Stoned Tracks, lanes and cross field bridleways
Clun, Llanfair Waterdine
Lat/Long: 52.4207042416, -3.0292737507
800 years ago Clun Castle was attached and burned by the Welsh. A fiery introduction to today’s ride, which embraces one of the more dramatic stretches of the Wild Border.
Offa’s Dyke is the longest archaeological monument in Britain. Unlike Hadrian’s Wall, it did not link a series of military forts. It was not permanently manned, more likely it was patrolled on horseback. It is in their 1200 year-old hoofprints you are riding.
Llanfair Hill is the highest point in all the 81 miles. And here the Dyke is at its finest and most inspiring. You can judge the success of the designers who were looking for the best views over Wales.
“For nearly six hundred years it was customary for the English to cut off the ears of every Welshman who was found to the east of the dyke, and for the Welsh to hang every Englishman whom they found to the west of it.” George Borrow, Wild Wales [from folklore]
Best pay attention to the map and the signs.
Ravens and Buzzards
When you leave Clun you enter lonely, hilly countryside with very little human settlement ideal for ravens and buzzards. Buzzards are easy to spot with their wide outspread wings and mewing call. Listen for the ‘pruk’ call of the raven, the largest and rarest of our crows. Both these birds feed extensively on carrion.
The Dyke was built as a rampart type defence by Offa King of Mercia at the end of the eight century to protect his kingdoms boundary with Wales. The Dyke is impressive for its shear length, as it stretches from the mouth of the River Wye near Chepstow to the River Dee estuary, about 170 miles.