Chairman’s Blog

Offa’s Dyke Centre summer opening hours Saturday, 2/04/2022

 

We are now open Wednesdays – Sundays 10am to 4pm

Offa’s Dyke Centre latest on repairs to the building Friday, 19/11/2021

Spring 2022 re-opening

During May our opening days and hours are as follows:

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 11am to 4pm.

We will review and extend our opening days and hours as the season progresses. Please watch this space for announcements.

Visitors will notice that the adjoining public toilet block is still closed although we have permission to use, for a limited time only, the disabled WC for our customers. We are running the facility at our own expense.

We need to explain that this situation is due to events beyond our control. Both Powys and Knighton Town Councils have decided that they do not want to operate the public toilet block and while talks are on-going their long term future is not yet settled.  Powys County Council has repaired the roof to make the building water tight, thus preventing water ingress into the main building but if they are to re-open permanently then a major refurbishment is required.

As a charity we cannot operate a public toilet facility that was hitherto paid for at public expense.

Visitors will notice that the adjoining public toilet block is still closed although we have permission to use, for a limited time only, the disabled WC for our customers. We are running the facility at our own expense.

We need to explain that this situation is due to events beyond our control. Both Powys and Knighton Town Councils have decided that they do not want to operate the public toilet block and while talks are on-going their long term future is not yet settled.  Powys County Council has repaired the roof to make the building water tight, thus preventing water ingress into the main building but if they are to re-open then they require a major refurbishment.

We have to make it clear that as a charity we cannot operate a public toilet, a facility that was hitherto paid for at the public expense.

About the Offa’s Dyke Association

The Offa’s Dyke Association is a membership-based charity led by volunteer trustees

We are  the friend’s group for both Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail and Offa’s Dyke the 8th Century monument.  Founded in 1969 we promote and facilitate the general public’s understanding and appreciation of Offa’s Dyke, the National Trail and the landscape of the Welsh Marches.  it also actively promotes and financially contributes towards its conservation.  The Association is based at the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton (postcode LD7 1EN;  W3W walled.unity.apart) at roughly the half way point along the length of Dyke and Trail.

We do not receive any form of financial assistance from either national or local government towards the running the  Centre. We do, however, pride ourselves on running a very professional visitor centre and museum and in 2021 we opened a brand new exhibition, curated by professor Keith Ray, interpreting both Offa’s and Wat’s dykes. We are gradually expanding our wider education and community work. We are also in partnership with Cadw, Historic England and Shropshire County Council delivering the Offa’s Dyke Conservation Management Plan project.

This all takes time, willingly gifted by trustees and our volunteers, and we would like to do more but there is a limit to what we can do without help. So, if you are interested in lending a hand as a volunteer at the Centre or if you feel that you have skills useful to us as a trustee then please get in touch by emailing oda@offasdyke.org.uk  We have trustee vacancies for Secretary, Treasurer and Content Editor (newsletter, website, social media). We also need assistance with HR.

We sell guide books and maps both online and in the Centre together with an extensive range of quality giftware, and guests in our tea room, overlooking the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, will enjoy the best view in town.  You can download our English pdf leaflet here, a gallwch lawrlwytho’r fersiwn Cymraeg yma.

Our invaluable accommodation listing, the Essential Guide to Walking Offa’s  Dyke Path (formerly called the Where to Stay Guide  is available  from our on-line shop.

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.