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England and Wales: Welsh Borders

  • 6 Night Route

    Price: from £670
  • 5 Night Route

    Price: from £615
  • 4 Night Route

    Price: from £530
  • 3 Night Route

    Price: from £440

Offa's Dyke and the Marches

Back to Routes
Stiperstones Circuit

Stiperstones Circuit

Taking a breather south of Knighton

Taking a breather south of Knighton

Misty morning (photo: Nigel Sheath)

Misty morning (photo: Nigel Sheath)

Clun Castle (photo: Pixabay)

Clun Castle (photo: Pixabay)

Approaching Clun (photo: Peter Evans - cc-by-sa/2.0)

Approaching Clun (photo: Peter Evans - cc-by-sa/2.0)

Hay-on-Wye - Wales' book town

Hay-on-Wye - Wales' book town

Glorious bluebells in Park Wood

Glorious bluebells in Park Wood

Offa's Dyke before Kington

Offa's Dyke before Kington

Tea and cake at Clun after the walk

Tea and cake at Clun after the walk

The Teme valley near Knighton

The Teme valley near Knighton

St Mary's Church at Newchurch

St Mary's Church at Newchurch

A wintry day on Hergest Ridge (photo: Nigel Sheath)

A wintry day on Hergest Ridge (photo: Nigel Sheath)

Cottages in Kington (photo: Des Blenkinsopp - cc-by-sa/2.0)

Cottages in Kington (photo: Des Blenkinsopp - cc-by-sa/2.0)

Hay-on-Wye looks onto the river (photo: Eric Pugh - cc-by-sa/2.0)

Hay-on-Wye looks onto the river (photo: Eric Pugh - cc-by-sa/2.0)

Price: from £670
Nights: 6
Grade:
Walk: 4-8 hr/day

Travellers Blog

NEW – walk Offa’s Dyke on the English/Welsh border

Wednesday 9th June | Posted by On Foot Staff

NEW – walk Offa’s Dyke on the English/Welsh border view article

Harriet, just to report that I had an excellent holiday and I already mentioned what a fantastic experience it has been to book with you guys. The Bank House and the Swan at Hay were in particular amazing but the folks at the Burton and the Red Lion in Knighton were fantastic. We even fitted in a folk music evening in Kington to top it all off!

Veda Poon, London, UK - April 2022

We have been wanting to do another walk with you since a very happy and memorable walk in Austria, and the opportunity came up for my birthday treat (not wanting to go abroad yet), and we have always wanted to walk Offa's Dyke.

The weather was excellent - we had to buy sun cream as it said it was going to be rainy and cloudy all week, so we didn't take any - lesson learnt, pack for three seasons no matter what the weatherman says!

Lysanne Wilson, London, UK - October 2021

Lovely views and good footpaths. Well maintained stiles and gates and good way markings - follow the acorn. We liked the local breweries and the places that we stayed. All the staff were helpful and friendly and were willing to pass the time of day which made local contact enjoyable.

Susan Hills and Michael Haines, Northampton, UK - July 2021

We enjoyed the whole holiday, the walking is spectacular and organisation by On Foot Holidays gave us confidence to venture with the current pandemic.

Mary Lass, Godalming, UK, June 2021

Really liked quiet walking - this is not yet an over popular route. Splendid views across rolling hills and farmland. The simple pleasure of a cup of tea, shelter and meeting other walkers in the church at Newchurch was a highlight for all.

Penny Gardner, Oxford, UK, June 2021

Just to report that I had an excellent holiday - what a fantastic experience it has been to book with you guys. The Bank House and the Swan at Hay were in particular amazing but the folks at the Burton and the Red Lion in Knighton were fantastic. We even fitted in a folk music evening in Kington to top it all off!

Veda Poon, London, May 2022

More independent feedback
A self-guided walking holiday in the Welsh Borders with On Foot Holidays

At a glance

Welsh Borders 6-night option (5 days walking). The full version of the walk. Add extra nights in any town (Hay-on-Wye recommended). See 'Prices' tab for what's included.

How much walking?

Full days: 16-26km per day, 4-7 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 13-18km per day, 3½-4½ hrs walking using luggage taxis to shorten two longer days

Max. Grade:

The best walking on the Border

Offa’s Dyke, the 80 mile long earthwork for centuries marking the border between England and Wales, follows a route which makes best use of the topography, running along ridge tops between (formerly) fortified valley towns. The result is some splendidly scenic walking. In the section that we have chosen for our walking, the final days (at 22km and 26km respectively) will shake out decisively any cobwebs (though we offer shortening options too).

Less well known than the Dyke are the pretty little Marcher towns, settled around a castle to police the sometimes unruly frontier. Bishop’s Castle, Clun, Knighton, Kington and Hay-on-Wye are all historic, charming and friendly, with excellent eating and drinking in pubs and restaurants.

Our choice of Hay-on-Wye as the destination for this walk needs no apologies. Its world famous annual literary festival is matched by an astonishing number of independent second-hand bookshops of all sizes, giving limitless browsing opportunities for the walking booklover. The owners will send home your serendipitous finds anywhere in the world, unless you can’t resist taking your cherished volume down to the banks of the gentle River Wye for a lazy afternoon in the sun.

Walked by On Foot staff: Simon and Debbie

REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit Aito.com.

COVID-19 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: Please read our summary of current regulations.

Here’s a short film featuring Ali at The Walking Hub, with her dog Roo, giving a little taste of Offa’s Dyke and the friendly walking town of Kington (with thanks to Mother Goose Films):

Route Highlights

  • Offa’s Dyke, marking the 8th century border between England and Wales
  • The planned towns of Bishop’s Castle and Clun
  • The world famous literary town of Hay-on-Wye
  • Spectacular unspoilt and little-known hill country

This route features the following characteristics and interests: Remote, Villages and farms, Archaeology, Birdwatching, History

We Recommend

Extra nights along the route, particularly at Hay-on-Wye - a must for the booklover.

How much Walking?

Full days: 16-26km per day, 4-7 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 13-18km per day, 3½-4½ hrs walking using luggage taxis to shorten two longer days

Well marked national trails in the main.  Highest point on route 450m.  Generally easy underfoot.

Medium-hard: Average Cumulative Uphill Stretches (CUSs) 750m per day

Medium: CUSs 665m per day using shortening options on final two days; further shortening possible by arrangement.

GPS file available for handheld or smartphone App.

Important note: Times given for each day are walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops. “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb. See “Walk Grading” for more information.

When to go?

The best months to walk: late April, May, June, September, October

Other possible months: March, early April, July, August, November

This route is bookable throughout the spring, summer and autumn, though not during the Hay Festival period in late May/early June. Avoid the summer holidays if possible (but we can always try for you); summer weekends may necessitate a two night stay in some accommodations.

Start Dates

Recommended
Possible
Unavailable

Weather Chart

 

Temperature and rainfall chart for Knighton

Itinerary

About the Route

Day 1 - Arrive in Bishop's Castle

Settle into your lodgings, have a look around this historic town and consider tomorrow's walk over a drink before supper.

Day 2 - The Stiperstones Circuit

As a warm-up day this is perhaps a little strenuous for some, but it is a fine introduction to the area, and there are shortening options too. After taking a morning bus to the start, your walk takes you across rolling pastures towards the Stiperstones ridge, before turning south along the ridge and dropping through woodland into the deep West Onny valley. An up and then you descend once more through the three-century-old Linley beech avenue, passing Linley Hall, a gentle approach to Bishop’s Castle lulls you into a false sense of security as the final climb is steep, if short. (Medium-hard 5 hrs, (allow 6¾ hrs walking) 18 km, CUS 610m)

Alternatives: Stop at Lydham and catch the afternoon bus back to Bishop’s Castle or just treat this as an extra day and explore the delights of Bishop’s Castle, an old-fashioned, lively, arty market town.

Day 3 - Bishop's Castle to Clun

Not a long day, but a hard one by virtue of a very stiff uphill, on a blend of the Shropshire Way and Offa’s Dyke long distance paths. Our route goes from castle to castle, passing through a rural landscape with some far reaching views across the central part of the day, before winding down gently to the river at Clun. (Medium-hard: 4½ hrs walking (allow 5½ hrs), 18 kms, CUSs 750m).

Alternative: Lift (pre-arranged, supplement) to the road above Churchtown (Easy-medium: 1¾ hrs walking (allow 2¼ hrs), 8 kms, CUSs 200m).

Day 4 - Clun to Knighton

Leaving Clun, rise above its valley – some quiet asphalt walking allowing you to eat up the kms – before being reunited with Offa’s Dyke and (via a wicked climb) a glorious, view-filled fin du jour entry into Knighton, heart of Offa country. (Medium-hard: 4 hrs walking (allow 5 hrs), 15½ kms, CUSs 610m)

Alternative: Lift (pre-arranged, supplement) to Llanfair Hill (Easy-medium: 2½ hrs walking (allow 3¼ hrs), 9½ kms, CUSs 300m)

Day 5 - Knighton to Kington

A day of ups and downs criss-crossing the English/Welsh border from golf course to golf course! The route takes in hilltops with wide views across a predominantly rural landscape (more sheep than you could ever imagine) and meandering river valleys, never far from Offa’s Dyke. (Hard: 5¾ hrs walking (allow 7¾ hrs), 22 kms, CUSs 820m)

Alternative: Lift (pre-arranged, supplement) to start at Dolley Green (Medium: 3½ hrs walking (allow 4¾ hrs), 13 kms, CUSs 600m)

Day 6 - Kington to Hay-on-Wye

A long but majestic final day, starting west along the mighty Hergest Ridge to tiny Gladestry, before the path turns south to cross the little River Arrow at Newchurch.  One more bump to scale, then a gentle descent to the Wye valley and your triumphant entry into Hay-on-Wye.  (Hard: 6 hrs walking (allow 8 hrs), 25 km, CUSs 830m).

Alternative: Take a lift with the luggage (small supplement) as far as Gladestry, avoiding Hergest (Medium: 4½ hrs walking (allow 6 hrs), 17 km, CUSs 510m)

Depart for home

…. or far better, opt to spend an extra night in this famous little town to explore the bookshops and just relax.

Travel Information

ARRIVING BY AIR
The best “local” airports are Cardiff, Bristol or Birmingham. Intercontinental flights use London airports or Manchester.

Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.

For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.

BRISTOL, BIRMINGHAM or CARDIFF AIRPORTS
Land by: 16:00 for shuttle + train to Craven Arms (c. 2 hrs)
Return flight earliest: 16:00 for train connections from Hereford

HEATHROW AIRPORT
Land by: 14:00 for shuttle to Reading + train to Craven Arms (c. 3 hrs)
Return flight earliest: 16:00 for train connections from Hereford

MANCHESTER AIRPORT
Land by: 16:00 for shuttle + train to Craven Arms (c. 2½ hrs)
Return flight earliest: 16:30 for train connections from Hereford

See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information.

 

Getting to the start of the walk

ARRIVING BY TRAIN
Nearest railway station:
Start: Craven Arms, then 20 minute taxi to start (included)
Finish: Hereford station by bus (1 hr) from Hay-on-Wye (or order a taxi through your accommodation, pay locally)

ARRIVING BY BUS
Start: Regular buses from Shrewsbury (on national bus routes) to Bishop’s Castle (1 hr)
Finish: Regular buses from Hay-on-Wye to Hereford (on national bus routes) (1 hr)

ARRIVING BY CAR
Due to the shape of the route and the inadequacy of public transport between finish and start, coming by car is not recommended.  However, long stay parking (6 days max) is possible in Hay on Wye (pay locally), with a taxi from there to the start of the route.

Where You'll Stay

Accommodation throughout the route consists mainly of B&Bs or pubs-with-rooms, varying in sophistication. Upgrades are available throughout the route.

Bishop’s Castle – The Poppy House (B&B)

Night 1 & 2

Bishop’s Castle – The Poppy House (B&B)

Comfortable rooms above a popular tea room - friendly, family run.

Bishop’s Castle – Bank House (B&B)

Night 1 & 2 (Upgrade)

Bishop’s Castle – Bank House (B&B)

Lovely house with large rooms, south facing terrace and garden. Homemade, bread, marmalade etc for breakfast! 2 night stays mandatory at weekends.

Clun – The White Horse (B&B)

Night 3

Clun – The White Horse (B&B)

Traditional pub with good kitchen, beer garden and cosy rooms.

Knighton – The Red Lion (B&B)

Night 4

Knighton – The Red Lion (B&B)

The delightful rooms and welcome belie a somewhat forbidding exterior. Popular restaurant and bar.

Kington – The Swan (B&B)

Night 5

Kington – The Swan (B&B)

A fine old inn (with good restaurant) under new ownership that promises much for the future.

Hay-on-Wye – Old Black Lion (B&B)

Night 6

Hay-on-Wye – Old Black Lion (B&B)

Characterful inn of great history and quality, with an excellent kitchen.

We can also offer two upgrade hotels in Hay-on-Wye: the tiny, but gorgeous Radnor House (below left), particularly good for extra nights as it is run by keen walkers who’ll be eager to hear your experiences and offer their suggestions for additional walking in the area; and The Swan at Hay (below right), an independent hotel in a Georgian building with a good choice of rooms and facilities.

Prices

Price: from £670 for 6 nights

Total 6 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, lift from Craven Arms railway station to Bishop’s Castle, luggage transfers between all hotels on walking route; full Walkers’ Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated, and are based on a standard booking in May. Prices may vary seasonally and a fixed price will be given to you before you commit.

Single Room Supplement (SRS): From £200
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS): From £145
Large Party Saving (LPS): Groups of more than 2 people (on an identical itinerary, on the same booking and booked at the same time) –  discount of at least £15 per person
Maximum party size: 8

 

Add Ons

Upgrade accommodation possible on some nights: Contact On Foot.
Extra nights in any hotel: Contact On Foot Holidays

Taxi from Shrewsbury to Bishop’s Castle: Call us for details.
Taxi from Hay-on-Wye to Hereford: Call us for details.

Sending Walkers’ Packs to addresses outside the UK:  £10-£40 (per pack, location dependent)

Travellers Blog

NEW – walk Offa’s Dyke on the English/Welsh border

Wednesday 9th June | Posted by On Foot Staff

NEW – walk Offa’s Dyke on the English/Welsh border view article
Reserve your dates Add to shortlist
On Foot Holidays team

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On Foot Holidays team

This route has been designed by the staff team at On Foot Holidays in Salisbury.

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