Walking with Offa – Marking 50 years of the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail
Offa’s Dyke Centre re-opening
Exhibition of new paintings inspired by Offa’s Dyke
12 leading British poets to respond with newly commissioned poems
New Offa’s Dyke exhibition unveiled
Walking groups from all over the UK to walk entire length of Dyke to mark anniversary
Dignitaries will re-open the Centre
Campaign launched to rescue the historic monument
On St David’s Day, 2021, the Offa’s Dyke Association and Centre will re-open its doors to the public. Visitors will find a new exhibition interpreting Offa’s Dyke, its people and landscape with the displays arranged so as to promote social distancing. The year also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Trail and the ODA is proud to present the first of the year’s events planned to mark the occasion.
An exhibition by artist, Dan Llywelyn Hall, with new paintings inspired by the Offa’s Dyke monument and path by will be on public display until August, 2021. In conjunction with the exhibition a new publication with 12 poems (marking each section of the 177 mile path) will be launched including leading poets such as Gillian Clarke – a poet Laureate of Wales, Owen Sheers, Twm Morris, Robert Minhinnick, Menna Elfyn and Oliver Lomax. Other features of the anniversary celebrations includes: Stephen Bradley – a stained glass artist – will be commissioned to make a commemorative window for the Centre’s re-opening. A nation-wide walk of the entire route by walking groups will arrive at the Centre on St David’s Day. Dignitaries will greet the walkers and a celebratory outdoor gathering with music. Dan is seen here painting on Offa’s Dyke with an audience.
The monument is important to Dan Llywelyn Hall: ‘ Offa’s Dyke has always loomed large in my psyche. The frontier of a hinterland somewhere between past and present. The Offa’s Dyke Centre is the cultural centre of the monument and its protector-in-chief. It’s an antidote to ignorance of our heritage and by extension, our shared landscape. I look forward to celebrating this anniversary In words and images and mining this rich seam of common ancestry.‘
On the 10th July a ceremony to mark 50 years to the day since the National Trail was opened in 1971 will be held in the park behind the Centre and the ODA is working with and supporting National Trail Officer Rob Dingle to ensure that the occasion will be a great success. The weekend of 9th – 11th July will also see the third Living History Festival in the park, once again jointly funded and organised by the ODA in partnership with Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) so the Path’s 50th anniversary event could not have a better platform to present itself to the world. Once again the Festival will be free to visitors as the ODA and CPAT want as many people as possible to engage with our shared heritage. In this photo John Hunt, leader of the 1953 expedition to climb Mount Everest, addresses the crowds that thronged to the park in Knighton on 10th July 1971.
In spring 2021 the new Offa’s Dyke Conservation Project Officer will move into the Centre. The ODA has partnered Cadw and Historic England with the first end-to-end survey in the history of the Dyke in both Wales and England and the appointment shows the long-term commitment of all three organisations to the future conservation and well being of the monument. Meanwhile the ODA continues to make its Conservation Fund available for the award of modest but important grants towards the cost of conservation-based projects along the Dyke. Anyone with a direct interest in managing the monument may apply including the National Trail Officer.
The ODA has welcomed two new members in 2020 to its Board of Trustees with one resigning. The trustees are united in their desire to use the Offa’s Dyke Centre to help the ODA deliver its charitable aim of helping the general public to understand and enjoy the Dyke, also to appreciate its fragility and the need for its conservation.
We are looking to appoint a new manager to run the Centre and the post will shortly be advertised. Anyone with experience of managing a small museum or heritage Centre together with retail and catering experience will be encouraged to apply. Likewise if you are interested in taking on the running of the Centre’s tea room, as a stand alone business, then email manager@offasDyke.org.uk to arrange to discuss.
We are also looking to volunteers to help us in the Centre after it has re-opened. Covid rules require a constant front of house presence to ensure that the exhibition rooms operate within their capacity and to make sure that visitors follow the NHS track and trace protocols. The Centre is a great place to help out and in exchange for a few hours once a week we offer a coffee and cake on us. That and good company. We are one of only three National Trail friends’ groups and, with being founded in 1969, we are also the oldest. Interested? Please email email@example.com
We would like to point out that while we are currently closed to the visiting public we are still available for weddings, for general room hire and our on-line shop is always open for sales of Offa’s Dyke Path books and maps. The ODA are confident that the ODC has a continuing place at the heart of the community in Knighton, welcoming both local people and visitors to the town along with many thousands of walkers through its doors. We want to expand what we do with the Centre and work to ensure its long term future in the town.
Finally, we would encourage people to become members of the ODA and join us on this exciting journey or, if you have an accommodation business then become one of our an advertising members. Our website and accommodation guide advertising rates are very good value for money. Individuals can join online and prospective business advertisers should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Requests for interview: email email@example.com
Creative lead: Dan Llywelyn Hall
Offa’s Dyke Association and Centre: Dave McGlade (ODA Chairman)
Additional notes to editors
The Offa’s Dyke Association is the friends’ group for both Offa’s Dyke the ancient monument and Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail. Founded in 1969 it is a membership based charity with a mission to enable visitors to understand and enjoy the Dyke and its Welsh March environs. The ODA also actively promotes the conservation of the Dyke.
The ODA is the only organisation with a watching brief over the full length of the Dyke in both England and Wales.
The ODA runs the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton, Powys, with a free to view exhibition on King Offa, his eponymous Dyke and the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail.
The Centre is the home of the Offa’s Dyke branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club.
The ODA operates the Offa’s Dyke walkers’ ‘Passport’ scheme which raises funds for the ODA’s Conservation Fund for the monument