Offa's Dyke South - 2007
Day Six: 22nd September
Weather: Misty drizzle / rain for most of the day
Route: Kington to Knighton: 14 miles and 1 for good luck
Woke up a bit earlier today so I could get to Knighton around 2pm. I reckon they were a bit lazy when it came to naming towns in the borders, they just added an ‘h’ to Kington. As always I ate a hearty breakfast to give me the energy for walking slightly quicker today, and drank the usual litre of water to avoid dehydration and carrying too much water. The guide book stated that today’s section was probably the best section of the Dyke to be seen with the path following close to it for most of the day. It was indeed impressive in places, shame about the low cloud.
I set out to the North and had a rapid climb straight up the side of Bradnor Hill. Then across the golf course,’Nice day for a walk’ I was greeted with sniggers as it was drizzling heavily. ‘Nice day for Golf…shame you brought your wife’s clubs’..I walked on swiftly after that. The views would have been spectacular as the countryside becomes very rolling with steep sided hills and broader valleys in between. Once clear of the golf course it was onto grazing pasture for a mile, with my head in the clouds. I said hello to the Dyke once more and followed it along over hill, down dale etc. Down Rushock Hill was very peaceful as was most of the morning. The heavy mist and rain cut out any intrusive noise and there was an eyrie silence as I walked along. The sight of the well formed Dyke never ceased to amaze me how big it is in places. I suppose it was local bragging rights who had the best section.
Lazy cow…shelter behind the Dyke.
it would have been impressive scenery if I could see properly
Some of the walking was difficult as it was along stony parts of the dyke, that was eroding away, and farmer’s fences close up to the side which made any deviations to find a better route impossible. I was up about 1280ft early on, which brewed up the usual damp T-shirt. But once along the top I had to drop down to the valley again, a taster of the rest of the day. I skirted around Burfa Bank with an old hill fort on the top. A good site for one, as it had a commanding view of the West.
typical up and down of the day..but can still see the dyke
Even the sheep were weighed down with the rain
Back up the Evenjobb Hill over rolling farmland and thankfully the path followed the Dyke at a higher level. The smaller sections of Dyke tended to be on top of the hills, but I expect that’s because they have been worn away by farming, grazing and walkers over the years.
Lugg Valley - An impressive section, deepened by water over time.
I continued onwards in and out of the rain clouds with reasonable views to the West. I found my pace quickening the nearer I got to Knighton as I didn’t have to worry about arriving too early and drinking too much beer.
Only five miles to go, brighter down the valleys
The path stayed high in the hills towards Knighton and the fields were well marked and the path well trodden, an easy end to the trip. As I approached Knighton I was still at 1100ft and passed by another golf club. No sarcastic golfers this time. As always on this trip the descent from higher up was quite steep and care had to be taken not to go downhill too fast. I looked ahead to Panpunton Hill the other side of the valley, the hill that had me wondering if I was doing the right thing when I walked the Northern section of the Offa’s Dyke path a couple of years ago. It rises up from 300ft to over 1200ft in the blink of an eye…mainly blinking from the sweat pouring off my brow! I arrived at Knighton at around 2pm and had averaged 3mph for the day. I felt relaxed, happy and a bit fitter than when I had set out from Chepstow. I celebrated by nipping off to the chip shop before resting on a nice bench. That was the end of my first National Trail – 177 miles, even though I had walked it in two seperate sections………nice!
Knighton - The End or The beginning?
P.S. – I walked the Northern part of the path a fair few years ago before the days of a digital camera. So I realise now I will have to do it again to complete the diary….doh, but It's a good excuse to get out and about again.