I have a long term ambition to walk the complete length of the Offa’s Dyke Path and over the years I have nibbled away by walking odd sections which now leaves several gaps in the path to complete. One problem is that buses are a bit thin on the ground to say the least and so many walks have to be done as’ circulars’ unless you are back packing. One big gap which still remains to be walked is the section between Knighton and Welshpool which will take around four circular walks and one ‘bus’ walk to complete this section and so on a fine sunny day last September I opted to do a circular walk north from Knighton.
I’m en-route from Portishead to Macclesfield and so it’s an early start for my journey north to Knighton so it was well into the morning before I start out walking. The car park at the Offa’s Dyke Visitor Centre is virtually full and I set off on a fine sunny morning to follow the Offa’s Dyke Path north. The path crosses from Powys into Shropshire shortly after I start and a marker indicates the boundary between England and Wales on a little bridge. Here you can stand with a foot in both countries and get your picture taken if you wish. After crossing the railway then a minor lane I am faced with a steep ascent. A few other people are out walking on this most pleasant day. At the top of the ascent I next follow the path along the ridge with good views over the Teme Valley and beyond. Having passed another group of walkers I decide to stop on the summit of Cwm-sanahan Hill for lunch. It’s a glorious spot to while away the day but it is still early in my walk.
Setting off once more, a descent soon follows to the isolated house at Brynorgan and shortly beyond I reach a lane where today I will leave the Offa’s Dyke Path. It is a case now of cutting across country to reach the Glyndwr’s Way so I am half expecting a few path problems on this next section of the walk.
For nearly a mile, I follow a quiet lane then opt to take a path south as it is signed. After crossing a few fields I reach Lower Trebert which I am expecting to be a deserted farmstead but I am wrong. Loose barking dogs are in the yard of this farm and initially I look for a way to avoid the farm. The farmhouse door is open so I decide to shout to see if anyone is at home. A woman comes out and says that the dogs are alright so I cautiously crossed the yard and exit through a high gate on the far side. Luckily I have my walking pole with me. I am soon at another large farm complex at Graig and despite lanes passing through this farm they look more like tracks. Joining one such lane I descend to the village of Lloyney entering Wales as I reach the settlement. Now being in rural Powys I am now expecting path problems and I have plenty of time and feel that I might be venturous and tackle a few paths.
Leaving Lloyney my plan is to get over to Heyop and I set off up a minor lane before taking an unsigned path on the left crossing fields which will cut off a corner before returning to the same lane. The path exists to a degree but on both field boundaries the stiles have all but gone and remains of one such stile is well hidden in a hedge. Back on the lane I reach a point above Vineyard Farm and this is where I am expecting problems. I just happen to see a farmer so ask him if the path still exists through the farm and he tells me that it had gone but he wasn’t the owner of the land and I detected that he was sympathetic that I couldn’t go that way. It meant altering my route for the next few miles but as it turned out it would be very pleasant. I set off along a green lane before it drops down towards Knucklas passing on the way the slight remains of Cnwclas Castle on a steep mound. Built around 1220AD by the Mortimers, little remains of this castle other than a few mounds. There were numerous battles in the area and the castle soon fell into a ruinous state not long after it was built. Just below is the impressive castellated Knucklas Viaduct built in 1865. The owner of the land over which it ran had a say in its construction and hence ornate towers were built at either end. I drop down into the sleepy village of Knucklas before taking an uphill lane to the south. On the ascent I decide on taking the path towards Bailey Hill and this path affords some good views. I later join a quiet
road briefly before taking a track to the south and this enables me to take a small detour to reach the trig point on Bailey Hill. I sit awhile on the summit admiring the views on this fine September afternoon. It is so peaceful insomuch I could have sat there for hours. In the end I do draw myself away and set off east now with the Glyndwr’s Way which passes the top end of Downes’s Dingle. It is so nice to be out walking in the late afternoon on this perfect September day with lengthening shadows and no one else is around in this peaceful countryside. A long descent now follows with the grassy track becoming stony and later becoming a narrow lane as I drop down to Little Cwm-gilla. Crossing a lane I leave the Glyndwr’s Way and take a signed path below Garth Hill as my route back into Knighton. Despite it being a bit overgrown, it is a good route to enter the town. The tea shop at the visitor centre is just closing when I got back but time enough to buy an ice cream before making the journey home.
On the 29th of April this month I will be leading this walk again for our group but in the opposite direction. Of the couple of path issues, (two stiles) these were reported to Powys County Council and the RA after the walk so hopefully these have been resolved. The start out time will be earlier than when I walked it and so we should be back in good time for those who wish to use the cafe at the Offa’s Dyke Visitor Centre, so lets hope for good weather!