This section meanders undulatingly between England and Wales, passing through some fascinating industrial archaeology heritage sites, and a plethora of English settlements with distinctively Welsh names.
Distance: 22.1 km
Ascent: 755 m
Time: 6 hours
Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Llanymynech to Chirk Mill
The Lime Kiln pub at Porth y Waen is the first stopping-off point, while the Barley Mow Inn at Trefonen has its own brewery – aptly named the Offa’s Dyke Brewery. There’s also a shop in the village. There are no facilities at Chirk Mill, and you’ll need to get yourself to nearby Chirk at the walk’s end.
Keep an eye out for:
Traveline for UK Public Transport can be used to determine exact bus and train times.
Offa’s Dyke from Llanymynech to Chirk Mill Details
The ninth section of Offa’s Dyke from Llanymynech to Chirk Mill
Offa’s Dyke from Llanymynech to Chirk Mill Route Map and GPX file
THE path climbs out of Llanymynech straight to the disused limestone quarry that fed the famous kilns by the canal wharf. This is a popular rock climbing challenge, and sections of the quarry have been developed into nature reserves, providing habitats for a wide range of butterflies in particular.
A steep descent takes you to Pen y Coed and past a disused railway track that it is hoped can eventually be re-opened as a heritage line. Porth y Waen could be a promising place for the day’s first stop, with the Lime Kiln pub – formerly known as the Red Lion – being largely a food-led establishment but with a welcoming bar, beer garden and camping facilities.
Further on in the village of Nantmawr yet another nature reserve looms up, bearing the intriguing name of Jones’ Rough. Run by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, it features a mixed deciduous woodland, and is often grazed by rare Hebridean-Shropshire sheep. There are regular bus links between Nantmawr and Oswestry.
Moelydd and Trefonen
A steep ascent follows through the trees to the 285m summit of Moelydd, where you’ll find a topascope that will help you identify some of the myriad hills with fascinatingly descriptive names that lie in all directions.
Descending the hill you’ll be heading for Trefonen, still in England, where sections of the Dyke itself are visible by Chapel Lane. The 18th century Barley Mow Inn on the same lane is a very welcoming sight, especially as it has its own brewery, known obviously enough as Offa’s Dyke Brewery. You can be guided around the brewery before tasting its fare. You’ll also find a shop in the village, and B&B accommodation can be found as well as in the neighbouring village of Treflach.
Oswestry Racecourse and Chirk
On Cyrn y Bwch hill you’ll encounter some clearly demarked remains of the new defunct Oswestry racecourse, a 3km circuit just beneath the hill’s 305m summit. It last held a race meeting in 1848, and is now a 22-hectare plot of common land criss-crossed with footpaths.
As you make it to the section’s end at Chirk Mill, in the hamlet of Castle Mill, there’s precious little to take your breath away, although you might catch a glimpse of Chirk Castle across the fields. You’d be well advised to head for the small town of Y Waun/Chirk a couple of kilometres away. There is a very limited bus service to Chirk, so you might find yourself walking alongside the B4500 or calling a taxi from Chirk.
This is a former coal mining area with a rich industrial history. It has much of interest to offer the casual visitor, as well as a range of accommodation and refreshment facilities, and its own mainline railway station. Chirk Castle, one of few inhabited castles in Wales, is well worth a visit. And pop along to view the Llangollen canal as it crosses Afon Ceiriog via the 200-year-old Chirk Aqueduct before plunging into a pitch dark canal tunnel that has a towpath leading through it.