We are an independent membership-based volunteer-led organisation that provides information and other services to both day visitors and walkers using Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail. We actively promote the conservation and general well being of Offa’s Dyke and Offa’s Dyke Path, also other associated archaeology including Wat’s Dyke and the other short dykes of the Welsh Marches. We manage the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton and encourage archaeological and historical research relating to Offa’s Dyke and its hinterland corridor. Among our publications the ‘Where to Stay’ booklet is a must for those walking all or part of the Path. The pocket sized guide has annually updated accommodation addresses and a wealth of information on transport and other topics of concern to walkers. Both both hard copy and pdf versions of the guide can be purchased from our on-line shop.
The Offa’s Dyke Centre has interpretive displays on King Offa and Offa’s Dyke, also Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail. The Centre’s ‘Frank Noble’ reference library, named after our founder, has an unrivalled collection of books and journals on the Dyke and the Welsh Marches. Both the library and the larger Knighton room are available for hire and the latter is growing in popularity for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies. We have also installed display boards in the Knighton room for artists to display their paintings. The Centre has a popular tea room, said to have the ‘best view in town’, a book and souvenir shop.
The ODA is separate from the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail Officer (NTO), who is responsible for the management of the National Trail. We enjoy a close liaison with the NTO who we support financially through our Conservation Fund (see below). Our aim is to generate significantly more funds than we do at present for conservation-based works to the monument and path but if we are to do that our membership numbers need to increase.
The ODA was founded in 1969 by the late Frank Noble, a Knighton school teacher and archaeologist. Initially it lobbied for the opening of the Offa’s Dyke Path which had been designated in 1949. When the Path was officially opened in 1971, it went on to provide strip maps of the route, accommodation information, and supported those responsible for maintaining the Path. The Association’s staff at the Offa’s Dyke Centre still provide these services alongside a general Tourist Information Centre function for Knighton.
Our Conservation Work
We operate our own Conservation Fund. We which makes financial contributions towards the cost of proactive conservation works to Offa’s Dyke and other associated archaeology, also areas of nature conservation interest. Anyone with a direct interest in managing Offa’s Dyke, including farmers, landowners or local authorities, can apply to the fund for help. To date we have made four grants to local authorities for conservation-base works in the Wye Valley, Shropshire and on Hatterrall ridge in Herefordshire. Another Wye valley project is in the pipeline for later in 2019. The Conservation Fund is itself supported from the proceeds of our our seasonal walkers’ Passport scheme, launched in spring 2019. The Passport is identical to the successful Passport on Hadrian’s Wall Path whereby, between May and October each year, walkers collect 12 stamps in their Passport. It is intended to be a lot of fun but of course the income from the Passports, which cost £5, supports the Conservation Fund which in turn helps to pay for essential conservation projects along the Dyke and National Trail. Joining the Association is another way of helping us to ensure that we are always ready to support applications to the Conservation Fund.
The ODA has also partnered with government agencies Cadw and Historic England towards the research and publication in 2019 of a Conservation Management Plan for Offa’s Dyke in both Wales and England.
We are also active members of the Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory (https://offaswatsdyke.wordpress.com) and in March 2018 we co-hosted with the Collaboratory a conference ‘Offa’s Dyke Heritage‘ at the Centre.
Plans for our 50th anniversary in 2019
Join us for our 50th anniversary Annual General Meeting weekend of walks, talks and evening entertainment. 50 years is no mean feat for a membership-based friends’ group but over the years we have adapted to changing circumstances and remain one of only four National Trail friends’ groups, as well as the oldest. Check our our events page for details of events throughout the spring and summer .and don’t miss our ‘Living History’ weekend in partnership with Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust over the weekend of 13th and 14th July here in Knighton. Our aim is to celebrate our golden anniversary along the length of the Dyke and National Trail and we welcome communities and villages who would like to lend a hand by helping us to organise an event.
Joining the Association
The easiest way of joining the Association is on-line via this website. Members paying UK income tax are asked to declare their subscriptions as being eligible for Gift Aid.
You can join in person at the Offa’s Dyke Centre where we accept payment by cards. Cheques should be made payable to the Offa’s Dyke Association’. Membership forms can also be posted to you or a pdf version is available via email.
Types of membership
Individual membership £20 per year
Joint / family membership £25 per year
Members receive three issues of the newsletter each year and a membership badge. There is an Annual General Meeting, with organised activities, held in Knighton over the early May Day bank holiday weekend. The next AGM, our 50th, will be held on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Contacting the Association
Our address: Offa’s Dyke Centre, West Street, Knighton, Powys, LD7 1EN.
Call us on +44 (0) 1547 528753, via email email@example.com or in person at the Offa’s Dyke Centre!