News

Phased re-opening of the Offa’s Dyke Centre Friday, 27/08/2021

 Offa’s Dyke Centre phased reopening

After a difficult 18 months the Offa’s Dyke Centre is undergoing a limited re-opening until the end of the season.

Our next open days are as follows:

Saturday 23rd October 1 – 4pm

Sunday 24th October 11 – 4pm

Monday 25th October 11 – 4pm

Friday 29th October 11 – 4pm

Saturday 30th October 11 – 4pm

Sunday 31st October 11 – 4pm

See you there for our brand new Offa’s & Wat’s Dykes interpretive displays

We look forward to seeing you in 2022, opening Easter for a full season. Meanwhile we are still available for room hire, weddings, conferences.

We are recruiting volunteers. Join us over the close season for socials, training and visits to other sites and attractions

Offa’s Dyke Centre covid-19 rules

For the safety of everyone you are expected to comply with the following house rules:

  • except when you are eating or drinking at a table, or unless you are exempt, wear a face mask or covering
  • sanitise your hands every time you enter or re-enter the building
  • sign the track and trace register or use the NHS covid-19 app
  • maintain a 2 metre social distance

Q – Why can’t we open longer and on more days?

A – We would like to open on more days but there are problems with the toilet block which need to be resolved. We continue to have constructive talks with our landlord, Powys County Council. The ODA and County are working hard to resolve the issues in the interests of ensuring a long term sustainable future for Knighton’s only tourist attraction.

As well as weekend opening we are still available for one-off hire of the Centre.  We are now fully equipped as a small conference venue and the Centre is licensed for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies. 

Offa’s Dyke Centre covid-19 rules

For the safety of everyone you are expected to comply with the following house rules:

  • except when you are eating or drinking at a table, or unless you are exempt, wear a face mask or covering
  • sanitise your hands every time you enter or re-enter the building
  • sign the track and trace register or use the NHS covid-19 app
  • maintain a 2 metre social distance

Q – Why can’t we open longer and on more days?

A – We would like to open on more days but there are issues with the toilet block which first need to be resolved. We had begun discussions with Powys County Council, the owner of the block, about its use by Centre customers when there was a sudden collapse of the slate wall boundary with our neighbours in the old primary school next door. The wall is not part of the toilet block but Powys County Council need to inspect the toilet block slate wall to make sure that it is safe. When the outcome of that investigation is known then hopefully the urgent repairs required to the toilet block roof can be looked at.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heritage and Archaeology staff jobs saved – threat of redundancy lifted Friday, 23/07/2021

We are delighted to announce that the threat of redundancy faced by Heritage and Archaeology staff at the University of Chester has been lifted. The ODA has grown to rely on the advice and goodwill of the department so this news has come as a relief to everyone here in Knighton and along Offa’s Dyke. We gave our support to the campaign to save the staff’s jobs, writing to both the University Vice Chancellor, Professor Eunice Simmons, and Chancellor Gyles Brandreth. Thanks to everyone who took similar action including ODA members across the World.

Professor  Howard Williams’ gives the good news in his “Archaeodeath” blog on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd_qZwUhl6M

 

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

2021 Passport season open for business Friday, 30/04/2021

The Offa’s Dyke Path Passport stamping stations are now open for business. Every Passport sale supports our Conservation Fund for the Dyke.

You can buy your Passport in advance of your holiday from our online shop for £5 + 99p p&p.

They are also available from Chepstow TIC, Redbrook Village Store & Post Office, Hay-on-Wye TIC. They will also be available from the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton from 10th July, the date of our re-opening.

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; Oriel Bodfari Gallery; 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 by emailing oda@offasdyke.org.uk

We hope that you enjoy your walk!