A trek in the land of Offa

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE -

A PARTY from the East Cheshire Ram­blers ven­tured fur­ther afield re­cently and spent a week­end in Knighton in Powys.

Knighton lies close to the mid­point of the 177 mile long Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail which runs from Chep­stow to Prestatyn. The dyke is an earthen bank and ditch which was built be­tween 757 and 796 AD by the An­glo-Saxon King Offa as a west­ern de­fence of the King­dom of Mer­cia. To­day the em­bank­ment and ditch cuts across the land­scape and its best ex­am­ples are to be seen north and south of Knighton.

The Saturday walk started out from the Offa’s Dyke Vis­i­tor Cen­tre in the town and headed west us­ing part of the Glyn­dwr’s Way, an­other National Trail be­fore drop­ping down to the vil­lage of Knuck­las, famed for its castel­lated rail­way viaduct and nearby cas­tle mound. Knuck­las Viaduct con­sists of thir­teen stone arches and was com­pleted in 1865 and car­ries the scenic Central Wales Rail­way which runs be­tween Craven Arms and Llanelli. Above the vil­lage are the slight re­mains of Knuck­las Cas­tle on a prom­i­nent hill over­look­ing the Teme Val­ley. It was one of a chain of bor­der cas­tles and saw much ac­tion. Built by the Mor­timers be­tween 1220-1225 it was cap­tured by the Welsh in 1262 who de­stroyed much of the de­fences. To­day it pro­vided a good spot in which to have lunch. The walk con­tin­ued via the vil­lage of Lloyney where the walk passed into Shrop­shire and soon af­ter­wards joined the Offa’s Dyke Path for the walk back to Knighton along a fine ridge.

The Sunday walk headed south from Knighton fol­low­ing the Offa’s Dyke Path with views along the Lugg Val­ley as far as the ham­let of Dol­ley Green be­fore tak­ing field paths to the vil­lage of Nor­ton where the group stopped for lunch. Tracks were fol­lowed back to Knighton and like the pre­vi­ous day the walk was rounded off with tea and cakes in the Offa’s Dyke Vis­i­tor Cen­tre.

For de­tails of East Cheshire Ram­blers’ pro­gramme of week­end and mid­week walks rang­ing from four to 15 miles, go to ram­blers eastcheshire.org.uk.

The ram­blers pause be­neath Knuck­las Viaduct

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