This is the South edition of a two volume guide. It claims to be the "official guide" to "the best" long distance path. It has a foreword by Lord Hunt, leader of the first successful Everest Expedition in 1953, who lived at Llanfair Waterdine on the Offa's Dyke Path.
The guide achieves a sensible balance between personal commentary and route-finding. The historical background is written in an amount of detail manageable for the intelligent walker, with the accent on "walker". Its starting point is with Bronze Age fortifications along the hill tops as far back as 1200 BC. There is a section on Offa's Dyke - where, when, why, how? A survey of the walk's landscape is based in a clear understanding of its geology.
The route-finding instructions are detailed, written in the context of the facing full-page, coloured, 1:25,000 OS maps. Commentary is brief; it gives a nudge towards a distant view here, makes a reference to an interesting local character's life there. Suggestions for circular walks are kept separate, as are profiles of the main towns. This allows you efficiently to find your place as you consult the guide en route.
The Useful Information section covers transport arrangements and gives an overview of accommodation. Details are sparse, the assumption being that you will do your research elsewhere; this is a book concentrating on the walk itself. There is a Bibliography, with some friendly pointers to help you choose your reading material.
This is definitely a walkers' guide. It's a celebration of the Offa's Dyke Walk as one to enjoy completing but above all to savour for its own natural pleasures. You'll always know where you are, with just enough background commentary to keep you interested.
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