Saturday, 11 March 2017

Offa's Dyke Path

Chepstow → Monmouth

shaggy-sheep.jpg Distance: 17.65 miles
Ascent: 1017 metres
Duration: 6 hours 19 minutes

The Wye
« Not walked | Not walked »

On 20 February 1999 I completed my first ever stage of a National Trail. As I collapsed into an armchair at the Poppit Sands YHA, one of the other hostellers tried to empathise: "I started walking Offa's Dyke last year," he said. "Gave up after the first day. Couldn't do it." And so for the last eighteen years I've been a little nervous about the walk to Monmouth (that's part of the reason I shaved two miles off it yesterday).

For much of today I've been expecting a nightmare path around every corner. While there are plenty of steep sections – which were particularly slippery today – the route was actually rather tame.

redbrook.jpgThe River Wye winds its way from Monmouth to Chepstow, cutting a deep cleft in the countryside. The Dyke follows high above through thickly wooded slopes. Most of the walk was in this woodland.

I'm beginning to see the Dyke in every earthwork (much as I now see every mound of earth in Suffolk as a burial mound). It'll be a while before I'm "tuned in" to this landscape.

devils-pulpit.jpgDespite the day being hazy and overcast, there were still absolute highlights, particularly the view from the Devil's Pulpit down across the Wye to Tintern Abbey.

monmouth-bridge.jpgJust outside Monmouth the Path finally crosses the river and enters Wales. Now I've completed the walk that I've been fearing all these years I can look forward to the rest of the way to Prestatyn with confidence.

Posted by pab at 19:04 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!