Now we are under a month away, it is time to work through how we are breaking up the route, and where we will be staying.
This post details our plan, which keeps most days around fifteen miles and ensures that every night we have somewhere confirmed to sleep (hopefully with warm showers!). We are walking Offa’s Dyke North to South and in most cases we will be staying on campsites, with a few exceptions, that are dog friendly and easy to access from Offa’s Dyke.
Leg 1 – Mon 5th April – Prestatyn to Rhaullt
8.7 miles – 1493 ft
We are travelling up to North Wales on Bank Holiday Monday, and I was keen to make a start on the first day to clear Rhaullt (the first mile or so is through the town, which would be a nightmare with the dog, plus the local campsites seem quite expensive).
So on the first day we are having a gentle start and walking to Rhaullt. We will be staying at the Penisar Mynydd Caravan Park (£22 for two people in two tents with a dog), which is about a mile off the route. This was the only campsite to ask for a deposit – but then it is a bank holiday!
Leg 2 – Tue 6th April – Rhaullt to Bodfari
8.7 miles – 2012 ft
Our second day is also quite short to the other side of Bodfari. I believe there may be a campsite near Bodfari, but we will be camping in the garden of @gwenoldy, who runs a holiday cottage nearby, who has kindly offered her hospitality (showers and a cooked breakfast 🙂 ).
Leg 3 – Wed 7th April – Bodfari to Gweryd Lakes
13.8 miles – 3302 ft
On our third day, the mileage starts cranking up, as we head out into the Clwydian Range. We will be staying at Gweryd Lakes (£4.50 pp + £2 for the dog), tucked between the hills near three lakes. There is an on-site cafe, and the owners suggested they would be happy to open slightly earlier for us to have a cooked breakfast before leaving in the morning!
Leg 4 – Thurs 8th April – Gweryd Lakes to Llangollen
13 miles – 2140ft
On the fourth day we will be walking through the last bit of the Clwydian Range, before weaving between the mountain peaks into Llangollen. We will be staying at Tower Farm (£5 – about a mile from Offa’s Dyke (and slightly below).
Leg 5 – Fri 9th April – Llangollen to Trefonen
15.8 miles – 2974ft
The fifth day, where we pass through the grounds of Chirk Castle, leaves us stuck in Trefonen. There are several bed and breakfasts locally, but no campsites! Fortunately @JabberingJude has kindly come to the rescue and has offered us space in her garden – she lives about 6 miles from Trefonen, so this is the only day on the walk when the support team will be needed to give us a lift!
Leg 6 – Sat 10th April – Trefonen to Pool Quay
15.4 miles – 1242 ft
After getting a lift back to Trefonen, and following the course of the River Severn, the sixth day ends at Pool Quay – a historical hamlet just North of Welshpool. Again there are no campsites within walking distance however, after an email to the local pub – The Quay, it transpires that they are happy for people to camp on the grass outside the pub (and they are even happy for us to use the pub showers!).
I can almost taste the ale and home cooked food!
Leg 7 – Sun 11th April – Pool Quay to Brompton Crossroads
15 miles – 2087 ft
Just South of the Brompton Crossroads there is the Mellington Hall Caravan Park, just off Offa’s Dyke. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, they aren’t currently taking bookings over weekends. Fortunately they have very kindly offered to open especially for us on the Sunday!
Leg 8 – Mon 12th April – Brompton Crossroads to Knighton
13.5 miles – 3370 ft
Day 8 covers the hardest part of Offa’s Dyke – the ‘Switchback’ section in the Shropshire Hills. So we will be quite grateful, as we come down the final hill, to get to Panpwnton Camp Site (£4 pp), just North of Knighton on Offa’s Dyke.
Knighton is the official half way point of Offa’s Dyke.
Leg 9 – Tue 13th April – Knighton to Kington
14.2 miles – 2484 ft
After following the Dyke through hills and valleys, day 9 finishes in the centre of Kington at the Fleece Meadow Caravan and Camping site. Apparently we don’t need to book as we don’t require electric.
Leg 10 – Wed 14th April – Kington to Hay on Wye
15.2 miles – 2175 ft
From Kington we climb the Hergest Ridge, and then walk through moorland to Hay on Wye, staying at the Radnors End campsite (£5 per person), about 3/4 mile from Offa’s Dyke.
Leg 11 – Thurs 15th April – Hay on Wye to Pandy
17 miles – 2581 ft
This is the day I am most looking forward to (although it will be very hard) – Offa’s Dyke enters the Black Mountains, at the eastern side of the Brecon Beacons, passing high over the 1000ft Hatterall Ridge for almost 10 miles.
In Pandy, we will be staying at The Rising Sun (£5 pp + £1 for the dog), a campsite attached to a pub (I can’t help but feel we will be in need of beer and warm food when we come down from the Black Mountains!)
Leg 12 – Fri 16th April – Pandy to Monmouth
16 miles – 1627 ft
Our penultimate day brings us to Monmouth, the only place where I haven’t quite finalised our camp site. The Monmouth Caravan Park books up every weekend, and require a minimum stay of 2 nights, but I am waiting to hear if they will make an exception for us.
Leg 13 – Sat 17th April – Monmouth to Sedbury Hills
19.6 miles – 3654 ft
Our longest, but apparently the easiest, section of Offa’s Dyke, brings us to our finish on the Sedbury Hills.
To celebrate, we will be staying in the dog friendly hotel, The Beaufort Hotel, in Chepstow. I can’t help thinking we will sleep well 🙂
So… about 185 miles (including the extra miles to get to the campsites), and climbing a total of almost 30,000 feet (the height of Everest).
Please don’t forget we are doing this to raise money for the MS Society – you can donate at http://www.justgiving.com/offasdyke4ms