Beer, B&Bs, Birmingham and a bit more Besides.

15th April 2016

 Its been a busy and varied couple of weeks for me on the Offa's Dyke Path, but thats whats makes a National Trail Officers job so interesting.

I lead a number of walks during the year for the variuos walking festivals that take place along the length of the Trail, last wednesday was first of the year leading a walk for Chepstow Walking Festival. The event is organised by the Walkers are Welcome group in Chepstow, and my walk was along the Trail from Devil's Pulpit back to Chepstow. I had 18 on the walk and they said they could have doubled that number , but were limited by the mini bus out to the start. The day started wet, and the iconic view from Devil's pulpit overloking Tintern Abbey was not at its best, but things improved as the day went on and the sun shone for us in the end. 

This week started with a site visit to Llanymynech Hillside with NRW Conservation Officer, to look at a few projects that require SSSI consent. A few sections of the Trail here are getting quite muddy and eroded in places and require some works. The same sections also require Scheduled Monument Consents as well, as they are within the scheduled area, so there's quite alot to do before we think of starting works on the ground. Will keep you posted on this project as it progresses and it is hoped we will have Powys Countryside Volunteers working with us when we carry out the works.

Wednesday, it was a trip to Birmingham for our spring National Trail Officer meeting, all the Trail officers from England and Wales meet twice a year and its a good chance to catch up with whats been happening on other Trails and learn from one anothers experiences. Birmingham is the central point to meet, and for me it means a very enjoyable journey on the fabulous Heart of Wales Line to Shrewsbury, has to be one of the most scenic railway lines in Britain.

Thursday it was of to Shropshire, to meet up with Andy Lipa who manages the Trail section  there and look at our coming years work programme. I am very lucky in working with some great people who manage the variuos sections of the Trail within 8 different Managing Authorities on the ground. 

Heading back, also gave me chance to drop in on Monty's Brewery, who are producing the new offcial beer for the Trail, Monty's "best offa" . This will be available very soon in casks for pubs and bottles, with money from each pint and bottle going to the Trail. Watch this space for more details, once it has been officially launched,  . 

Next stop, dropped into Quarry House B&B ( ) in Newcastle on Clun, which is located just below the mid point marker of the Trail with fabulous views looking out over the Shropshire Hills AONB and the Trail and Dyke itself on the opposite hillside. Have been tweeting with @quarryhousebnb for quite a while, so was good to eventually meet Michelle and talk to her about the Trail and the walkers she hosts at her B&B, she said about 60% of her visitors are walkers. From her house she can actually see walkers approaching on the opposite hillside below Spring Hill farm, so she knows when to put the kettle on for them. Meeting with B&B s and other service providers on the Trail is an important part of the job, as they are key to the walkers experience of the Trail as a whole.

On the way home , it was a quick stop in Clun to drop of leaflets in the village shop ,that also acts as the TIC and then onto the Offa's Dyke Centre in Knighton to pick up some new maps by Yellow Publications ( ) and arrange some meeting dates.

Watch this space, for more blogs from the Offa's Dyke Path National Trail Officer. 

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