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Offa’s ​Dyke Path celebrates its 50th anniversary

Offa's ​Dyke. Credit: National Rail

Marking the day that the National Trail was first opened by Lord Hunt, back in 1971, on Saturday 10 July, partner organisations and walking enthusiasts commemorated the path’s past 50 years with shared memories, walks, exhibitions and celebrations.

Attending the official ceremony at the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton, along with representatives from key organisations from both sides of the Wales-England border, Councillor Heulwen Hulme, Cabinet Member for Environment and Countryside Services, said, “Here in Powys we are fortunate to have the longest stretch of the Offa’s Dyke Path within our county boundary.

“We are always happy to welcome the many visitors and walkers to our wonderful and panoramic county, all of whom enjoy the diverse Powys landscape and the warm and eager hospitality extended to them in our picturesque market towns, villages and rural communities along the route.

“I personally have walked several sections of the path as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme albeit many years ago. The enjoyment of that has ensured my enthusiasm to get out and continue to walk this beautiful landscape remains important to me.

“I would like to thank Natural Resources Wales and Natural England for their ongoing support and all managing authorities and partners for all the hard work ensuring the Offa’s Dyke Path remain accessible, not only for the past 50 years, but for many more years to come.”

Reopening shortly, following 18 months of closure, the Offa’s Dyke Centre has a new interpretive display and a beautiful new addition of a commemorative window by stained glass artist Stephen Bradley. The centre will also be hosting an exhibition to celebrate the landmark anniversary by artist Dan Lywelyn Hall, called Walking the Offa. The paintings, inspired by the monument and path will be on display once the centre opens till October 2021, for members of the public to enjoy at a safe and social distance.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a bilingual publication featuring 14 newly commissioned poems inspired by the Offa’s Dyke Path and written by leading Welsh poets, including Poet Laureate of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn wll be released in commemoration of the anniversary.

To celebrate the anniversary National Trails Officer for Offa’s Dyke Path, Rob Dingle set himself the challenge of road-tripping the full length of the 177-mile route on 10 July. Travelling from the path’s most northern point in Prestatyn and stopping off at 17 of the most iconic landmarks, until finally arriving at Sudbury cliff in the south, 13.5 hours later.

“Having worked in my role for more than 14 years, it’s fantastic to see so many people joining forces to celebrate the many wonders of the National Trail in its 50th year,” said Rob.

“We hope that the celebrations will encourage even more individuals, families and walking groups to explore this national treasure and the landscape of the breath-taking borderlands that the Path so closely follows, during 2021 – and beyond.”

Whilst on the path, walkers will be able to see the brand-new, 50th anniversary way-markers which have been installed along the full length of the Path to mark the milestone occasion.

Members of the public are encouraged to take a picture of themselves with the 50th anniversary roundels and share it on social media with the hashtag, #OffasDykePath50 to receive a limited edition ‘Offa’s Dyke Path 50’ key ring, while stock lasts.