Chairman’s Blog

Phased re-opening of the Offa’s Dyke Centre Friday, 27/08/2021

 Offa’s Dyke Centre phased reopening

After a difficult 18 months the Offa’s Dyke Centre is undergoing a limited re-opening until the end of the season.

Our next open days are as follows:

Saturday 23rd October 1 – 4pm

Sunday 24th October 11 – 4pm

Monday 25th October 11 – 4pm

Friday 29th October 11 – 4pm

Saturday 30th October 11 – 4pm

Sunday 31st October 11 – 4pm

See you there for our brand new Offa’s & Wat’s Dykes interpretive displays

We look forward to seeing you in 2022, opening Easter for a full season. Meanwhile we are still available for room hire, weddings, conferences.

We are recruiting volunteers. Join us over the close season for socials, training and visits to other sites and attractions

Offa’s Dyke Centre covid-19 rules

For the safety of everyone you are expected to comply with the following house rules:

  • except when you are eating or drinking at a table, or unless you are exempt, wear a face mask or covering
  • sanitise your hands every time you enter or re-enter the building
  • sign the track and trace register or use the NHS covid-19 app
  • maintain a 2 metre social distance

Q – Why can’t we open longer and on more days?

A – We would like to open on more days but there are problems with the toilet block which need to be resolved. We continue to have constructive talks with our landlord, Powys County Council. The ODA and County are working hard to resolve the issues in the interests of ensuring a long term sustainable future for Knighton’s only tourist attraction.

As well as weekend opening we are still available for one-off hire of the Centre.  We are now fully equipped as a small conference venue and the Centre is licensed for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies. 

Offa’s Dyke Centre covid-19 rules

For the safety of everyone you are expected to comply with the following house rules:

  • except when you are eating or drinking at a table, or unless you are exempt, wear a face mask or covering
  • sanitise your hands every time you enter or re-enter the building
  • sign the track and trace register or use the NHS covid-19 app
  • maintain a 2 metre social distance

Q – Why can’t we open longer and on more days?

A – We would like to open on more days but there are issues with the toilet block which first need to be resolved. We had begun discussions with Powys County Council, the owner of the block, about its use by Centre customers when there was a sudden collapse of the slate wall boundary with our neighbours in the old primary school next door. The wall is not part of the toilet block but Powys County Council need to inspect the toilet block slate wall to make sure that it is safe. When the outcome of that investigation is known then hopefully the urgent repairs required to the toilet block roof can be looked at.

Walking with Offa – Cerdded gydag Offa Sunday, 25/07/2021

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.

Although Dan’s paintings are on display in the newly refurbished Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton, Powys, the Centre remains closed until a satisfactory arrangement is in place regarding the WC block, which the ODA does not own, adjoining the building. This is a complex issue but we hope to be in a position to make an announcement soon.

Meanwhile if there is sufficient interest in viewing Dan’s paintings we are happy to arrange for a private preview day. Contact oda@offasdyke.org.uk

Dan’s book, Walking with Offa – Cerdded gydag Offa, is on sale in our online shop for £12.00 + p&p. Besides the sixteen paintings catalogued in the book, twelve poets, including National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn, respond to the theme of Offa’s Dyke.

 

Dan’s paintings – for individual prices contact oda@offasdyke.org.uk

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Offa’s Dyke Centre & Public Toilets – Position Statement   Wednesday, 7/07/2021

My name is Dave McGlade. I am a Knightonian and Chairman of the Offa’s Dyke Association (ODA), a purely voluntary role. I am not paid and along with other ODA trustees give my time freely. Without that gift of time and effort neither the ODA nor the Offa’s Dyke Centre would exist. The past sixteen months have of course been difficult for everyone and the Offa’s Dyke Centre is no exception. During this period of time I have given 30 – 40 hours a week, often a lot more, trying to keep the Centre afloat.      

In response to recent comments in social media I think it might be useful to provide a basic fact file on the ODA, the Offa’s Dyke Centre, our relationship with Powys County Council and the public toilets block attached to the Centre.

  1. The ODA is a volunteer-led membership-based charity.

  2. It was founded in 1969 by Knighton school teacher and archaeologist Frank Noble. Frank believed that if people were to understand the Dyke they first needed to have access to it. He therefore championed the NationalTrail and following a long campaign to persuade government to establish the Trail on the ground it was declared open 50 years ago on 10th July 1971. For more than half a century the ODA has tried to perpetuate Frank’s vision. 

  3. Our charitable aim is to enable the general public to understand, appreciate and enjoy Offa’s Dyke. We provide services to walkers and accommodation providers, we promote the National Trail and support the Trail Officer. We are also heavily involved with the conservation of Offa’s Dyke and our Conservation Fund financially supports projects that protect the monument.

  4. The Offa’s Dyke Centre is managed by the ODA. We believe that the provision of free to view interpretive displays for Knighton folk and visitors alike helps us to deliver our charitable aim.    

  5. The Centre was opened in 1999, a partnership between Powys County Council and the ODA. The ODA contributed £50,000 from its reserves towards its construction. 

  6. The public toilet block is not part of the ODA’s lease to run the Centre. Powys County Council used to run the toilets until three years ago when Knighton Town Council took them on. However, in January this year the Town Council decided that it no longer wanted to provide the amenity for the public.

  7. As a charity we cannot take on responsibility for the provision of public toilets, something that was hitherto paid for by the taxpayer. We could not afford to do so and our charitable aim would not allow it either. Charity law protects the funds donated for Offa’s Dyke related initiatives and projects meaning that they cannot be spent on anything else.

  8. Between 1999 and 2017 we received an annual grant from Powys County Council for the running of the Tourist Information Centre function. The grant was withdrawn in 2018. We used to receive rental income from hosting two National Trail Officers but that arrangement has since stopped. 

  9. Powys County Council owns the building and the ODA pays rent to the council for it.

  10. The ODA does not receive any form of revenue funding from either local or national government. We are entirely self-supporting and generate our income from memberships, donations, the Centre shop and the sale of teas, coffee, etc.  

  11. We do have Knightonian members in the ODA but of course would like to see more!

  12. We feel that we are also a victim of the decision to close the toilets. We cannot re-open without a toilet for our customers but we are fully prepared and very willing to talk to anyone, any organisation, any time in an attempt to find a sensible resolution to the problem. In the meantime, the Offa’s Dyke Centre, refurbished with funding provided by the Welsh Government, will have to remain closed.  

  13.  We always welcome volunteers to lend a hand with the running of the building, meeting visitors and helping to expand the café facilities. ODA members are also entitled to apply to become a trustee. 

I urge anyone who feels strongly about the importance of the centre to the town to get involved, whether as a volunteer, an ODA member or trustee, and help towards its future success. If you have any questions or ideas you would like to share feel free to email the centre at the address shown on our website rather than using social media.

Let us hope that the centre can reopen as soon as possible with facilities of which we can all be proud.

Dave McGlade

Chairman ODA

Offa’s Dyke Centre refurbishment on target for re-opening Thursday, 22/04/2021

The new look Centre is edging closer to completion and, covid rules permitting, we will shortly set a date for our re-opening. In the meantime we thought you might like to take a glimpse at what we have been getting up to.

We haven’t stopped for a moment with not only a major refurbishment of the fabric of the building but also with our new Offa’s Dyke exhibition. The wooden floor has been sanded and re-lacquered (see work-in-progress photo left) the walls repaired and painted and LED lighting installed throughout.  We have expanded the space available for interpretive content with the construction of new display boards and lecturns in the small exhibition room and conference organisers will be interested in our new projector, monitor and sound system  (recent photos, below)  Our focus is now on the exhibition and there is still much to do but we will be ready for when the green light is given to once again open our doors!

 Meanwhile if you would like to consider helping us by volunteering in the Centre please email manager@offasdyke.org.uk There are lots of roles, it is a great place to spend a few hours and in return for your time there is a coffee and cake on us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calling Offa’s Dyke B&Bs, hotels, camp sites, small shops & cafés Sunday, 29/11/2020

Offa’s Dyke Association

Promoting Offa’s Dyke overseas

Advertising walkers’ accommodation for 2021 season

2020 is a year that none of us will forget quickly, especially if you run a hotel or B&B, or like us here in Knighton at the Offa’s Dyke Centre, a heritage visitor centre. The lockdowns and special measures that we have all had to put in place to become Covid compliant have tested everyone to the limit.

Until the situation becomes clear we cannot set a date for our re-opening the Centre together with our new Offa’s Dyke exhibition and season long exhibition of paintings of Offa’s Dyke by artist Dan Llywelyn Hall. However, with encouraging news about the Covid-19 vaccine we hope to soon see walkers enjoying the Dyke and National Trail.

We want to play our part in reviving the tourism economy of the Offa’s Dyke corridor. We are proactively promoting Offa’s Dyke, the National Trail and the Welsh Marches to walking and outdoor magazines, newspapers, journalists and travel writers, also walkers’ associations, universities and archaeology groups, both at home and especially overseas. We have written an article for translation into Dutch, German and French, specifically targeting the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Over the next few weeks our press release will be issued far and wide across Europe.

We expect to see an increase in enquiries from potential visitors and of course the aim is to see the enquiries translated into bookings for you. We naturally want people to be able to access as much information as possible about organising their walking holiday along Offa’s Dyke. With this in mind we would very much like to include you and your business in our accommodation listing for 2021.

Our 2021 hard copy accommodation guide has now been printed but businesses can arrange to advertise on the website at any time during the year.  We are keeping the costs as low as possible – our prices have not increased since 2008 and a single website listing costing £38.  If you are interested then simply email manager@offasdyke.org.uk leaving your phone number and we will contact you.

This link will take you to our accommodation page with a map of the National Trail and Welsh borders. Click on a section of map to reveal icons for individual properties. Simply follow the links from there to see the property information https://offasdyke.org.uk/where-to-stay/accommodation-on-offas-dyke/

By clicking on “click here” on the map page you will see the other very useful way of viewing the properties, a north to south listing https://offasdyke.org.uk/where-to-stay/accommodation-on-offas-dyke/

We from ODA want to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and healthy 2021.

Thank you,

Dave McGlade

Chairman Offa’s Dyke Association

About us – The Offa’s Dyke Association

  • We were founded in 1969
  • We are a membership-based charity (No 503821) the friends’ group for both Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail and Offa’s Dyke the ancient monument
  • Our aims are the public’s understanding and enjoyment of the Dyke, the Trail and the Welsh border
  • We are actively involved with projects that promote the conservation of the Dyke
  • We operate our own Conservation Fund which supports conservation projects along the Dyke
  • By advertising with us you will be helping us to deliver our charitable aims