Offa's Dyke Walk
A wonderful walk going back 1200 years to the manual labour construction of a 177 mile long Earthworks, now a registered Ancient Monument, called Offas' Dyke.
- Going: Fairly level easy going.
- Duration: Allow 2 hours to complete the walk.
From the Town Hall walk past the shops along Broad Street and out towards the Ivy House Cafe. Turn right onto Princes Street and walk out of town ignoring any left or right hand roads. After a few hundred metres you will see a childrens play area on your left and just past the next road on your left will see a car park area with council recycling bins. Go into this car park and, keeping the football pitch on your left, walk to the far end. To the left of the far end of the car park there is a footpath leading out towards the field in front of you. This is the start of the Offas' Dyke Walk.
Proceed along this path and past the Montgomery wetland area on your right. Go through a gate and turn left to follow the hedge along the left hand side of the field. Keep going until you come to a far gate. After the gate turn right onto the Lymore Estate road heading towards a White house with dual roof peaks/apexes as in this photo. This shot was taken early on a wonderful, misty June morning.
You will walk on this road for about 3/4 mile going out past Montgomery Cricket Club on your left and into wooded countryside beyond.
You always find something different on these walks. On this early June morning we were fascinated by low level sunlight diffracting through dewdrops on a metal gate acting like miniature prisms. It looked like dozens of different coloured traffic lights were strung on each horizontal bar as the sun colours came through the drops, turning on/off as we moved our heads slightly.
We also came across this sleeping beast of tree felling machine that was not there the day before. Certainly not natural in the landscape, but adding another interest to the walk.
Eventually you come to a cattle grid, small gate and Offa's Dyke signpost. As you walk across this grid you leave Wales and enter England. This lies on the 177 miles long Offa's Dyke that stretches off to your right and off to your left. The Dyke is not visible here but will be revealed to you a little further on into the walk. Turn left after the cattle grid and keep the hedge on your left as you walk alongside the field. You are now walking along the edge of Offa's Dyke, which is concealed by the dense woodland to your left.
As you walk along the field you get lovely views out to your right across undulating countryside to a pointed top hill around 8 miles distant. This is Corndon Hill and there is a fabulous walk up it from its base at a place called 'WhiteGrit'. To walk Corndon it's best to drive out to 'WhiteGrit' and park before heading out up the hill itself. But that's another story to be told later.
Shortly, you will approach a stile and just before this to your left there is a large oak tree amidst a small clearing in the dense hedge. You've earned your first good look at the Dyke. Walk up to the tree and you will get your first glimpses of the impressive size and undertaking that is Offa's Dyke itself. This photo does not convey the depth or the width of the dyke itself - it is as wide as a roadway and in places 3 to 4 metres deep. You really need to be there to appreciate the sheer manpower, with primitive hand tools, that must have been toiled to create this dyke 1200 years ago digging away earth and piling it up along the sides. (You will pass along un-wooded sections of the Dyke later on in this walk and see it more clearly.)
Return to the track and cross the stile. Note the small lift-able section to the left hand side to allow dogs through. I thought this was a nice touch in the design of these robustly built stiles.
Immediately in front of you as you proceed along the track is a landscape feature Long Mountain which, as we walked in the early morning, was peeping through the low lying mist as in this photo.
Continue walking along the track keeping the dense wood covered Dyke to your left and cross another stile. Eventually you will cross a stile that leads out into a clear field ahead as the dense woodland ends on your left.
Cross the stile and head almost straight on but slightly right to keep a hedge on your right. You are now walking on the actual route of Offa's Dyke but it has been flattened and eroded over the 1200 years for a short distance. As you proceed along the track the contour of the Dyke starts to re appear. Go straight on through a gate and proceed to follow the track.
After a while Offa's Dyke can be clearly seen and you can appreciate the size of this 177 miles long earth feature.
The impressive views off to your Left as you walk along the Dyke at this point allow you to take in a panorama of Montgomery town, with its Church tower, the Montgomeryshire war monument on Town hill off to the left of the church, and Montgomery Castle sitting on the rocky outcrop high above the town. A pair of Binoculars will help you trace the local contours and features that make Montgomery such a special part of the UK.
We got a lovely added bonus on this early June morning as we were met be two friendly grazing horses along the Dyke. Anthea fed them by hand and even tried a little 'Horse Whispering'... though the overall effect was not really discernable as they simply went back to grazing shortly afterwards. Of course, she may have whispered instructions to go on grazing; in which case it was very effective indeed. Either way it made for a very pretty scene.
Looking back along the Dyke I managed to snap this shot of the horses atop the Dyke edge and it is one of my favourite images from our local walks. Note how the Dyke itself has been eroded over the last 1200 years. There was no regulatory control over filling it in, or any protection for this ancient monument until very recently. We are lucky to have such a well preserved section so near to our lovely town.
A short walk later you come to a stile meeting the main Montgomery to Chirbury road. Turn left along the road and head back into Montgomery. There are a few more nice views for you to enjoy as you enter the outskirts of the town.
After a while you will re-enter the built up area of Montgomery and go past the Fire Station on your left. A hundred metres or so later there is a roadway on your left containing a row of 4 small, old terraced cottages. Take that small roadway and walk along past the cottages, round the right hand bend and proceed forward along the white stoned driveway in front of you. You will pass 2 houses on your right and there is a footpath to the left of the last one. Walk up the footpath until it opens out into a wide Castle view across a field to your right and along the Severn valley down to Welshpool. As you continue to walk up the path you will pass a white fronted cottage on your left and get a lovely view of Corndon Hill beyond the cottage.
Continue up the path and go straight on keeping left to go past Montgomery Primary School. When you reach the church wall turn right into a road at a triangular island and then shortly turn left into the church gate and enter the cemetery. You can pass the church either to the right or left hand side as you walk through its grounds. I prefer to take the left route here as it gives a wonderful heightened panoramic view of the area you have just walked. You can easily spot the twin peaked white house and Montgomery Cricket Club in Lymore park from here. (The Church is also well worth a visit next time you have a little time on your hands.)
Leave the church yard at the far end and turn right. Proceed down the hill to return to the town hall and your start point and Cafés where you can rest and recuperate.
We hope that you have enjoyed this walk and stepping back 1200 years to the construction of King Offa's Dyke. Why not check out our other local walks around Montgomery that include: