Feeling Today: 👍
So Far: 665.60 miles, 216:58 hours
On the half-century of days of this adventure and after my marathon yesterday, it was nice for Bob and me to enjoy a half-day meander. We started by wrapping up the last couple of miles of the Maelor Way in the valleys below Chirk Castle, a 14th century National Trust property and garden.
We then turned south on the Offa’s Dyke path and faced a steep climb onto the first few miles of walking alongside, and at times on top of, the earthwork itself. For this first stretch the dyke forms the Wales-England border but the border then veers off to the west and we were back in Shropshire. (Along the trail’s whole length about a third is in England and two-thirds in Wales).
I hadn’t realised that Offa was a Mercian leader who built 60 miles of the defence to keep out the Welsh from the adjoining kingdom of Powys! Other defences were built in the same way during the Dark Ages along the Wales-England borders, and have been incorporated into what we collectively call ‘Offa’s Dyke’ but weren’t in fact built by Offa.
We walked along some minor roads and passed through farmland and woodland, crossing the Old Racecourse Common – site of Oswestry’s ancient race course, before dropping into the steep Candy Valley where I’m staying.
Bob hit the road home and I spent a lazy, sun-drenched couple of hours in the garden of my B&B waiting for my hosts to turn up. I’m going to be on Offa’s Dyke for the next eight days and if this first day is anything to go by, it should be a super week or so!