In spring 2019 the Offa’s Dyke Association will launch its walkers’ Passport scheme for Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail.
Many other trails in the UK and abroad have their own passport schemes. In Spain, the Santiago de Compostela has its ‘Pilgrim’s Passport’ while nearer to home the Wye Valley Walk has run its own scheme since 2009. The Hadrian’s Wall Path passport, perhaps the most successful of the National Trail passports, has operated very successfully since that trail opened in 2003.
The Offa’s Dyke Path ‘Passport’ will be a paid for souvenir. There are annual costs associated with running the Passport but once the expenses have been met then the aim is to use the surplus towards paying for conservation projects the length of the Dyke and National Trail. Walkers will effectively be making a donation towards the long term conservation and welfare of the monument.
In the past two years the Conservation Fund has made four grants, with one more in the pipeline, towards conservation works along the Path and Dyke. So far the money has come from our charitable reserves but our aim is to increase the amount available for conservation projects and for that to happen we need the Passport to be a success.
We hope, therefore, that walkers will agree to make a small contribution towards the well being of the Path and Dyke. We propose to charge £5 per Passport, the same as on Hadrian’s Wall Path where the passport there runs on a very similar basis. (At this point I should admit to the fact that I set up the Hadrian’s Wall Path Passport in 2003 and managed it until February 2017 when I left my role of National Trail Officer on the Wall).
We also hope that walking companies will want to encourage this form of visitor payback by buying the Passports for their customers.
The Stamping Stations
We are planning on establishing around ten or eleven ‘stamping stations’ (small wooden boxes, see attached photos) along the National Trail. We are carefully selecting locations where responsible local businesses or community groups will be able to keep an eye on the outdoor 24/7 stamping boxes.
The next steps
As soon as we have signed-up the full set of stamping stations then we will design and print the Passports; our goal is to start selling them later this year, certainly before Christmas. In keeping with our aim, wherever possible, of supporting local suppliers the Knighton ‘Men’s Shed’ has agreed to make the stamping boxes for us and they will be ready for setting out in time for the start of the first passport season in our 50th anniversary year.
Watch this page for the latest news. It will be updated regularly as stamping stations are signed up and as plans progress.