News

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

St David’s Day 2021 Dan Llywelyn Hall art exhibition to re-open Offa’s Dyke Centre in National Trail’s 50th anniversary year Monday, 26/10/2020

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

On St David’s Day, 2021, the Offa’s Dyke Association and Centre will re-open its doors to the public. Visitors will find a new exhibition interpreting Offa’s Dyke, its people and landscape with the displays 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 the first of the year’s events planned to mark the occasion.

An exhibition by artist, Dan Llywelyn Hall, with new paintings inspired by the Offa’s Dyke monument and path by will be on public display until August, 2021. 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.‘

On the 10th July a ceremony to mark 50 years to the day since the National Trail was opened in 1971 will be held in the park behind the Centre and the ODA is working with and supporting National Trail Officer Rob Dingle to ensure that the occasion will be a great success. The weekend of 9th – 11th July will also see the third Living History Festival in the park, once again jointly funded and organised by the ODA in partnership with Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) so the Path’s 50th anniversary event could not have a better platform to present itself to the world. Once again the Festival will be free to visitors as the ODA and CPAT want as many people as possible to engage with our shared heritage. In this photo John Hunt, leader of the 1953 expedition to climb Mount Everest, addresses the crowds that thronged to the park in Knighton on 10th July 1971.

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.

The ODA has welcomed two new members in 2020 to its Board of Trustees with one resigning. The trustees are united in their desire to use the Offa’s Dyke Centre to help the ODA deliver its charitable aim of helping the general public to understand and enjoy the Dyke, also to appreciate its fragility and the need for its conservation.

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

We would like to point out that while we are currently closed to the visiting public we are still available for weddings, for general room hire and 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

Wales in national lockdown from 6pm 23rd October Saturday, 10/10/2020

What does this mean for visiting Offa’s Dyke Path?

With effect from 6pm on Friday 23rd October until 12.01am on Monday 9th November you cannot holiday in Wales. A breach of the restrictions is a fineable offence. The Welsh government will review the lockdown or ‘circuit breaker’ in due course.

If you live in Wales you may exercise but you cannot travel to do it. You must start and finish your exercise from home.

Until 6pm on Friday 23rd October the existing local restrictions still apply. This means that if you are walking north bound along Offa’s Dyke Path you cannot transfer from Shropshire into the counties of Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire.

This temporary lockdown restriction effectively prevents anyone from walking Offa’s Dyke Path as a continuous 177 mile destination.

For a full explanation of the Welsh government restrictions visit the advice on the National Trail website https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/trails/offas-dyke-path/

 

 

‘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 https://susanmayse.ca/books/

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 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.