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#3091 - 12/06/05 03:11 PM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
HikeMania Offline

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 110
I've only completed the southern part of the ODP, but I/we thoroughly enjoyed it. We walked in mid-May 2004, and had some delightful weather (sunny every day, hardly a drop of rain, can you believe it?). The scenery on Hatterrall Ridge was incredible, but that certainly wasn't the only highlight. There were loads of great views each day.

I can't compare the ODP to the C2C, as I haven't walked the latter. However, I did enjoy the variety of environment on the ODP: shaded woodlands, farmers' fields, open grassland, exposed hilltops, riverside paths -- all with nice towns and villages along the way.

My pack was small, and only weighed 13 pounds, so the stiles didn't present a problem. And we were only disappointed once with a closed pub -- thankfully there was an open one not too far down the road! The B&Bs in which we stayed were fantastic (e-mail me if you want my recommendations). We're very much looking forward to completing the northern part in Sept of this year.

Perhaps the northern part is dramatically different from the southern part? For those of you who posted (who are dissatisfied with the ODP) -- would you say that your dissatisfaction was more with the northern part than the southern part? Any particular words of wisdom you would offer to anyone just doing the northern part? (Besides "don't do it" [img][/img] -- we're going to do it anyway, but want to avoid specific pitfalls you encountered.) Thanks in advance!

#3092 - 12/06/05 04:42 PM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
tonyk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 16/02/04
Posts: 1033
Loc: UK
I guess its down to different strokes for different folks.We all view scenery differently.For me the Pennine Way has always been superior to the Coast to Coast but I doubt that many people would share that view.We all look for different things from a walk.I tend to like remoteness and desolation and the Pennine Way has that in abundance.

The only way to experience a walk is to get out there and do it.Often a person has had bad experiences with the weather or health problems such as blisters and painful knees and this can leave them with a negative impression of the walk.In the 25 years I have been walking I have come to realise that all walks have their good and bad points.The Coast to Coast has one or two boring sections(at least they are boring to me)so we can't say the Coast to Coast is the perfect walk. The Pennine Way is little more than a stroll in good weather but if you get high winds and rain it becomes more of a fight for survival than a walk.Wainwright had very negative views of the Pennine Way but he had two weeks of rain and has admitted this gave him a negative impression of the walk.

My advice is to do the walk and then form an opinion on it.You might even find that you enjoy it.

[This message has been edited by tonyk (edited 12 June 2005).]

#3093 - 13/06/05 08:01 PM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2893
Loc: West Lancs.
Myself and a pal did the ODP a few years ago. There is not the same camaraderie as when doing some of the more popular paths as a times you could think you were the only ones doing the route. We found sufficient open pubs for a luntime bevy en route. It is described in some guides as an easy route, which it is not. There are many stiles most of which are extra high, so a bit awkward for the shorter person. I use an altimeter and measured each days ascent. For the whole route the amount of climbing is over 21,000 feet! Some days were better than others, but overall, I enjoyed it and I am considering doing it North to South soon.

#3094 - 01/07/05 01:57 PM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
TheBFB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/07/05
Posts: 2
Loc: Stafford, England
Walked from Trevor to Prestatyn on the ODP from 28-30 June and having just finished can honestly say - stay away!!!!!! Everything went right for us in that Trevor to Llanarmon was glorious sunshine, The Clwydian Hills were overcast and Bodfari to Prestatyn was sunshine - any hotter on any day may have killed me and at least one of my two fully laden rucksacked amigos - bearing in mind that we had 3 litres each of water and drunk the lot on each day and had nowhere to replenish en-route. The Hills apart this walk seems to have been cobbled together in some tourist office somewhere with the sole intention of taking walkers away from villages, over as many stiles, through as many fields and with as many climbs as possible. And did I mention the miles and miles of walking on roads? Or the fields? Or the stiles? Truly dreadful. A Welsh welcome was invisible at the few pubs we saw on the way (Exception being the Downing Arms and Rosie the fantastic barmaid)and we met (Count 'em) 14 people on the way along with 3 people atacking wild dogs.
I'm becoming delirious now - but the final stretch into Prestatyn defies belief. Clim up about 50,000 feet into the hills for no reason at all, then descend steeply to a mian road with no path - then walk a mile down the High Street which now is full of nail bars, chip shops, cheap souvenirs and hooligans. Stay away from Prestatyn and steer clear of the Offa's Dyke Path at all costs.

#3095 - 01/07/05 03:13 PM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
HikeMania Offline

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 110
Ok, a little balance here.

First, TheBFB, thanks for your post -- you've caused me to take a much closer look at the final 35-40 miles of the path. You're absolutely right about the roads -- the path merges with the road a great number of times, and for quite long stretches of distance. Obviously not a fun time, especially when one is forced to walk directly on the road (instead of a path). And the walk to/into/through Prestatyn doesn't look or sound good at all -- you're certainly not the first person who has mentioned that fact.

I must say, however, that the final 35-40 miles of the ODP is not indicative of the entire ODP. The southern part of the ODP is the only part I've walked so far, and it was very enjoyable. The ~50-mile section between White Castle (near Llanvetherine) and Knighton is especially nice. Plenty of wide open spaces and fantastic scenery, and enough villages and towns along the path so that you have a number of great pubs from which to choose. There are also not too many stiles (as compared to the rest of the path). Hatterrall Hill to Hay Bluff was spectacular, as was Hergest Ridge. Hay on Wye, Kington, Gladestry, Knighton -- all fantastic.

Even the ~30 miles from the beginning of the path to White Castle were okay; just maybe a bit "boring" as compared to the WC-Knighton stretch. Even so, there was some very good scenery at times in this section, and plenty of nice towns/villages/pubs/B&Bs along the way.

It definitely sounds like the northern half is not nearly as nice as the southern half, based on this and other threads. But I would suggest to anyone who has completed the northern half, that the worst may be over, and you'll probably be in for a treat in the southern half.

[This message has been edited by HikeMania (edited 01 July 2005).]

#3096 - 02/07/05 02:17 PM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
CrazyCragRat Offline

Registered: 17/05/05
Posts: 19
Loc: Great Britain
Well said BFB.
The closing stages of the ODP have to be the worst i have ever had the misfortune to encounter.
Prestatyn is a dump and as i walked the last mile or so struggling down the busy high street i lost count of the number of times that cars full of Burberry capped taff twerps shouted and hurled abuse as i made my way to the sea front.
The final stages of the ODP are not to bad in places as i found the Clywdian range quite exciting if not a bit windswept.
But all in all the walk is an anti-climax and could do with serious re-routing to increase the quality of the walk.

#3097 - 02/07/05 08:07 PM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
TheBFB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/07/05
Posts: 2
Loc: Stafford, England
Thanks for the comments guys. Two days later, my feelings haven't changed at all re the Northen Part of the path. I would say to others in the interests of balance - don't be put off - but do be aware. There were times that the road walking near the end was a blessed relief from the yomps across fields. We never saw any real evidence of the dyke but are aware that near the soutehrn end the walking is way better with great views of it and we may do more in the future. However, I will definitely be using hotels or B&Bs and probably a sherpa service so that anything I carry will sustain me from stop to stop.

#3098 - 05/07/05 09:07 PM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
RobR Offline
New Member

Registered: 05/07/05
Posts: 3
Loc: Cardiff, Wales
I've just completed OD, North to South in 8.5 days. I backpacked, staying on campsites or farms listed on the ODA list. All were near to pubs for evening meal or provided food in the case of the farms. I used the Trailblazer's guide which describes the route North to South, however some of the sketch maps in the book require a good imagination. OS maps are needed as well as some waymark posts are overgrown or missing. The book does have some very useful information for pubs, shops, B&B's etc.
It is not an easy walk, but I enjoyed it immensely, yes there are lots of stiles and plenty of steep hills to climb. There are some long sections of road walking and the bit between Llanymynech (beware the swans) and Buttington (beware crossing the bridge)is flat and boring. This is my first long distance path, so I can't compare with others, but I found it a great experience and worthwhile challenge. I was fortunate to have mostly cool weather in the middle of June, I would avoid attempting the walk when its hot, as there are some stretches where it is not possible to fill up your water bottle, as I found on my last day in 30C.

#3099 - 15/07/05 09:05 AM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
argonaut Offline

Registered: 19/11/04
Posts: 430
Loc: peterborough. uk
I made the mistake of doing the C-2-C 1st.
all the walks i have done since, i have been disappointed with. Have no intention of doing the ODP SIMPLY BECAUSE I DONT LIKE WALES OR THE WELSH PEOPLE.
I go back and do the C-2-C every 3 years and still think it is the BEST.

#3100 - 15/07/05 12:34 PM Re: Offas Dyke nightmare
Tom de Sherwood Offline

Registered: 24/11/04
Posts: 264
Loc: Nottingham, England
Argonaut, I find it hard to understand how you can dislike a Nation and the Country. Unless of course you have met all of them and been everywhere in their land [img][/img]

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