Brecon Beacons give King Offa a hand
Back in the 8th century, King Offa of Mercia built an impressive defence earthwork along the Anglo-Welsh border.
Offa’s Dyke is now a 177 mile National Trail running from Prestatyn on the North Wales coast right down to the Severn estuary. One of the most popular sections of the path lies between Hay-on-Wye and Pandy in the Black Mountains on the eastern side of Brecon Beacons National Park.
A stretch of over two miles is particularly worn and damaged and requires improvements to limit further erosion. Being a couple of miles up from the nearest road, the only way to reach the path here is on foot – or by helicopter!
So now, more than 400 tonnes of crushed stone are being flown in by Brecon Beacons National Park Authority to Hay Bluff, which is 2,220ft (677m) above sea level. Chosen for of its durability and compatibility with the existing stone along the footpath, the crushed stone will take five days to be airlifted in one tonne at a time.
Care needs to be taken with this tricky operation as most of the upland area here in the Black Mountains is protected SSSI. Offa’s Dyke path winds its way down to the famed border town of Hay, where Wales Holidays visitors can stay in the delightful Old Mill near Hay-on-Wye.
Large groups can take a look at this four-bedroom Cottage near Hay-on-Wye sleeping up to 10 on an organic farm, with adjoining Old Dairy near Hay-on-Wye for 2. Offa’s Dyke National Trail then passes Abergavenny to the west before turning towards Monmouth and down to Chepstow.