Chairman’s Blog

‘Offa’s Dyke – Encounters & Explanations’ – Follow ODA friend Professor Keith Ray’s journey along Offa’s Dyke Friday, 17/03/2023

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.

KEITH RAY

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)

Walking with Offa – Cerdded gydag Offa Sunday, 30/10/2022

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Offa’s Dyke Path in 2021 ODA trustee and artist Dan Llywelyn Hall walked its 177 miles length and made a series of paintings inspired by the sights and scenes along the way.

Dan’s paintings were on display during summer 2021 in our newly refurbished Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton, Powys. You can still buy the exhibition’s accompanying book: Walking with Offa – Cerdded gydag Offa from our on-line shop for £7.99 + p&p. All of the exhibition paintings are featured in the book.

 

 

Dan’s paintings

Course of the Ancients

Exiled Visitor

Llanthony Spirit Portal

The Grand Master of Buttington

Elation at World’s End

Quarry of Caractacus

Radnor Processional

The Borrow and Thurlow Encounter

Synergy at Ceri Pole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chairman’s Blog – 26th October 2019 Monday, 28/10/2019

Offa’s Dyke Centre welcomes Trefonen school display

We are delighted to exhibit at the Centre an Offa’s Dyke display by pupils from Trefonen primary school. The display was originally curated for the Trefonen Exhibition and Heritage Walk in September, dedicated by the Trefonen Heritage Protection Group to the ODA’s 50th Anniversary.

The village is immensely proud of its location on the Dyke and it is heart warming and reassuring to see the school encourage this young generation to take such an interest in its local heritage. Presenting the display at the Centre enables us to acknowledge publicly the strong links now cemented between Knighton and Trefonen.

 

Offa’s Dyke Association call for volunteers

Do you have a few hours to spare and interested in discovering what goes on behind the scenes at one of the leading heritage organisations along the Welsh borders? We might be what you are looking for. If you can spare a few hours, just once a week, to help us with day-to-day running of the Offa’s Dyke Centre  then please get in touch. Either call in, email oda@offasdyke.org.uk or ‘phone 01547 528753.

We are a membership-based charity and entirely self-funding. We do not receive any financial assistance from either central or local government.  

The dust never settles  

In its long history the past couple of months were without doubt the busiest that the ODA has ever witnessed. Our 50th anniversary year as the friends’ group for Offa’s Dyke and Offa’s Dyke Path has ushered in many changes, and firsts, as we continue to grow and evolve into a leading conservation orientated heritage organisation. The remainder of the year promises to be just as eventful.

In March the walkers’ Passports arrived from the printers and the finishing touches made to the stamping boxes before their delivery to the 12 stamping stations ready for the slightly early start this year of 15th April. Trailblazer delayed going to press in order to include the Passport in its new edition guidebook to the Trail, so becoming the first publisher to do so. Remember that income from the Passport supports the Offa’s Dyke Conservation Fund; they cost £5 + 99p p&p from our on-line shop.

March and April saw visits to our printers and designers, WPG Group of Welshpool, to commission four pieces of design work. Our new dual purpose Offa’s Dyke Centre / membership leaflet and walkers’ certificates both use the eye catching painting of Offa’s Dyke on Springhill by Knighton artist Elaine Morgan. The certificate costs £3.00 and is now available from the Centre and via our on-line shop.

A new interpretation panel explaining the making of ‘Offa’s Throne’, unveiled at last year’s AGM, was installed only the day before this year’s meeting on 4th May. The fourth design project was a permanent tribute plaque, unveiled at the meeting, to four of our founder members: Frank and June Noble and Ernie and Kathy Kay, all sadly no longer with us.

In April we said goodbye and gave our best wishes to our long serving member of staff Catherine before welcoming Harriet and Rhian to the Centre. Handovers are always busy times but not a moment has been wasted as we begin to work up ideas for taking the Centre forward.

The Kington Spring Walking Festival over the weekend of 13th & 14th April dedicated four walks to the our 50th anniversary and it was a pleasure to talk to a 100+ audience at their buffet on the Saturday evening. Organisers Kington Walks are members of the ODA and I sold a couple of 50th anniversary mugs and they have just announced that their September wakking festival will dedicate another walk, from Kington to Knighton, finishing at the Centre for coffee and cakes. Thanks Kington, looking forward to seeing you again!

The 50th anniversary AGM weekend was a great success with four guest speakers over two days. The proceedings kicked off with the official launch of the walkers’ Passport with keynote speaker Professor Howard Williams from the University of Chester and guest professional singer Emily Boulton stamping their Passports to launch the scheme.

Preparations for our ‘Living History’ Saxon re-enactment event on 13th & 14th July at the Centre, in partnership with Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, are in full flow. Now that is a date for your diary! Keep an eye on our events page for more details.

Only the week after the AGM two or our trustees, Ian Mackey and Mel Roxby-Mackey, both archaeologists, travelled to Conwy to talk to a primary school about King Offa and the Saxons. Mel is the ODA’s ‘Resident Archaeologist’ and Ian is in charge of our Outreach work. More about their their trip to follow soon.

The offer to talk last week to BBC Radio Shropshire’s Adam Green about the ODA and Centre was too good to miss. Adam said no preparation time, just start talking, as he toured the Centre and park. As soon as we stepped outside the heavens opened but that didn’t dampen our spirits. Adam also interviewed a couple of willing walkers who afterwards visited the Centre, enjoyed some cake refreshments and then bought two Passports. Altogether a good day with two five minute slots on Adam’s evening programme to look forward to.

We couldn’t let the 50th anniversary pass by without a dedicated souvenir and we are proud to announce our limited edition mug. Its design, very kindly donated by artist Mike Middleton (Twitter @wulfgarthebard) features ‘Offa’s Throne’. A must for everyone who loves Offa’s Dyke it costs £6.99 + £3.00 p&p from our on-line shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2018

Keep an eye on the new ‘ODA at 50’ page and remember, if you live in a village or town along the Dyke or National Trail and would like to organise and affiliate an event to our 50th birthday celebrations then pleas get in touch. So far we can report that walks are planned for next year in Chepstow and Kington.

Donations are now more important to us then ever before. If you have enjoyed your visit to the Offa’s Dyke Centre then please consider making a donation. The Centre has a donation box but you can also make a donation via this website.

At our AGM in May we simplified our membership categories. We now offer ‘Individual’ membership at £20 per year and ‘Joint / Family’ membership at £25 per year. We very much value our loyal membership who enable us to carry out our educational work here at the Centre and to maintain our Conservation Fund. In the past two years we have grant aided four conservation projects with one more in the pipeline for later this year.

We also have a new membership category for charity / not-or-profit / community groups at £20 per year. Contact the Centre on 01547 528753 or email oda@offasdyke.org.uk to request a pdf application form. If a group runs an amenity useful to walkers, for example a community shop or café, then the membership fee entitles the group to a website advertisement. See the Llandegla community shop advert at https://offasdyke.org.uk/where-to-stay/accommodation-on-offas-dyke/

Small shops and tea room / cafés can join for £25 per year and have the same advertisement.