Offa's Dyke Attractions
Offa's Dyke is an earth rampart built by King Offa of Mercia between 784 and 796 to provide protection for the Anglo-Saxons against Welsh attacks. It extends from the Severn estuary to the Dee, a total distance of some 170mi/272km.After defeating Caradoc, a Welsh prince, between Abergele and Rhuddlan (south of Rhyl) Offa built the wall to mark the border between Mercia and Wales. His palace was at Sutton Walls.The earth rampart was reinforced by a ditch on the Welsh side. It can be followed, with many interruptions, for a distance of more than 140mi/224km between the estuary of the Dee and the Wye. A second earthwork known as Wat's (or Watt's) Dyke, which is probably of somewhat later origin, runs parallel to Offa's Dyke, 3mi/5km away, for a distance of some 40mi/64km from the Dee to the Severn.
At certain places in England Offa's Dike is quite well-preserved, enabling the visitor to gain a good idea of what it was like. One such stretch of the Dike, which has survived almost intact, is near Kington, a small market town near the Welsh border. Kington is also noted for the large sheep market held annually in September.
Kington and District Museum
The Kington and District Museum is a local history museum with permanent displays and temporary exhibitions.
Address: Mill Street, Kington HR5 3AL, England
Opening hours: Apr 12 to Sep 30: 10:30am-4pm; Sun: 2:30pm-5pm
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Donations recommended.
Disability Access: No facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Restaurant or food service
Not far away from Kington (England) is Knighton (county of Powys, Wales), a little town set among wooded hills on the River Teme, with well-preserved stretches of the Dike on either side of the town. Here too there is a large sheep and lamb market in autumn.
An attractive little town where Offa's Dike can be seen is Montgomery (pop. 970), 10mi/16km south of Welshpool. It was formerly the county town (at least in name) of the old county of Montgomeryshire, now part of the new county of Powys. The little town, which has many Elizabethan and Georgian houses, lies off the main road, and its railroad station is a mile from the town. It takes its name from Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury (d. about 1093), who conquered Powys. The castle, of which some remains exist above the town (good view), was built by Henry III in 1223. Montgomery was the birthplace of the poet George Herbert (1593-1663), whose brother Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583-1648), the philosopher, also lived here for a time. In the 13th century parish church there is a monument to their father. The church also contains an early Norman font, carved misericords and a beautiful rood-screen, probably from the ruined abbey of Chirbury (Shropshire). The Town Hall is in the Georgian style.
A well-preserved stretch of Offa's Dike can be seen at Mold (pop. 7,730), county town of Clwyd (Wales). The town has a charming old High Street and a beautiful late 15th century parish church with its original glass. The painter Richard Wilson (1714-82) is buried there. The town's most famous son is the Welsh writer Daniel Owen, who is commemorated by a statue in the town center.
Cilcain Road Memorial
One mile south of Mold, in Cilcain Road, there is a pillar marking the spot where in 430 British forces led by St Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, defeated the pagan Picts and Scots.
Ruthin (pop. 4,430) has a castle and an interesting church.
Ruthin Castle Mediaeval Banquets
Ruthin Castle was built as part of Edward the First's campaigns against Wales. It was designed by Master James of St George, who was the architect responsible for other Edwardian fortresses, and much of his original design has survived or has been restored to a strong likeness of the original.It has since become a luxury hotel with attractive gardens and excellent facilities for hosting medieval banquets. At a Mediaeval Banquet visitors participate in the merriment of a four-course meal with entertainment.
Rhyl (pop. 23,124) is a seaport located at the mouth of the Clwyd
Prestatyn (pop. 16,439) is a resort town in northeast Wales.
Offa's Dyke Walking Path
Offa's Dike Path is one of the long-distance paths laid out by the Countryside Commission. The paths are waymarked and described in booklets issued by the Commission.The 177-mile / 285-kilometer route follows the English-Welsh border from Cheptstow on the River Severn, passing through the Wye Valley and Shropshire Hills to the North Wales coast at Prestatyn. Most of the trail follows the 8th century earthwork build by Mercian King Offa, and some sections move away from the Dyke towards varied scenery, including thick woods, open hills, pastoral lowlands and the Severn flood plain.
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