This is an independent membership-based voluntary organisation that provides information and other services to walkers and seeks to promote and protect not only Offa’s Dyke and the Offa’s Dyke Path but also Wat’s Dyke and the other short dykes of the March. It manages the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton and encourages archaeological and historical research relating to Offa’s Dyke and the corridor along its length. Among its publications, the Where to Stay booklet is a must for those walking all or part of the path. It has annually updated accommodation addresses, and a wealth of information on transport and other topics of concern to walkers, but is small enough to take on a hike. The online version is part of this website and both hard copy and pdf versions 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 has a reference library on the Dyke and the Welsh Marches, named after our founder Frank Noble, also a tea room, book and souvenir shop. The library is available for hire, also the Knighton Room which is growing in popularity for weddings.
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
The ODA runs its own Conservation Fund which makes financial contributions towards the cost of proactive maintenance or repair works to Offa’s Dyke as long as they bring long-term conservation benefits to the monument. Anyone can apply to the Fund for help including farmers, landowners or local authorities, and, of course, the National Trail Officer. To date we have made two grants to local authorities for conservation-base works in the Wye Valley and in Shropshire and at the time of writing (4/10/17) we are processing a third application. The Conservation Fund is topped up each year from any surplus that we make as a charity. Membership subscriptions and donations are ways that Trail walkers and visitors can make a very practical contribution towards ensuring the well being of Offa’s Dyke for this and future generations.
The ODA is also working in partnership with government agencies Cadw and Historic England towards the research and publication in 2018 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 2018 and 2019
Our Annual General Meeting in 2019 will be a very special one because it will mark our 50th anniversary. This is no mean achievement for a membership based organisation but we have adapted to changing circumstances and we remain one of only four National Trail friends’ groups, as well as the oldest. 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.
Meanwhile in 2018 we aim to launch a programme of regular talks and site visits, both at the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton but also at venues along the Dyke and Trail. We welcome suggestions for speakers and if you are interested in giving a talk or leading a walk or site visit then please get in touch via email@example.com or call 01547 528753.
Joining the Association
The Association is a registered UK charity, number 503821, which has about a thousand members, many of whom take an active part in promoting the Path by inspecting lengths of it or by providing accommodation to walkers and other visitors. The Association was set up in 1969 to provide a link between walkers, historians, conservationists, and those who live and work locally. The Association provides information and publications for those interested in the Path and the Welsh border region.
Type of membership Cost
Full members £16 per year
Family membership £19 per year per family
Associate membership, for those under 18, students, unwaged, and retired. £11 per year
Members receive issues of the newsletter (normally 3 each year), a ‘Where to Stay’ guide, and membership badge. There is an Annual General Meeting, with organized activities, held in Knighton, normally in May.
Contacting the Association
Please contact Information Officer, Offa’s Dyke Association, West Street, Knighton, Powys. LD7 1EN. Credit cards are accepted. Cheques should be paid to ‘Offa’s Dyke Association’, and those paying from overseas should use a cheque made out in sterling, or transfer money to the account of ‘Offa’s Dyke Association’, HSBC plc, account number 01104675, sort code 40-26-21. Those joining the Association who pay UK income tax are asked to declare their subscriptions as being eligible for gift aid.