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King Offa's Dyke

A 182 mile hike in Wales and England

Offa's Dyke Path

Once upon a time, between 757 and 796 AD, there lived one of the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kings. His name: King Offa of Mercia. His kingdom was part of the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of south, east, and central Great Britain; known collectively as Heptarchy.

Offa was a religious king, but he struggled with the evil Archbishop of Canterbury: Jaenberht. The Archbishop was greedy for power and he and the King could not see eye to eye. Jaenberht would not consecrate the King's son: Ecgfrith of Mercia as the successor to King Offa. And this made the King very angry. So Offa managed to persuade Jaenberht's boss Pope Adrian I to divide the Archbishop's archdiocese of Canterbury in two, creating a new archdiocese of Lichfield. King Offa had his son consecrated in 787 AD and in so doing made an enemy of the evil Jaenberht forever. The Archbishop daren"t challenge the King's power for fear of the King's wrath.

Chepstow castle

This story reads like a fairy tale, but is in essence true. There really was a King Offa. One of the many things he did was build an earthen mound in Wales. It stretches from the River Wye in southern Wales to the estuary of the River Dee in northern Wales. The King used the earthen mound, also known as a dyke, to keep Welsh invaders out of his kingdom of Mercia. It is known today as the Offa's Dyke Path and is a 182 mile hiking path that leads one through some of the most spectacular and beautiful scenery in the British Isles.

This is the first of a series of articles on walking the Offa's Dyke. We will venture together on this gorgeous walk and experience its wonders and dangers. We will meet the local people, taste the local food, and share the quaint (yet sometimes Dickensian) accommodations.

Join me walking the Offa's Dyke Path.


If you use Contours Walking Holidays it will cost £765 ($1,196.81) per person for the 13 nights, 12 days walking package. This includes accommodation and luggage transportation at each nights stopover.

It will cost between $564 to $4,015 to fly from San Francisco to London Heathrow airport.

It will cost £22.00 ($34.42) by bus from London to Chepstow and £30.10 ($47.09) Prestatyn to London.


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