Offa’s Dyke Path – Knighton – Churchtown Walk – 17.06.2011

We took the “Heart of Wales” line from Hopton Heath to Knighton. Knighton in Welsh is “Tref-y-Clawdd” meaning “Town on the Dyke” – a very good place to start our Offa’s Dyke adventure if you ask me!

Knighton is a pretty little town – so much so it has even starred in two films – “Gone to Earth” (1950) and the film “Second Best” (1994) Starring William Hurt. The area is extra special as the Oscar-winning actress Julie Christie lived nearby at one time! I can’t really say I blame her for living her or for Knighton being a film location either it really is lovely!

We passed a rather striking (forgive the pun) Clock Tower – which had been standing there since 1872 – and hopefully been keeping the correct time too! Unfortunately I cannot provide you any photos of the clock ūüė¶ – explanation later… We quickly stocked up on supplies, before we found our way to the path. Helpfully in Knighton there is a Offa’s Dyke Centre!

It was 97 miles to Prestatyn from the Offa’s Dyke Centre and we were about to walk all the way there *phew* I must admit it suddenly felt very daunting to see the sign in front of me (rather than just be planning it all on paper!)

From 2011 – 17.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Knighton – Churchtown Walk

Setting out from the centre the path is very clearly marked (ok I admit it! – we did have to ask the locals when we saw a sign for “Welcome to Shropshire” and I thought we were going the wrong way!) Apparently we were going to cross the border between England quite a few times over the next few days!

This first section we were tackling is generally known as the “switchback” section. This is because the “Dyke” weaves a curved ‘switchback’ course over the Clun rolling countryside. Did I explain what Offa’s Dyke actually is? I mentioned it in my Hopton Heath about the King of Mercia building a Dyke (or a large earthwork!) From one of the quotes that I have found from one Historical record by a Welsh Scholar known as Asser in 9th/10th Century it confirms that –

“there was in Mercia in fairly recent time a certain vigorous king called Offa, who terrified all the neighbouring kings and provinces around him, and who had a great dyke built between Wales and Mercia from sea to sea”

Sounds scary to me! I don’t think I would have crossed the mighty dyke, let alone think about walking it! However, I am so glad that I am now have the chance too!

From what I read before we even started out, this section was meant to be the toughest part of the path! Well I think I found that out on the first hill! Having tackled Ben Nevis, Snowdon and the West Highland way – all without a hint of my asthma – I was bowled over half way up! I felt unfit – as if I had not trained at all! From this moment onwards our walking pace slowed right down!

We were walking the Shropshire Hills – an area of outstanding beauty – when I was able to get to see the views – it is simply stunning. Worth every moment of the walk and wheeze!

From 2011 – 17.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Knighton – Churchtown Walk

The weather was very changeable, we had rain (you can probably gather from the picture above that the clouds were gathering!), sunshine – it got very hot and then it was very windy! ¬†The problem with the rain it got very muddy, and with that I slipped … and it also meant the loss of my camera ūüė¶ ¬†. ¬†We had reached a beautiful view and I reached for my camera and it had gone. ¬†I was¬†devastated. ¬†All my photos I had taken had disappeared forever ūüė¶ ¬† Unfortunately we could not go back to look as we did not even know where to go and hunt for it ūüė¶

As we carried on along the hillside, we found ourselves walking alongside the “Dyke” itself. ¬† ¬†In fact I am quite impressed to see an earthwork that was built in the 8th Century is still clearly preserved. ¬†The path follows the Dyke for quite a few miles – so it was nice to be able to enjoy this lovely piece of ¬†“ancient¬†architecture”. ¬† ¬† ¬†As we walked on, it was welcoming to come across the 1/2 way marker for Offa’s Dyke (not our half way though!) saying we only had another 88 1/2 miles to go!

From 2011 – 17.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Knighton – Churchtown Walk

After our adventures with the West Highland Way and the problems with signs – we were hoping that the Offa’s Dyke National Trail did not suffer a similar problem – i.e. a lack ¬†of signs! ¬†Sadly it does in certain sections! We did have trouble when we came across a field full of cows – which was very off putting indeed! ¬†The markers and the dyke seemed to part company – We went around the hill, which was a natural path – when we should have gone over the hill!

It was much later in the day and we finally came across walkers – in fact we think they were Duke of Edinburgh walkers – one group were counting stiles (they were coming the other way and that didn’t give me much cheer!) and the next group promptly asked us ¬†“we think we are lost… can you tell us are we on the right path to Newcastle? as we want to get to our campsite!” In fact they were looking for Newcastle-on-Clun – we assured the group they were in the right direction! I am not surprised they felt lost though we had all been crossing the English / Welsh border so many times that day they probably felt like they were were on the other side of the country LOL

It seemed we had left the Shropshire hills behind for a while, to walk some very wooded areas (with lots of stiles in!) in fact it started to rain on and off at this point. In fact we only managed a few more miles, before giving our Bed & Breakfast ring for help! (don’t panic readers – after one more night we camped the rest of the way!) but before help arrived, we had to negotiate a nasty, very muddy hill – in fact it would have been better slide down it – but we would have lost all our weeks supply if we had!

So thanks to Caemwgal Farmhouse who picked up two bedraggled charity walkers! We managed to eat and warm up ready for a good nights sleep – all ready for day 2!

All the photos (well the few I did manage to take!) please feel free to take a look here –

2011 – 17.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Knighton – Churchtown Walk

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3 responses to “Offa’s Dyke Path – Knighton – Churchtown Walk – 17.06.2011

  1. Pingback: Trelawne Manor – Ten Acre Wood Walk – 02.05.2012 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  2. Pingback: Letchmore Heath – Aldenham Walk – 29.07.2012 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  3. Pingback: Cassiobury Park – Croxley Green Walk – 11.11.2012 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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