‘Offa’s Dyke – Encounters & Explanations’ – Follow ODA friend Professor Keith Ray’s journey along Offa’s Dyke

The ODA is proud to be associated with Professor Ray’s journey along the full course of Offa’s Dyke. Keith’s research for his forthcoming book, Offa’s Dyke: Encounters and Explanations, will enable locals and visitors alike to understand the monument in its entirety, not just the fifty percent coincident with the National Trail. Tune in to Keith’s progress with his video blogs (offaprof) on Twitter @digitalself4

Keith’s press release

‘Offa’s Dyke, the mighty earthwork built in the eighth century by the most famous of the Kings of Anglo-Saxon Mercia, ran 150 miles from Sedbury Cliffs, on the Severn Estuary near Chepstow, to Gronant Beach, near Prestatyn in North Wales. The Dyke helped create a frontier zone between Mercia in the east and the Welsh kingdoms to the west. Although the Dyke does not follow the line of the modern political boundary, it can be seen as marking a first version of the border between England and Wales. Offa’s legacy remains with us today, over 1200 years later.

Between 15 March and 6 April Professor Keith Ray of Cardiff University will walk the entire route of the Dyke, as closely as possible, from south to north. His route will take in not only the sections which survive as huge landscape features through the Welsh Marches and Gloucestershire, but also lengths lost, hidden or damaged over time, now being identified by current research.

Keith will take not only the national trail, the Offa’s Dyke Path, which follows the Dyke for roughly 50% of its length, but also a series of unfamiliar routes to trace the rest. Although the parts of the Dyke that lie away from the Offa’s Dyke Path are less well-known, they are just as crucial to understanding Offa’s border zone and how it might have worked.

Keith’s walk is part of a project to strengthen understanding of the Dyke in its entirety. He has two objectives:

  1. To follow, as closely as rights of way and developing knowledge permit, the whole course of the Dyke as built – a first for a single walk.

  1. To complete field studies for a new book, Offa’s Dyke: Encounters and Explanations. This will be the first field and walking guide to help people explore the whole Dyke, including the long sections where the route differs from the line of the Offa’s Dyke Path.

At the same time, the walk is intended to make people aware of the vital, ongoing efforts of the Offa’s Dyke Association, in studying the Dyke, monitoring its condition, and promoting its conservation.


Professor Keith Ray was awarded an MBE for his services to archaeology in Herefordshire. He has researched and written about Offa’s Dyke and the Early Medieval frontier for 20 years. Today, Keith is Honorary Professor of Archaeology in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University.

For further information, please contact:

Terry Morgan (terrymorgan.harefields@gmail.com Tel. 07876 446666)