My road trip coincided with a friends endeavour to walk Offas Dyke path in 12 days. I arranged to join in with his adventure and keep him company for a day, travelling 15 miles on foot from Trevor to Trefonen.
Offas Dyke is a national trail that stretches 177 miles from coast to estuary passing over hills, along canals and through beautiful countryside, following the Welsh and English border. The section I walked had some dramatic displays of human engineering.
Our day started with me excitedly yelling at the sight of flying canal boats floating over my head! It turned out to be the amazing Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a stream in the sky! Built by Thomas Telford between 1795 -1805. It is a real feat of Victorian civil engineering, carrying canal boats on a bridge over a deep valley and river. Part of the Llangollen Canal and a World Heritage site; our walk took us across the aqueduct with marvellous views of the Welsh countryside. Navigating this demands good boating skills. On one side of the canal there is no railing and it’s a very long way down. This was also my first experience of boat rage, with some of the boaters complaining angrily about the long wait and trying to turn their boats around.
After a stroll along the canal we headed into wilder country and came across the next incredible human construction, a 1,300 year old boundary “wall” built by Anglo-saxon King Offa to defend Mercia, now the midlands from the Welsh. It reminded me of our own time and events happening right now across Europe with razor-wire fences. Things don’t seem to change.
The walk was a great chance to catch up with our friendship, and along the way we also met and chatted to other walkers. A big talking point was my friends massive rucksack that weighed as much as me, which he was determined to carry the whole route. It’s fantastic how you can be in the middle of nowhere and yet people will say hello and spare a moment to share their stories and exchange smiles.
Our trek ended in true British style – at a lovely local pub and micro brewery called The Barley Mow, in Trefonen, followed by a homely farmhouse B&B with stunning views called The Pentre. The welcome, the attention to detail, the help with drop offs and pick ups and the food which included Helen’s homemade icecream was excellent. I recommend staying here if you ever visit Shropshire.