Walk 2816 - printer friendly version
Kinsley Wood, Stowe and Offa's Dyke Walk
Author - Peter Lane
Length - 12.0 miles / 19.5 km
Ascent - 2500 feet / 758 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference SO298728
Lat 52.348757 + Long -3.0320056
Postcode LD7 1LP (approx. location only)
A pleasant walk in the Marches near the Welsh border that explores rolling green hills and a section of Offa's Dyke without touching civilisation. Never truly flat, this walk requires some stamina, however, a shorter 7 mile version is possible without compromising the overall experience of this walk (see walk 1907).
Start at the Forestry Commission Kinsley Wood Car Park just off the A488 at grid reference SO298728. This car park can only be approached from the Knighton direction as it has a sharply graded access road (not signposted). Park at the first turn on the Forestry Commission track next to the public footpath that forms the start point. Picnic tables and an information board can be found at the northern extremity of the wood, but we shall forego these for now.
Descend the wooden steps at the signed footpath at the first bend in the access road as described above. Enter a field and cross a footbridge part way through the field. Exit the field at the stile, cross the A488 and pick up the bridlepath heading for Stowe. This initially follows the right hand fence and later crosses to the left. Pass through a number of gates until the crest of the hill is reached. With Stowe church in the valley below, descend a couple of hundred metres or so to a bridlepath signed on the left and drop down to the valley below, crossing the stream. Climb the steep hill next to the house and an old farm building adjacent to the wood. Enter the wood where signed about half way up the hill and follow the winding path until it emerges onto a broad track at a metal gate.
Pass through the gate and climb the broad track past a circular pool and then up through surrounding cols to Holloway Rocks. When the track opens out onto a meadow plateau, resist the temptation to continue following it into the wood on the right, but head virtually due north to the field boundary and the ruts of the "byway open to all traffic" (fat chance in a family saloon!). Don't cross the fence but turn left and follow this obvious track west all the way to Five Turnings on the A488.
Cross the main road and take the bridlepath opposite through the metal gate adjacent to the driveway of New House. When this bridlepath opens out into a field, a marker post shows the split of the path into two. The convenient right hand path is closed, so there is no choice but to take the left hand path up the hill towards a sparse wood on the summit. Over the summit the path opens up to a broad track. Continue down this track as it descends and crosses the Offa's Dyke National Trail - point A on the map.
Turn right along the Offa's Dyke National Trail as it winds along a precipitous section bounded by a wood to the right with spectacular views of Cwm-sanaham Hill. When the path descends to a cross-roads of bridlepaths in a depression, turn right, following the right hand boundary past the closed bridlepath and through several fields until it curves left and descends to a minor road at grid reference SO269768. Turn right down the hill on the road and almost immediately turn left. Ignore the driveway to the left, the bridlepath is some 150 meters from the junction on the left.
There now follows a sustained section of climbing through fields and meadows with the boundary hedge always to the left. After summiting, the path turns to the left and drops to an intersection of three bridlepaths grid reference SO268779. Turn into the field on the left, but do not go through the next gate on the left on the descending path. Keeping the hedge to the left the path remains fairly level at first. Upon reaching a broad track, ignore this and continue into the field and gradually descend through a number of gated field to reach the Offa's Dyke National Trail once more at a decently preserved section of the Dyke itself. Turn left and follow the well sign-posted National Trail (acorn symbol) along some excellent sections of the Dyke.
After crossing the second country lane at Brynorgan, take care to follow the correct bridlepath to the summit of the hill. Some sustained climbing ensues to the trig point on Cwm-sanaham Hill. From the trig point, descend sharply, following the acorn markers and back to point A.
From point A, continue roughly south on the well marked National Trail along another obvious section of the Dyke. Keeping the boundary to the left at all times, the path follows the ridge until the picturesque border town of Knighton appears in the valley below. The path now descends to a wood. When the National Trail turns off steeply to the right towards Knighton, continue for about 100 metres to a stile on the left. Cross the stile and follow the boundary of Kinsley Wood, reaching a metal gate and the car park and information board. Head for the information board and take the footpath along the summit of the wood here, keeping left at every junction until a small footpath is reached that descends sharply back to the main access road. Turn right upon reaching this and return to the car park directly.