‘Awen’ an historical fiction by Susan Mayse, Holdfast Books Saturday, 1/08/2020

Susan Mayse, award winning Canadian author, also ODA member, has issued a digital second edition of her historical fiction, Awen, published by Holdfast Books, available from Amazon. 

The first hardback edition, published in January 1997 by Eastern Washington University Press, was shortlisted for the Georgette Heyer Historical Fiction Prize.

Mayse sets the scene for us in this piece on her website

Inspired by the ninth-century Welsh poetry cycle Canu Heledd (the Heledd poetry), Awen draws on three enigmas of early medieval Wales: the inscription on a ruined memorial stone, the monumental earthwork that marked the border between early Welsh and English kingdoms, and the unnamed poet of Canu Heledd.

One woman alone, a homeless wanderer shocked by grief, survived the destruction of her family and her kingdom of Powys. Her name was Heledd. One poet made her the voice and conscience of his own devastated Powys generations later. His purpose and identity remain unknown. Only fragments of the poetry cycle still exist to suggest what happened on the Welsh border in the seventh and eighth centuries.

This novel tells of a fragile peace between enemies. It is the story of Cynfarch’s journey from dispossessed hostage to king’s poet, his obsession with a lost kinswoman, his hard exile and the betrayals that ended peace forever. Awen reconstructs the shattered portrait of a complex, brilliant culture long since swept away on the flood of history’.

Publisher Holdfast Books also tempts the reader to this eighth century tale:

Long after Arthur lay in a rain-washed grave, long after the legends faded from memory, a new generation defended an old border. White town in the breast of the wood, his forever is its wealth: blood on the face of the grass.

In a dangerous era, an enigmatic poem portrayed a war fugitive wandering her ruined kingdom; an earthen wall transformed enemies into uneasy allies; and a man with a famous name wrote an inscription of lies on a memorial stone. All three survived twelve centuries as fragments of a nearly forgotten world. Awen imagines the origins of the poetry and restores the breath of life to a brilliant poet in a dark time’.

We are delighted to help ODA member Susan promote her book in the UK. 

Please support the ODA by using this link to buy the book from Amazon, or see below for a preview of the book.

Offa’s Dyke path now fully accessible Sunday, 12/07/2020

Latest on visiting Offa’s Dyke Path – 12th July 2020

The full length of Offa’s Dyke Path is now available as an end-to-end destination. This was made possible by the re-opening of Hatterrall Ridge in Brecon Beacons National Park and Loggerheads Moel Famau Country Park in the Clwydian Hills AONB;  both now open to visitors.  Of course walkers must check before setting out that they have booked accommodation that is compliant with the Covid regulations applicable in England and Wales.

Campsites in England with shared facility blocks  opened on 4th July (see news bulletin of 6th July on the Camping and Caravan Club website).

Campsites in Wales  will be able to re-open from 25th July, as long as coronvirus rates continue to fall (see news bulletin of 10th July on the Wales Online website). In the report Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford is quoted as saying: “They will be able to re-open, provided we make a success of the re-opening of self-contained accommodation,” he told BBC 5 Live. “Campsites have shared facilities, and it is not just like going into a toilet in a shop, you have to use the shared facilities. There are showers, kitchens, toilets and so on. We need to make sure campsites in Wales are well prepared, are safe to re-open”.

The Offa’s Dyke Walkers’ Passport boxes are also back on site. You can buy the Passport from our on-line shop either on its own or as part of a discounted guidebook / Passport / Essential Guide bundle.

POSTPONED Llandrindod Wells Art Group Exhibition Friday, 13/03/2020

The Llandrindod Wells Art Group exhibition originally planned for April at the Offa’s Dyke Centre here in Knighton has been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Centre remains closed until further notice.

Offa’s Dyke Centre awarded 5 star rating Friday, 3/01/2020

We are proud to achieve this 5 star Food Hygiene rating.  Visit us to enjoy locally roasted coffee and loose leaf tea along with a slice of one our famous cakes, gluten free  included.  If you prefer vegan cake then please give us a few hours notice before you arrive so that we can have it ready for you.  During January we will be open daily 10am – 2pm daily (last refreshment order  1.30pm), except Friday 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st January when we will be closed. We will still be  able to take bookings for meetings and events  that extend over any whole day. Please contact us for further details.

Launch of the Offa’s Dyke Young Archaeologists’ Club Tuesday, 24/12/2019

 The ODA is delighted to welcome the Offa’s Dyke Young Archaeologists’ Club  to the Offa’s  Dyke Centre

Old Fun for the New Year – the Young Archaeologists’ Club to launch in Knighton!

Budding archaeologists, history fans, and young explorers are invited to join a new club launching in January.

On Saturday, January 18th, a new branch of the Young Archaeologists’s Club (YAC) called the “Offa’s Dyke YAC” will host its first session. From 10:30 to 12:30, the Offa’s Dyke Centre will play host to an Anglo Saxon celebration. Including tastes of early medieval foods, jewelry making, shield design, and the chance to chat to archaeologists Ian and Mel.

Sessions will be held monthly on the third Saturday at the Centre, and will include sessions from pottery making, to prehistoric art, to geophysics and excavation.

New members are welcome to the club, and can either sign up on the day, pick up an application form from the Offa’s Dyke Centre, or contact branch leader Ian Mackey at There is no joining fee, but a small cost of £1.50 a session to cover materials.

Important Information:

The Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) is the only UK-wide club where 8-16 year olds can participate in real archaeology and discover why it matters. Membership is ideal for young people who want to become a professional archaeologist in the future or just feel like taking up an amazing new hobby.

YAC members take part in all sorts of fantastic, hands-on activities, such as excavation, working with artefacts, visiting historical sites and undertaking experimental archaeology. They will explore all eras of human history from Wales and beyond, such as the Romans, Vikings, Ancient Egyptians and Victorians.

There are over 70 clubs throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, run by over 500 dedicated volunteers. The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) supports the volunteers to deliver over 10,000 archaeology and heritage-based activity places each year.

This club’s launch has been made possible by the generosity of the Offa’s Dyke Association in donating the use of their centre, and by the support of their volunteers.