Landscapes for Life
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are some of the UK’s most cherished and outstanding landscapes.
At 177 miles long this is the big brother of the Wye Valley Walk.
The Offa’s Dyke National Trail passes through the Wye Valley AONB between Chepstow and Monmouth, running along stretches of Offa’s Dyke on the English side of the Wye. Offa’s Dyke is a linear earthwork which more or less follows the boundary between England and Wales from the Severn to Prestatyn in North Wales. It is made up of a ditch and rampart. The ditch was built facing (what is today) Wales, probably to create an open view into Wales. It was about 27 metres wide and 8 metres high from the ditch bottom to the bank top. It was built by Offa, ruler of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, in about 780 AD, but we don’t know if it was a defensive structure, in response to border threats from the Prince of Powys, or if it was an agreed boundary. Either way it seems to have been abandoned fairly quickly.
You can see parts of the Dyke along the Offa’s Dyke National Trail in the Wye Valley AONB, where you can get a feel for its original impressive dimensions. The structure is visible where the path passes through Highbury Wood and Cadora Wood (between Bigsweir and Redbrook) and in Wogan’s Wood near Devil’s Pulpit, above Tintern.
Offa’s Dyke has had a lasting impact on the way people living either side of it define their cultural identity, especially contributing to a sense of common unity among the people living to the west of it in Wales.