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England and Wales: Welsh Borders

  • 6 Night Route

    Price: from £770
  • 5 Night Route

    Price: from £700
  • 4 Night Route

    Price: from £610
  • 3 Night Route

    Price: from £475

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)

  • 6 Night Route

    Price: from £770
  • 5 Night Route

    Price: from £700
  • 4 Night Route

    Price: from £610
  • 3 Night Route

    Price: from £475
Price: from £770
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

The holiday was up to your usual high standards and thoroughly enjoyable. We liked the mixture of the Shropshire Way and Offa's Dyke Path.

Iain Robertson, Cheltenham, UK - June 2023

We had so much fun, and we've been continuing to talk about it almost every day over the five weeks since we returned to the USA. We both found it somewhat more challenging physically than we expected, but it was still well within our ability and was, in Kathleen's words, just "super fun"!

Brian and Kathleen Hamilton, Dallas, USA - June 2022

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.
Suggested route pairing: Dorset, Devon or Peak District

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, Debbie, Fi

Consider pairing this route with Dorset (5 hrs transfer by bus and train), Devon (4½ hrs) or Peak District (6 hrs) – for more details click here.

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

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

Things you should know

  • This route is difficult to access by public transport, so we will pick you up from the station on arrival (included). There are good buses at the end from Hay-on-Wye to Hereford, or take a taxi.

We Recommend

Extra nights along the route, particularly at Hay-on-Wye - a must for the booklover. Hay History Tours also offer an exploration of the town - see this link: www.haytours.org/hay-history-group

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.

Acrophobia/vertigo warnings: None.

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 walking (allow 6¾ hrs), 18 km (11½ miles), 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 6 hrs), 18½ km (11 miles), CUS 750m).

Alternative: Lift (pre-arranged, supplement) to the road above Churchtown (Easy-medium: 1¾ hrs walking (allow 2¼ hrs), 8 km (5 miles), CUS 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 5¼ hrs), 15½ km (9¼ miles), CUSs 610m)

Alternative: Lift (pre-arranged, supplement) to Llanfair Hill (Easy-medium: 2½ hrs walking (allow 3¼ hrs), 9½ km (6 miles), 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), 21½ km (13½ miles), CUSs 820m)

Alternative: Lift (pre-arranged, supplement) to start at Dolley Green (Medium: 3½ hrs walking (allow 4¾ hrs), 13 km (8 miles), 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 (15½ miles, CUS 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 (10½ miles), CUS 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 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 Blue Line Taxis in Hereford, 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.

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

BRISTOL, BIRMINGHAM or CARDIFF AIRPORTS
Land by: 16:00 for shuttle + train to Craven Arms (~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 (~3 hrs)
Return flight earliest: 16:00 for train connections from Hereford

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

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.

 

Getting to the start of the walk

See above for advice on transfers to and from your walk. All arrivals into Craven Arms train station include a 20 min taxi to the first hotel in Bishop’s Castle. From the last hotel in Hay-on-Wye, take a bus to Hereford train station (1 hr) or order a taxi through Blue Line Taxis in Hereford (pay locally).

For pre-bookable taxi prices see “Prices”.

Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.

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.

Please note: walkers bringing dogs may not be able to do all route versions (check the tabs at the top of the screen) or have the same choice of accommodation. For this version, walkers with dogs require changes of accommodation in Bishop’s Castle, Kington and Hay-on-Wye.

Bishop’s Castle – Bank House (B&B)

Night 1 & 2

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.

Bishop’s Castle – The Castle Hotel (B&B)

Night 1 & 2 (Upgrade)

Bishop’s Castle – The Castle Hotel (B&B)

Old established hotel at the top of the town, with garden and views.

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 – Horse and Jockey (B&B)

Night 4

Knighton – Horse and Jockey (B&B)

Bustling pub catering for walkers. Hearty pub grub for those with tired feet, too!

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 – Rest for the Tired (B&B)

Night 6

Hay-on-Wye – Rest for the Tired (B&B)

Lovely B&B in a 17th century building, with a warm welcome and great breakfasts. And a bookshop downstairs!

We can also offer  The Swan at Hay (below), an independent hotel in a Georgian building with a good choice of rooms and facilities.

Prices

Price: from £770 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 £285
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS): From £165
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: Around £60 through Blue Line Taxis, payable locally – ask us for details.

Sending Walkers’ Packs to addresses outside the UK:  £20-£60 (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
Sarah Price

Our local team

Sarah Price

Sarah is a qualified lowland walk leader, and leads walks as a profession with her own business, Walk Hay, specialising in working with those who may have difficulty walking by themselves, or be nervous of doing so for many reasons. She loves to share her passion with as many people as possible and introduce them to the stunning countryside in her part of the world on the Welsh/English border.

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