Chairman’s Blog

Offa’s Dyke Centre refurbishment on target for re-opening Friday, 26/02/2021

We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the Centre but unfortunately cannot set a date wait until the government says that it is safe to do so. 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 (see work-in-progress photo) and re-lacquered, the walls repaired and painted and LED lighting installed throughout. 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

 

New Offa’s Dyke Centre exhibition public consultation Sunday, 8/11/2020

NEW OFFA’S DYKE CENTRE EXHIBITION

Please help us with the design of our new exhibition

Prompted by the need to provide visitors to the Offa’s Dyke Centre with a safe and Covid-compliant space the trustees of the Offa’s Dyke Association have decided to create a completely new exhibition for the Centre.

We are doing this because the existing exhibition, dominated by the structure in the middle of the room – a large cross section of Offa’s Dyke – takes up a lot of space. This does not help with social distancing, it inhibits ventilation and light distribution and it reduces the visitor capacity of varied uses / events we use the building for.

The interpretive content of the new exhibition will be presented on a series of smaller, lightweight and portable displays. People will have more space to move around the room and there will be more natural light resulting in less reliance on electrical lighting to illuminate them. This new arrangement will give more flexibility with the use of the room, for example when we need a larger space for an event or for a room hire we will simply move them to one side.

This exercise provides us with an opportunity to re-design the exhibition from scratch and we would like you to help us. We want to know the themes and stories that you would like to see told about Offa’s Dyke, Wat’s Dyke, their landscapes and people. We don’t want the exhibition to be ‘Knighton-centric’ so if you have ideas or stories from your part of the Dyke then please tell us. Your interest might be archaeology, history, geology, trees or wildlife, or maybe something completely different, we would like to know.

The link below will take you to a ‘Google Form’. It shows the existing interpretive material then invites you to explain what you would like to see in its place. If, on the other hand, you are happy with the existing content then that is fine – but please tell us what you think.

https://forms.gle/6MPn4QKTPWbwc2xG9

At the end of the consultation you simply click on a link to submit your responses. Everything that you tell us is gathered anonymously. If, however, you would like to contact us about the consultation or if you are interested in writing some content or supplying photographs or diagrams for the new exhibition then please email me at manager@offasdyke.org.uk

Please respond to the consultation by Monday 16th November. We look forward to seeing you at the Offa’s Dyke Centre which re-opens on 1st March 2021.

Thank you,

Dave McGlade

Chair ODA

Dan Llywelyn Hall art exhibition and re-opening of the Offa’s Dyke Centre delayed until covid road map permits Wednesday, 26/02/2020

Our events will be re-scheduled just as soon as we know when it is safe to re-open the Centre  

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

We clearly cannot now open on 1st March, St David’s Day. We can promise, though, that when we do visitors will find a brand new exhibition interpreting Offa’s Dyke, its people and landscape. The building has undergone a major refurbishment and the main exhibition rooms 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 an exhibition by artist, Dan Llywelyn Hall, whose new paintings are all inspired by the Offa’s Dyke monument and National Trail. 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.‘

It is too soon to say just how the 50th anniversary of the opening of Offa’s Dyke Path will be marked. The 10th July is 50 years to the day since the National Trail was opened in 1971 by John Hunt, leader of the 1953 Everest expedition. The day’s events, in partnership with the National Trail are still being discussed so we will make an announcement about the anniversary, also our annual Living History Festival in the park, organised jointly with Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust just as soon as we can. 

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.

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 manager@offasdyke.org.uk

Don’t forget 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 manager@offasdyke.org.uk

Requests for interview: email manager@offasdyke.org.uk

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

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.