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Offa 3 - practicalities
Welshpool to Prestatyn


This is the top third (or slightly more than that) of Offa's Dyke Path. It is a recognised national trail and has an Association. This also means that there are companies who can transport your luggage for you (or, if you are camping, your tent). B&Bs will sometimes do this too, for a fee.

1. Days needed
We took seven days, including travel from London. Some of these days were quite short, and we could have done it in six, as follows:
Day 1, go as far as Llanymynech (it's a nice town with a good pub and several B&Bs).
Day 2, go to Chirk Mill, where there is a B&B.
Day 3, go to Llandegla. Then as day 5 below.

2. Getting there and away
From London: train from Euston to Welshpool via Birmingham International,about 3 hours.
To London: train from Prestatyn to Euston via Chester and Crewe, about 3 hours.

3. Map
We used the National Trail Guide to Offa's Dyke Path North (Knighton to Prestatyn), which includes 1:25,000 maps of the route. We left the path once, for a B&B at Llangynhafal, and the route description is below.

4. The route
Day 1: Welshpool to Four Crosses.
We took a very early train and were in Welshpool before 10 am. In our edition, the path from town is shown on page 64 of the book. Out of the station, you go up the main street until you meet the canal, then turn right along it to join Offa's Dyke path on a path before Buttington Bridge (the join is rather nasty). We stayed at Ty Coch Bungalow, which is not the Ty-Coch marked on the map, but further up the (very busy) A483 on the other side. It's actually nearer to Llanymynech, and we had a lovely meal at the Dolphin Inn there.
Day 2: Four Crosses to Trefonen.
We had to walk back up the A483 to near Four Crosses to take the path round by the canal, but it was worth it because this is a lovely bit. Then coffee in Llanymynech before moving on to Trefonen. We stayed at Lynstead Lodge (right on the path) and dined in the Barley Mow, just round the corner.
Day 3: Trefonen to Froncysyllte.
At the B4500 we took the permissive path up to Chirk castle (it means going a few yards right along the road) to have a look round. We stayed at Cloud Hill B&B, which is where the path crosses the A5, but there are quite a few B&Bs round here. We ate in the pub at Froncysyllte, and there is an almost-always-open cafe there too for sandwiches for the next day.The quickest way is along the A5, but the towpath is lovely.
Day 4: Froncysyllte to Llandegla.
We chose to walk over the Aqueduct, and were surprised how scary it was; the path has a rail on one side, a small canal on the other, and a big drop below. We stayed at Llyn Rhys Farm, but they don't normally do B&B, we were lucky. The Crown Inn is round the corner. There are other B&Bs around, but mostly to the north of the village and not quite so convenient for the pub.
Day 5: Llandegla to Llangynhafal.
We couldn't do the whole Clwydian range in one day, so came off just beyond the Jubilee Tower and went west off our map. After the Tower you go downhill, and at the first crossing path, where there is a gate in the fence on your right, take a left downhill. The path looks unprepossessing, but soon widens out and is very well marked. At the bottom meet a crossing path, go right, cross a little valley, and then look among the nettles for a continuation path downhill (just to the right of a barn roof). Carry on through farms to a minor road (with 'The Tithe' house on your left). Turn right, then right again, to come to Esgairlygain, which is actually south of the village. The pub was shut on a Monday, so they drove us to Ruthin for a meal.
Day 6: Llangynhafal to Bodfari.
We returned the same way because we knew it - about an hour to the top. With the right map you could take a lower path, miss out a couple of hills, and rejoin the path at the Moel Arthur car park. We stayed at Llety'r Eos Ucha in Bodfari, which is past The Downing Arms, further along the path up the hill, right along a lane, then down another lane. (Don't try the marked path shortcut; it's completely overgrown at the end, as we found to our cost.) We had a lovely meal at The Downing Arms.
Day 7: Bodfari to Prestatyn.
We just followed the path, past the railway station, to the sea. We ate by the station while waiting for our train.

Jeremy Polmear