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England and Wales: Welsh Borders (4 nights)

  • 5 Night Route

    Price: from £585
  • 4 Night Route

    Price: from £510
  • 3 Night Route

    Price: from £430

Offa's Dyke and the Marches

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Taking a breather south of Knighton

Taking a breather south of Knighton

Misty morning (photo: Nigel Sheath)

Misty morning (photo: Nigel Sheath)

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

The Teme valley near Knighton  (photo: Bill Boaden - cc-by-sa/2.0)

The Teme valley near Knighton (photo: Bill Boaden - cc-by-sa/2.0)

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)

Price: from £510
Nights: 4
Grade:
Walk: 6-8 hr/day

As this is a new route (2021), walkers' feedback will be listed here as soon as it is received.

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

At a glance

Welsh Borders 4-night option (3 days walking). The version for time-poor seasoned walkers. Add extra nights in any town (Bishop's Castle and Hay-on-Wye recommended).

How much walking?

Full days: 22-26km per day, 6-8 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 13-18km per day, 3½-4½ hrs walking using luggage taxis to shorten 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.

This version of the walk is for seasoned walkers, with an immediate 27km intro day – while the final two (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,  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: This is a new walk, so no feedback has yet been received.
COVID-19 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: Please read our summary of current regulations.

Route Highlights

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

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

We Recommend

Extra nights along the route, particularly at Bishop's Castle and Hay-on-Wye - the latter a must for the booklover.

How much Walking?

Full days: 22-26km per day, 6-8 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 13-18km per day, 3½-4½ hrs walking using luggage taxis to shorten days

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

Hard: Average Cumulative Uphill Stretches (CUSs) 960m per day

Medium: CUSs 560m per day using shortening options; 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?

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 - Bishop's Castle to Knighton

A long, hard, but oh-so-exhilarating day of great scenic variety, taking in the mid-point of the complete Offa’s Dyke walk as well as three substantial climbs. If you’re up for the challenge, your reward will be some fabulous views and a fulfilling day’s walk. (8 hrs (allow 9 hrs), 26 kms, CUSs 1200m)

Alternative: Lift (pre arranged, supplement) to the road above Churchtown (5 hrs (allow 6 hrs), 18 kms, CUSs 750m) OR Lower Spoad (after Newcastle) (3 hrs (allow 4 hrs), 12 kms, CUSs 600m)

Day 3 - 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 (allow 7¾ hrs), 22 kms, CUSs 820m)

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

Day 4 - 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), 25km, CUSs 830m).

Alternative: Take a lift with the luggage (small supplement) as far as Gladestry, avoiding Hergest (Medium: 4½ hrs (allow 6), 17km, 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 prebookable taxi – supplement)

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.

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

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

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

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

Night 1 (Upgrade)

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

Former bank manager's house with large rooms, south facing terrace and garden.

Knighton – The Red Lion (B&B)

Night 2

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 3

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 4

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 £510 for 4 nights

Total 4 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 £135
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS): From £135
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 £10 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)

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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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