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Chairman’s Blog – 22nd May 2019 Saturday, 22/06/2019

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.

Æthelflæd – England’s Forgotten Founder. Tom Holland book signing and talk. 2.30pm on Saturday 13th July Sunday, 5/05/2019

The ODA and Clawd Powys Archaeological Trust present guest speaker Tom Holland – award winning historian, biographer and broadcaster.

The Talk is part of our Living History weekend on the 13th & 14th July (10.00am to 4.00pm each day) at The Offa’s Dyke Centre and park.

Tom’s talk about Aethelflaed, the Saxon Queen of Mercia, is titled: ‘The Lady of the Mercians; England’s Founding Mother’

Event time & venue: 2.30pm Saturday 13th July, Knighton room in the Offa’s Dyke Centre.  Seats will be made available on a strict first come basis.

Tom’s new book: ‘Aethelflaed – England’s Forgotten Founder – is part of the Ladybird Expert Series. He will be signing copies of the book after the talk.

The book is also on sale in our online shop and at the Offa’s Dyke Centre.

50th Anniversary Annual General Meeting Weekend Thursday, 2/05/2019

Our historic 50th Anniversary weekend is now just hours away and all are welcome to join us with the walks, talks and social evenings.  The AGM itself itself starts at 1.30pm, a little earlier than usual, as we pay tribute to four of our founder members: Frank and June Noble, and Ernie and Kathy Kay.

The meeting features music and singing, which we think must be a first. After the unveiling of the tribute plaque, another founder member, Bernard Lowry, will sing from the 1949 YHA song book: ‘Ode to Woad’ (to the tune of Men of Harlech). Frank used to make his archaeology fieldwork students sing it in the youth hostel common room (we are talking about post-war Britain).

Before the interval it is the turn of youth with Niall Heaton’s talk entitled:  ‘Offa’s Dyke – A Local  Perspective’,  followed  by a short  musical performance by Emily Boulton.

The Keynote speaker at 3.30pm is Professor Howard Williams from the University of Chester. His talk is entitled ‘Hydraulic  Borders? Water and Offa’s Dyke’.  We are intrigued by the title so suggest that you do not miss his talk.

Finally, as we mark our 50th year, and quite properly reference our past and the foundations laid by our founder members, Niall will sign the meeting off with a look to the future.

On Sunday we have four talks. All of the weekend free but donations are welcome to help with the running of the Offa’s Dyke Centre. For his talks David Nightingale will be collecting donations for the charity Community Action Nepal.  The Sunday programme is as follows:

Sunday 5th May

11.00am: Dave McGlade

Offa’s Dyke Association, its aims, aspirations and projects’

1.30pm David Nightingale

Himalayan Highs. Trekking and climbing in Nepal for the adventurous fell walker’.

An illustrated talk by David Nightingale from Community Action Nepal

2.30pm Julian Ravest

Offa’s Dyke by Drone

3.30pm Professor Keith Ray, Cardiff University

A missing length of Offa’s Dyke newly recovered: Lydbrook to Redbrook in Gloucestershire’

4.30 pm David Nightingale

David will repeat his talk 

 

Offa’s Dyke Path walkers’ Passport – latest news Monday, 29/04/2019

Passport update 29th April 2019

The Offa’s Dyke Path Walkers’ Passport is now fully operational. You can buy your Passport in advance of your holiday from our online shop for £5 + 99p p&p  or by paying by card over the ‘phone by calling the Offa’s Dyke Centre on 01547 528753.

Passports are also available from Chepstow TIC, Redbrook Village Store & Post Office, Hay-on-Wye TIC and the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton.

We have produced a downloadable pdf guide to locating the stamping stations. If you have any suggestions for improving it please contact the Offa’s Dyke Centre .

The stamping stations are as follows, from north to south:

Nova Sports Centre Prestatyn; Bodfari community notice board; Llandegla community shop; Carreg y Big Oswestry Equestrian Centre; Beacon Ring hillfort; Mellingon Lodge gates; Offa’s Dyke Centre, Knighton; Hergest Croft Gardens; Hay-on-Wye TIC; LLangattock Lingoed Church; Redbrook village store; Chepstow TIC.

The Hergest Croft Gardens stamping station box has a  notebook for walkers to note the date and direction that they are walking in.  If it is popular then we will put notebooks in more of the boxes – do let us know.

Proceeds from sale of the Passport support the ODA’s Conservation Fund. The more Passports that we sell the more conservation projects to promote the long term conservation and welfare of the monument that we will be able to support.

Walking companies interested in selling the passports to their customers should contact the ODA on 01547 528753.

We hope that you enjoy your walk!

 

 

 

Walkers’ Passport – latest developments Sunday, 9/12/2018

The stamping station boxes are nearly ready for collection with the stamps, the Passports themselves, also the new achievers’ certificate and badges are work-in-progress being designed. For all the latest on the Passport go to the dedicated Passport page.