Author Topic: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)  (Read 964 times)

Warbler

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TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)
« on: 16:25:47, 19/05/19 »
 Day 1 – Sedbury Cliff to Beeches Farm (near Brockweir) - 10 miles


After an early start my train arrived in Chepstow at 9-30am. I was hungry. I made a quick decision to jump into the only taxi outside the station and took a ride to within a few hundred yards of the start at Sedbury Cliff. After walking back a mile and a half to Chepstow Bridge, I veered left back into town and enjoyed a late breakfast in Weatherspoon’s before setting off on the trail proper.




It was an overcast day but dry, and the climb up above the Wye Valley soon had me warmed up, and before long I had re-joined the dyke in woodland high above the valley below.





The scenery was mostly hidden on this first day apart from an opening which offered a fine view of Tintern with its abbey from Devils Pulpit.





The dyke became more clearly evident in this section as brief spells of sunshine fought its way through the trees.





The farmer/campsite owner at Beeches Farm informed me that the pub in Brockweir was now closed for good and the next nearest place was a 40 minute walk away. In light of this I stayed on the site and had a Wayfarer’s “Spicy sausage and pasta” meal. My first experience of these meals, and while being quite tasty, one Wayfarer meal is not enough for this hungry hiker. Fortunately, I had snacks to complement it.


Day 2 – Beeches Farm to Monmouth - 14 miles

The rain was incessant overnight resulting in very little sleep. After breakfast and striking camp, the rain stopped briefly and I was on my way again. The respite lasted about ten minutes and then rained for the next four hours or so, although not heavily.
I took the low route alternative along the banks of the River Wye to reach Bigsweir Bridge before re-joining the main route and climbing up into the woods again high above the valley. There was a still, eerie atmosphere during this period with the only sound being a cacophony of birdsong.



                            A lone salmon fisherman on the opposite bank of the River Wye


There was a break in the weather as I broke out of the woods for the descent down into Redbrook, where I called into the village shop for lunch items, which I enjoyed at a picnic table in the small park opposite.





A long climb out of Redbrook followed where I met these two chomping on timber.





The long climb peaked at The Kymin, a hill overlooking the town of Monmouth to the west and Forest of Dean to the east.



                                          Naval Temple on The Kymin




                                           Round House on The Kymin


A steady long descent followed down into Monmouth, during which this oinker appeared to want to get to me.





Day 3 – Monmouth to Pandy - 18 miles


More rain overnight ensured another night of very little sleep. Donned in waterproofs for the second day running, it was a struggle to find my way out of Monmouth, but I was eventually on my way with a steep climb up into King’s Wood. A series of stony tracks and quiet lanes followed before a short stroll through the middle of an orchard, contracted to supply Bulmers.





Just after this the route became very muddy due to the rain over the past two days, including a trudge across three ploughed fields of thick red clay like mud, very hard going. I was hoping to have a rest and lunch when I reached White Castle. Unfortunately, the castle was closed so I sat on my sit mat at the gates and ate my lunch, in the light rain.
More muddy paths followed, and then one short but very steep climb into the small village of Llangattock Lingoed, where there was a pub open in which I enjoyed a refreshing cider in the garden as the rain had stopped.



                     The village church (there's a pub a few paces down the lane)


Pandy was only two miles away now, and mainly downhill. These fellas/fillies where enjoying the break from the rain.





It was a long days walk today with lots of ups and downs, but really enjoyable despite the rain and mud, and I felt I was really getting into the walk. However, I was really tired and opted for a bed for the night in the Rising Sun after two near sleepless nights in the tent. Great decision, and a really good nights kip.


Day 4 – Pandy to Hay on Wye - 16 miles


The weather promised to be brighter today. I even started the day without waterproofs on. It started with a long, long climb out of Pandy, and I was soon up onto Hatterrall Hill. The sun shone, aside from a couple of short hail showers. This was a great ridge walk, in amongst the heather and wild ponies, with expansive views east and west. There were some sections of paving slabs through the boggy bits, and one short section that resembled a “moonscape”.



















Towards the end of the ridge, I chose to take the alternative route over Hay Bluff.









A very steep and narrow decent down from Hay Bluff was followed by a section of road and pasture land on the approach to Hay on Wye.






Day 5 – Hay on Wye to Kington - 16.5 miles


I slithered out of my tent to another bright looking morning. It was a relatively late start for me today, so I was surprised to see a couple of lads getting their gear together after wild camping beneath the bridge over the River Wye just outside of town. It wasn’t long before they passed me on the first stiff climb of the day. I caught up with them at the church at Newchurch, taking advantage of coffee and biscuits inside, paid for through an honesty box. They were actually only doing a shortish section of Offa’s Dyke as part of their “LEJOG”. Good luck to them for the rest of their journey.





Leaving Newchurch, there was another steep climb up Disgwylfa Hill offering wide views all around.





The descent of Disgwylfa Hill eventually led to the village of Gladestry. I was looking forward to a break and a pint in the pub here, but unfortunately the pub was closed down (becoming a recurring theme). I had to content myself with lunch sat on the wall surrounding the pub.
Another long climb took me onto Hergest Ridge. This was another lovely stroll along the ridge. The grassy track was so springy to walk on. My feet were extremely grateful for this. There were wonderful panoramic views in every direction from here.





Suddenly from nowhere, a cluster of monkey puzzle trees appeared.




The path then started a steady descent down to Kington, where a long overdue pint was enjoyed before finding my campsite for the night.






Day 6 – Kington to “The end” - 4.5 miles


Yet again the day started with another steep climb out of Kington. It wasn’t long before I was re-aquainted with the dyke after an absence of about 50 miles.





After walking over Rushock Hill and the flank of Herrock Hill, I emerged onto a minor road and reached Ditchyeld Bridge. I’d been feeling a strain in my right Achiles tendon for the last couple of miles, and it was showing signs of getting worse. I had a sinking feeling in my gut that this was the end for me on this walk. There is no way I would have made it to Knighton, so I headed along the lane to the nearest village where I hoped to catch a bus or even a taxi to Knighton. A man doing some exterior work at the front of his house started chatting to me as I was limping past. I explained my situation to him and he very kindly offered me a lift to Knighton.


So, that was it. Game over on the sixth day. I booked myself into the first Inn I could see for the night and drowned my sorrows in the bar and restaurant.


Ironically, I was intending to have a rest day when I reached Knighton, but I now knew this was going to take more than one day to put right. I will definitely return to finish this wonderful walk as soon as I can.


Thanks for viewing.
« Last Edit: 23:08:17, 19/05/19 by Warbler »

sussamb

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some it)
« Reply #1 on: 16:36:42, 19/05/19 »
Great TR on the trip so far, shame you had to pull out. Hope you return to finish it one day  O0
Where there's a will ...

bricam2096

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some it)
« Reply #2 on: 16:40:53, 19/05/19 »
Hi, enjoyed reading this although not the outcome. No point hobbling on though as we do this for enjoyment, not pain so look forward to seeing you complete it.

Am getting excited because in less than 4 weeks I shall be on my OPD, infact I just picked up my train tickets today from a local station. I knew about the closed down pub (they say they are refurbishing it) and undecided whether to do the riverside path or the "official" route through the trees yet, I'll probably decide on the day. Nice to know about that church and the hoesty box although I reckon a meal deal from the Coop in Hay-On-Wye will come with me. These 4 weeks can't come quick enough.
LDWs done - 31 in total including 15 National Trails and 3 C2C

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Dovegirl

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some it)
« Reply #3 on: 20:47:14, 19/05/19 »
Very good TR     :)    I'm not familiar with this trail and it was interesting to see the photos

A wise decision to abandon the walk but I hope you'll be able to finish it another time

vghikers

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some it)
« Reply #4 on: 20:51:37, 19/05/19 »
A very good TR, such a pity about the Achiles tendon pain but it was a good call to pull out. I hope you're back there soon to finish.
Quote
Just after this the route became very muddy due to the rain over the past two days, including a trudge across three ploughed fields of thick red clay like mud, very hard going.
Ah yes, I remember that region was particularly prone to dense clarty clay after rain, mudbath time!.

Warbler

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some it)
« Reply #5 on: 22:58:53, 19/05/19 »
Great TR on the trip so far, shame you had to pull out. Hope you return to finish it one day  O0

Thanks sussamb, and I will. Hopefully late summer  O0


Hi, enjoyed reading this although not the outcome. No point hobbling on though as we do this for enjoyment, not pain so look forward to seeing you complete it.

Am getting excited because in less than 4 weeks I shall be on my OPD, infact I just picked up my train tickets today from a local station. I knew about the closed down pub (they say they are refurbishing it) and undecided whether to do the riverside path or the "official" route through the trees yet, I'll probably decide on the day. Nice to know about that church and the hoesty box although I reckon a meal deal from the Coop in Hay-On-Wye will come with me. These 4 weeks can't come quick enough.
Thanks Bricam. I found it to be a bit of a "slow burner" starting from Chepstow. But the views really started to open up after Monmouth, and each day got better after that, as did the weather. Do you mean the pub in Gladestry? If so, then yes, it opens in mid June. I had a chat with the future landlord while sat on the wall eating my lunch. He presently has Ye Olde Tavern in Kington, a smashing, honest little pub where I had a cracking meal, at great value too.
If you need to know any specifics of the first few sections, I'm happy to oblige if I can while it's still fresh.


Very good TR     :)    I'm not familiar with this trail and it was interesting to see the photos

A wise decision to abandon the walk but I hope you'll be able to finish it another time

Thanks Dovegirl. This was new territory for me too, but I've seen enough to want to return for more  :)


A very good TR, such a pity about the Achiles tendon pain but it was a good call to pull out. I hope you're back there soon to finish.Ah yes, I remember that region was particularly prone to dense clarty clay after rain, mudbath time!.

Thanks VG. My legs where like jelly when I got to the side of those fields  >:(




Annejacko

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)
« Reply #6 on: 08:23:40, 20/05/19 »
Great pics and TR, hope you can get back to finish it.

IMO from Chepstow to Tintern the Wye Valley Walk on the opposite side of the river is much better than Offa's Dyke, better view points over the river and the traces of the picturesque landscape of Piercefield Park. You would miss out on the Devil's Pulpit viewpoint, but it is only a very short double back along Offa's Dyke to take this in after the climb up from Tintern and usually worth the effort!

It is possibly more strenuous though with a couple of extra climbs, but you do drop down to Tintern to cross the river where there is a pub and several cafes (best coffee is at the Filling Station!)

Depends on how much of a purist you are on following the exact route of the National Trail :)
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astaman

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)
« Reply #7 on: 10:53:39, 20/05/19 »
Great trip report and photographs. Sorry you had to pull the plug on it but I'm sure it was the right decision and now still have it to look forward to. Thanks for posting.

sunnydale

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)
« Reply #8 on: 19:10:52, 20/05/19 »
Echo others comments - a good TR & pics. O0
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Mel

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)
« Reply #9 on: 19:15:17, 20/05/19 »
I enjoyed reading that, and lovely pics too  O0


I hope your tendon problem clears up soon so you can return to complete it (and write "Part 2" up for us to read  :)  )



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gunwharfman

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)
« Reply #10 on: 19:57:59, 20/05/19 »
Thanks, I enjoyed reading your TR and the photos. I camped in that orchard, it was like sleeping on a thick down mattress. Did you walk through the middle of very tall sunflower plants? I did, about 1km long, overwhelming, claustrophobic, wet with dew and I had to put my glasses on to avoid losing an eye from getting poked at by the leaves! I had good weather when I hiked it and was happy to have so much contrast of landscapes.

Warbler

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)
« Reply #11 on: 16:15:45, 21/05/19 »

Thanks astaman, sunnydale and Mel.


Annejacko…..that does look a good alternative route. One of the paths from Tintern runs straight into the campsite I stayed at too. I'm not that much of a purist, and if I'd done a bit more research I maybe would have chose that way. That's hindsight though  :)


gunwharfman...….I don't recall the tall sunflower plants, but I do remember three fields of mud just before or just after the orchard.

bricam2096

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)
« Reply #12 on: 19:26:19, 20/06/19 »
Warbler, after walking from Knighton to Montgomery today I can tell you that you chose wisely to end your walk when you did as this was a day of going up steep hills then down again and repeating this quite a few times. Very sapping and that’s when your legs are fine so you would have really struggled on this section.
LDWs done - 31 in total including 15 National Trails and 3 C2C

Wainwrights 176
www.brians-walks.co.uk

Warbler

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Re: TR - Offa's Dyke Path (well, some of it)
« Reply #13 on: 22:14:50, 20/06/19 »

Ahhh the infamous "switchbacks". Your absolutely right, I would never have got through that section, or even to Knighton.


I walked 2 miles on the flat today, the furthest I've managed in 6 or 7 weeks. Hoping to step it up a little next week, but I can't see myself completing ODP this year as I had originally hoped.


Good luck with the rest of your walk.