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Book Review - Walking Offa’s Dyke Path by David Hunter

Book cover ImageThe recent published revised edition of this guide is a recent addition to Cicerone’s impressive list of walking books. It covers the National Trail running approximately along the border between England and Wales from Chepstow on the Severn Estuary to Prestatyn on the North Wales coast. It is a challenging route with plenty of ups and downs and based upon the line of the defensive ditch built by Offa.

This guide follows a traditional format with map and accompanying description for each section. Directions are precise, well written and presented in black type. Running parallel with the route details are sections of information about various aspects of the routes. These are printed in brown and a smaller type face. At first I found this rather confusing. As a spectacle wearer I found it hard to distinguish between the route and information but once I got the hang of it the book became easier to use.

In addition to the main route, the author, David Hunter, has suggested of points where you can leave the ODP. The inference on the rear cover is that the book contains ideas for shorter circular walks. In reality this information is quite limited.

One of my favourite aspects of the book was the descriptive narrative about the views and countryside. This made for interesting reading on a rainy Sunday afternoon at home. Outline information is given on accommodation with details of places where this can be obtained. In some ways this is a wise move as it resolves the issue of producing books that soon become out of date. However as a trail companion it does mean that one component of your trip has to be covered by other literature perhaps adding weight to that heavy pack.

My overall view is that the tried and tested formula that is followed by this guide is becoming somewhat dated. However this view does nothing to reduce the value of the content, which is excellent.

Walking Offa’s Dyke Path by David Hunter. Price £12.95.

Review date - 2nd March 2008 - Reviewed by LJ

New Version

The book reviewed above has now been replaced in Cicerone's catalogue with an excellent volume by Mike Dunn. The book describes Offa's Dyke Path National Trail, a 177 mile (283km) long-distance walk along the English and Welsh border between Sedbury (near Chepstow) and Prestatyn. The guidebook is split into 12 stages with suggestions for planning alternative itineraries. The book comes complete with an 1:25K OS map booklet covering the Trail.

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