- The National Trails
- Cleveland Way
- Cotswold Way
- England Coast Path
- Glyndŵr's Way
- Hadrian's Wall Path
- North Downs Way
- Offa's Dyke Path
- Peddars Way / Norfolk Coast Path
- Pembrokeshire Coast Path
- Pennine Bridleway
- Pennine Way
- South Downs Way
- South West Coast Path
- Thames Path
- The Ridgeway
- Yorkshire Wolds Way
Trail Information and FAQs
We have tried to provide answers to the most common questions about the Trail here. If you can't find the information you are looking for please contact us directly and we'll do our best to help.
About the Trail
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.
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.
You can also enjoy some of the best bits of the Trail along circular walks
The fastest time we are aware of is: 47hr 25 mins total running time (gross time 64hr 10 mins ). This was done by Michael Wood in July 2012
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.
The day-to-day management of the path is undertaken by the National Trail Officer, who is based in Llandrindod Wells, in conjunction with the eight local authorities and one National Park Authority along the route.
If you are interested in helping out by volunteering your time contact us for more information on current opportunities.
If you are interested in supporting Offa's Dyke Path you could join the Offa's Dyke Association. The ODA has around 1,000 members who carry out surveys, promote the path or help in other ways.
Exploring the Trail
Mobile phone reception can be patchy, please don’t rely on your phone to help you navigate.
Some accommodation offers Wi-Fi – if this is important to you please check when you book.
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.
There is station at Knighton, which is the mid-point of the trail, and home of the Offa's Dyke Centre.
Local buses call at points on or near Offa's Dyke Path. See the transport page for more information.
There are several companies that can help you with baggage transfer. Some B&Bs can arrange to move luggage for you, check when you book. Alternatively you can arrange this yourself using local taxi companies – see the baggage handlers page for a full list.
There are companies who will arrange your whole trip for you, including baggage transfer and accommodation booking. You will find a list of these on the holiday operators page.
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.
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 !
The entire Offa’s Dyke Path follows a series of defined Rights of Way along which you have a legal right of access. It is clearly signed with the Acorn and the name of the Trail.
An acorn is the symbol of the National Trails and it will be found at regular intervals along the Trail.
When using the Offa’s Dyke Path you will see the following symbols on the Trail or on connecting paths, which can be used by vehicles, horse riders, cyclists or walkers as indicated.
An acorn, the symbol of Britain's National Trails, is used to guide your journey by marking the route in a variety of ways. It is used in conjunction with coloured arrows or the words 'footpath', 'bridleway' or 'byway' to indicate who can use a particular right of way.
The yellow arrow indicates a path for use by walkers The word 'footpath' and/or a yellow arrow indicates a path for use by walkers only and where, without the landowner's permission, it is illegal to cycle, ride a horse or drive a vehicle.
The blue arrow indicates a path which can be used by walkers, horseriders and cyclists The word 'bridleway' and/or a blue arrow indicates a path which can be used by walkers, horseriders and cyclists but where, without the landowner's permission, it is illegal to drive any vehicle.
The plum arrow indicates a restricted byway. The term 'restricted byway' and/or a plum arrow indicates a path which can be used by walkers, horseriders, cyclists and carriage drivers but where, without the landowner's permission, it is illegal to drive any motorised vechicle.
The red arrow indicates a byway. The word 'byway' and/or a red arrow indicates a right of way which can be legally used by walkers, horseriders, cyclists, carriage drivers and motorists.
To report a problem on the Trail go to the ‘report a problem’ page. From here you will need to identify where the problem is on the map and add some details. If you want to be informed about progress to resolve the problem please add your email address.
Trail staff aim to resolve problems as quickly as they can but some things do take a long time. Please be patient if you do not see immediate resolution.
Who can enjoy the Trail
The Trail is not available for cycling or riding – there are bridleway sections but they are fragmented.
Your dog is welcome on Offa’s Dyke Path. You will need to keep it under close control and we would recommend a lead when passing through areas where stock are grazing. There are stiles on the route and your dog will need to be able to cross them.
In some areas you may encounter cows with calves, these can be very protective and may be aggressive towards dogs. Try to avoid walking close to cows with calves, if you encounter any aggression release your dog, do not try to pick it up.
Offa’s Dyke Path is not suitable for motor vehicles.
Some sections follow minor roads where you may encounter traffic and estate tracks where you may meet vehicles.
What is special about the Trail
The Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail is one of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales. National Trails are designated by the Secretary of State and are administered by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, and managed by the local authorities and National Park Authorities whose area they pass through.
Most National Trails have a dedicated Trail Manager/ Officer responsible for maintaining the high quality standards on the Trail. National Trails are waymarked with the distinctive “acorn” symbol.
National Trails are special because they pass through some of the best landscapes, and they are managed to a very high standard. Because of this you can be confident that any journey you make along a National Trail will be one of the best you have taken.
Natural England sets quality standards for National Trails and their management. You can find out more on the Natural England website.
The journey of the Offa’s Dyke Path through the borderlands of England and Wales truly offers something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a gentle stroll for an hour or two, or wish to undertake the whole Trail over a couple of weeks or more, a memorable walk amid spectacular countryside is guaranteed.
The landscape is always stunning, from the riverside meadows of the Wye and Severn valleys to the peaceful rolling hills of Shropshire and Powys and the dramatic heather clad uplands of the Black Mountains and the Clwydian Range / Dee Valley.
The Path passes through or near to many historic towns, including Chepstow, Monmouth, Hay-on-Wye, Kington, Presteigne, Knighton, Bishop’s Castle, Montgomery, Welshpool, Oswestry, Llangollen, Mold, Ruthin, Denbigh, and Prestatyn. Along the way you will discover majestic castles, quiet country churches, enigmatic Iron Age hillforts and enticing country pubs.
And, of course, the Trail frequently follows the impressive Offa’s Dyke itself. This amazing hand-dug bank and ditch was built in the 8th century by command of King Offa of the ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. It was probably intended to divide Mercia from rival kingdoms in what is now Wales, and some sections still form the England/Wales border today.
Maps, guides, certificates and merchandise
There are a number of different maps and guides. The official guide is produced by Aurum Press. You can see a list of the most popular maps and books on the Maps and Guides page
We are developing a Hall of Fame, to showcase the achievement of people who have walked the Trail. This will include a certificate and special key ring and will hopefully be in place towards end of 2013.
You can see a video showing the history of Offa's Dyke through pictures and narration here :
How to add information to the Trail map
Anyone can add information to the website. We hope that people who have enjoyed the National Trails will want to share their good experiences and that businesses will promote their services by adding information to the map.
You can add information to the map. This includes:
- Points of interest or attractions
- Services - for example shops, pubs, vets, cycle hire shops etc
- Details of your accommodation business
- Events - for example farmers’ markets, village fetes, guided walks
- Information to help horse riders or cyclists such as busy road crossings or water points
To add content you will need to sign up – click the join button in the top right corner. You’ll need a username and an email address. We won’t give your email address to anyone, we’ll only use it if you need a password reminder or if we need to contact you directly. For more information read our data protection policy.
Once you’re signed in you can add information to the map by clicking here.