along Offa - practicalities

We walked the middle section of Offa's Dyke Path in August 2014, and although there was some rain, mud was nothing like the problem it had been on the first section. The hills are not so high, and there was no one difficult day.

This is a recognised trail, and there are plenty of websites with helpful information, such as the
Offa's Dyke Association. This has lots of information about accommodation, luggage transfer etc. Accommodation could be a problem, as this is a very unpopulated area, and villages struggle to survive, losing schools, shops, pubs etc. Most days will need a picnic.

1. Walking days
This version takes five days plus travel on the previous afternoon to Hay-on-Wye.

2. Getting there and away
Getting there: train from London Paddington to Hereford via Newport Gwent (3½ hours), then Stagecoach Bus (No 39 or 39A) from the Bus Station (5 minutes walk) to Hay Castle (1 hour - they are not very frequent).
Getting away: train from Welshpool to London Euston (3½ hours).

3. Books & Maps
We used Offa's Dyke Path South in the National Trail Guide series (Aurum Press), with good maps and description as far as Knighton, then Offa's Dyke Path North on to Welshpool. On this occasion we didn't take the Harvey's map with us. We left the path three times to get to B&Bs, and in each case the books had a circular walk (with map) covering the locations.

4. The route: The signage is generally good: a black acorn logo, some yellow arrows, and wooden signposts. We didn't have any trouble except for one signpost (day 1, at 225483) that had been deliberately turned round (they are quite heavy to lift out of the ground, so somebody must have thought it was really funny. We put it back.)

B&B in Hay at the Rest for the Tired. Hay is a tourist town, there's lots of choice. Approprately, this one is both a B&B and a bookshop.
Day 1: Hay-on-Wye to Gladestry (11 miles)
We just followed the trail. No lunchtime facilities. We stayed at the Royal Oak.
Day 2: Gladestry to Pilleth (12½ miles)
Kington is a good place have a coffee and buy lunch. At the end of the day we came off the trail where it crosses the B4356 to get through Whitton to Pilleth; efficient but boring, with traffic sparse but quite fast-moving. The map of a circular walk from Rhos-Y-Meirch (p121 in our edition) shows prettier, if slightly longer, ways. We stayed at Pilleth Oaks B&B, just beyond Pilleth and on the left, though you might find one nearer to the path.
Day 3: Pilleth to Newcastle on Clun (13 miles)
We rejoined the path via the same map, bought lunch in Knighton and walked on (now using Offa's Dyke Path North) to the Clun valley. We stayed at The Quarry House; it's just left of the path, and they also cooked us an evening meal (the pub marked on the map is now closed).
Day 4: Newcastle on Clun to Montgomery (11 miles)
We left the path at 241991, and the path to Montgomery via Lymore Park is on the next page of the guide. B&B at Llwyn House, opposite the Dragon Inn where we had good meals and drinks.
Day 5: Montgomery to Welshpool (10½ miles)
We bought lunch in Montgomery then, using the map, walked back through a different bit of Lymore Park to join the path as far as the (rather nasty) roundabout beyond Buttington Bridge. The guide (p 64 in our edition) shows a path along the canal right into Town, with a further walk to Powis Castle if there is time before the train.