which is on the Welsh border and is one of my favourite places in the U.K.

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