30th July – Knighton


I woke at 4.00 this morning and quickly realised that my leg was still a problem. I decided to spend one more day in Knighton. My sister in law Susan and her husband Michael kindly took me out to lunch which cheered me up no end.

I think that the leg is getting better and I plan to move on to Craven Arms tomorrow. Plan A is to try to catch up the lost days by cutting out rest days. Plan B involves leaving out a section of the Pennine Way near my brother’s home in Co Durham. I will fill this part in once we return from Scotland. I am committed to being at Fort William by September 13th. The weather seems to be improving which is always useful but tomorrow will be a critical day.

29th July – Knighton


I woke up to hear the torrential rain hammering against the window of my room. For once I was thankful that I did not have to walk.

My leg seems to be a little better and less swollen. Hopefully I will be able to move on tomorrow. I will decide tomorrow morning after another night’s rest. I have spent the day reading the Sunday papers and lying on my bed with my leg raised. All a bit of a nuisance but it has to be done. As long as I do not loose too many days I should be able to get back on schedule.

28th July – Hello Houston we have a problem

20180728 Drying the tent in my room
Drying the tent in my room


While I was on the Hatterrall Ridge I noticed a slight pain in my right leg.  On Thursday I just took some ibuprofen and it seemed a bit better. When I woke at Kington my lower leg was very swollen. I did not really enjoy the walk to Knighton as it was painful and I was worried that it might be shin splints.

Luckily in Knighton I was able to get an appointment to see the nurse.  She looked at it and said, “I will just get the doctor to examine that.”  He diagnosed an infection in my leg and has given me antibiotics.  He advised me to take 2 days rest and keep my leg raised as much as possible.  Luckily I could extend my stay at the pub and they have changed things around so that I can stay in the room I had last night.  They have even very kindly arranged to do some laundry for me.

We will just have to see how things progress as the antibiotics kick in.

All a bit depressing, and I am pleased that my friend Karen and her Mum are coming to see me this evening.

27th July – Kington to Knighton

20180727 Offa's Dyke near Rushock Hill
Offa’s Dyke near Rushock Hill


I left the campsite at 7.05 intent on reaching Knighton before the forecast rain arrived.  The trail rises steeply from Kington to Rushock Hill via the golf course.  As normal there were no signs at the course and I wasted 10 minutes trying to sort things out.  Crossing Herrock Hill I went down to Ditchyeld Bridge, before climbing again to cross the ridge to the next valley and Dolly Green.

20180727 Hawthorn Hill
Hawthorn Hill

From there it was a long pull up the ridge to Hawthorn Hill and then the descent into Knighton.  I reached the George and Dragon just after 2.00 p.m.

26th July – Hay-on-Wye to Kington

20180726 Looking down to Newchurch
Looking down to Newchurch


Another hot day was expected so we left Hay at 8.00. A short section walking next to the river was followed by a long climb up to the border before descending into Newchurch.

20180726 Disgwylfa Hill
Disgwylfa Hill


At the church there were hot and cold drinks and biscuits with an honestly box. Replete with tea we ascended over Disgwylfa Hill before going down to Gladestry for a late lunch.

20180726 Wyn descending towards Gladestry
Wyn descending toward Gladestry

Wyn ideally wanted to catch a bus to Hereford to start his journey home at 5.10.  As we were concerned about the time we decided to give the pub a miss.  This proved a good decision as it was closed!

20180726 The Hergest Ridge
The Hergest Ridge

Next came the Hergest Ridge which was a disappointment as in every way the Hatterrall Ridge was far superior.  Apparently it inspired Mike Oldfield to write Tubular Bells: Fields of Bracken would have been more appropriate.

20180726 Wyn on the Hergest Ridge
Wyn on the Hergest Ridge

The walk down to Kington was pleasant and we arrived at 4.30 in plenty of time for Wyn to catch his bus. It was very enjoyable to have had Wyn’s company for the last few days. We have been friends for over 40 years.

Now on my own again, I camped in Kington at a good site near the football ground.

25th July – Pandy to Hay-on-Wye

20180725 Ascent to the Hatterall Ridge
Ascent to the Hatterrall Ridge


Today was one of the red letter days of the trip so far.

20180725 Pandy from the Hatterall Ridge
Pandy from the Hatterrall Ridge

We left Pandy at 7.55 and immediately climbed 350m up onto the Hatterrall Ridge.  Once there we were blessed with amazing views as we gently climbed up to the highest point at 706m.

20180725 Trig point on Hatterall Hill
Trig point on Hatterrall Hill

The day was not without incident, as we met some soldiers on a navigation exercise, who were being assisted by medics on all terrain vehicles.  No lifts were offered despite serious hints!!  The parachutists on Hay Bluff also added some excitement to the walk, as did the ravens which accompanied us for much of the route.

From Hay Bluff the trail drops steeply to Hay mainly crossing farmland.


20180725 Wyn on the descent from Hay Bluff
Wyn on the descent from Hay Bluff

We arrived at Hay at 5.45 for a well-earned pint.  The Seven Stars was obviously once a pub but is now solely a guest house.

Tomorrow we will go over the Hergest Ridge to Kington.  The guidebook considers this possibly the best part of the entire Offa’s Dyke Trail.

24th July – Monmouth to Pandy

20180724 Monnow Bridge
The Monnow Bridge


We had an early breakfast and left Monmouth at 8.00 having stocked up with food at Waitrose.

After crossing the Monnow Bridge, the initial ascent into King’s Wood was quite pleasant as we had shade from the trees.

20180724 Sugar Loaf from the trail
Sugarloaf from the trail

After King’s Wood the trail mainly crossed fields. We picnicked at Llantilio-Crossenny before climbing up to White Castle.

20180724 White Castle
White Castle

The kiosk was closed so we continued to Llangattock-Lingoed and finally got some tea at the Hunter’s Moon, a fine 13th century pub. From there we made our way to Pandy and the Rising Sun Inn.

The accommodation was great as was the meal. The landlord kindly agreed to 7.00 a.m. breakfast in the morning. The Rising Sun also has a campsite and is highly recommended.

23rd July – Chepstow to Monmouth


For the first time on the trip I had some company today. My friend Wyn is going to accompany me for the next 4 days on the Offa’s Dyke path. We walked the northern section together in the spring.

20180723 Tintern Abbey on a hazy morning from the Devil's Pulpit
Tintern Abbey on a hazy morning, viewed from the Devil’s Pulpit.

We grabbed some breakfast at the station and lunch at a convenient Tesco’s before leaving Chepstow at 8.00.  The path climbs out of the town into the hills east of the Wye passing Wintour’s Leap, the impressive Tintern Quarry and the Devil’s Pulpit, before descending to the river at Brockweir.

It was great disappointment to find the pub closed and we continued our walk beside the Wye to Bigsweir.  From there we left the river to climb over the ridge in very pleasing woodland before dropping down to Redbrook.  Once again the pub was closed and the shop only has one teabag for their machine!  I enjoyed my tea while Wyn made do with Lucozade…

20180723 Naval Temple at the Kymin above Monmouth
The Naval Theatre at the Kymin

We climbed steeply out of Redbrook up to the Naval Theatre and Round House, a 19th century banqueting house, which overlook Monmouth.

20180723 Round House at the Kymin
The Round House at the Kymin.

We arrived at the Punch House at 5.45 to find a slight problem with our room.  The landlady could not have been more helpful in sorting things out.  We later had dinner in the pub, which is highly recommended.

20180724 Punch House Monmouth

Tomorrow we head off to Pandy in the Black Mountains.

20180723 Black Mountains and Monmouth
The Black Mountains and Monmouth

18th July – Aust Services to Chepstow


I finally managed a lie-in, and had breakfast at 7.30 – such luxury!  I left the hotel around 9 o’clock.

Task of the day was to cross the Severn estuary via the Old Severn Bridge, and then just pootle up to Chepstow to pick up my hire car.

Trying to cross the Severn bridge…   Ah!  There’s a footpath 🙂

Having avoided the traffic on the bridge, I reached Chepstow, collected the hire car and joined the traffic on the M4 to return to Wantage, arriving home in time for lunch.

17th July – Gordano to Aust Service Station

20180717 Crossing the Avonmouth bridge
Crossing the Avonmouth bridge


Today was a surprisingly good day considering that it started crossing the Avonmouth Bridge and continued through the outskirts of Bristol.

Blaise Castle, an eighteenth-century folly

After a large breakfast I left Gordano at 7.15 via a convenient path to Easton in Gordano, thus avoiding the lethal motorway roundabout. Having crossed the Avon, suburbia was almost immediately left behind with the route passing Kings Weston Hill, Blaise Castle, Blaise Hamlet and Henbury. From Henbury I crossed the M5 and then Spaniorum Hill before dropping down to Easter Compton. As the Fox was open I stopped for a pot of tea.

20180717 Blaise Hamlet
Blaise Hamlet

From Easter Compton I followed the road to Pilning. The guide route was described thus ” The paths are little used and mostly invisible, the cattle can be worryingly inquisitive and the footbridges overgrown and thorny.”  Not a great recommendation!!  Even he suggests using the roads.

From Pilning the way followed tracks and field paths, via Holm Farm and Bilsham Farm to Aust and the Boar’s Head. I arrived at 1.45 and stopped for lunch with only around another mile to complete.

For once the paths had been fairly well kept and maintained which made a huge difference to the enjoyment of the walk.  Approaching Aust I was pleased not to have had any more bovine experiences.  Coming to the penultimate field I was faced by a common problem: cows with calves, and in this case, a bull.  Naturally this was a large field and I needed to cross it diagonally.  I sorted out my poles and started to cross.  The cows decided to come and see me and the bull tagged along.  Luckily he was not at all interested in me, and stayed at the back of the herd.  One cow was particularly persistent and I was delighted to get through the next gate.  I should perhaps explain that cows make me nervous these days, as two years ago I was butted by a large Friesian and badly bruised.

Old Severn Bridge                        New Severn Bridge

Aust Services is a poor place now with only a WH Smith’s, a Costa and Burger King.

As it is only 4 miles to Chepstow I could easily have finished today.  Catch 22 again.

Tomorrow I am going to lie in and then amble over the Severn and collect a hire car to get me back to Wantage and a break until next Monday.