£5.99 (UK)
  • ISBN: 978-0-9559625-0-9
  • Size: 210mm x 135mm
  • Extent: 128 pages
  • Illustration:
  • Format: Paperback

Wat's Dyke Way Heritage Trail

Wat's Dyke Way is a 61 mile linear walking trail that runs through the border country between England and North Wales. It starts in the Shropshire village of Llanymynech on the English and Welsh Border and ends at the ruins of Basingwerk Abbey at Holywell in Flintshire, near the Dee Estuary.

The trail is based on the course of Wat's Dyke, a tall bank and ditch, thought to have been dug for the Saxon rulers of Mercia, to protect their boundary with North Wales. Until recently, Wat's Dyke has been a neglected landmark, overshadowed by its better-known neighbour Offa's Dyke, but it is one of the largest archaeological monuments in Britain and many sections are well-preserved.

This guide book has been designed to give all the information you would need to plan and walk the trail.

  • Detailed route directions
  • Points of interest along the route
  • History of Wat's dyke

The route has been chosen to pass many reminders of the turbulent borderlands history and also of its rich industrial and cultural heritage. It is a predominantly lowland walk but does include some slightly higher ground, as the dyke itself took advantage of natural land features, so there are often excellent views into Wales. The terrain is varied, from canal towpaths and quiet riversides in the south to small wooded valleys and country lanes in the north. It crosses rolling farmland grazed with sheep and cattle, grand parkland of big estates like Erddig and Wynnstay, and numerous picturesque villages and hamlets such as Llanymynech with its lime-working heritage, canal-side Maesbury Marsh, Caergwrle with its Welsh castle and packhorse bridge, riverside Erbistock, and Ruabon with its brick and tile-making links. It also passes through the historic towns of Oswestry, Wrexham and Holywell.

The trail is divided into 9 linear sections and there are also 4 circular walks. Each linear section or circular walk has its own chapter with a simple map and detailed route directions.

This book is far more than just a walking guide as it is packed with historical information. Each chapter is liberally laced with italicised interpretive sections about features along the route, and includes a large section on the history of the Dyke itself. The urban sections through the towns of Oswestry, Wrexham and Holywell are also imaginatively interpreted, drawing out the rich history of each town, which greatly adds to the overall story of life on the English and Welsh borders. There is plenty here to interest the armchair walker as well as those wanting a fresh walking experience.