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Sunday, 25 March 2007

Offa's Dyke Visitor Centre

DAY 25: Rest Day, Offa's Dyke Centre

I visited the Offa's Dyke Centre in Knighton this afternoon. I am sure a lot of money has been spent on it and to some extent, it does the job pretty well. But it is sliding down a very slippery slope.

Granted, it explains about Offa and how the dyke was built, but the people who campaigned for the centre were walkers who wanted the National Trail.

For the walker actually doing Offa's Dyke, there was actually very little of use!

I wondered if there was an accommodation list, and sure enought there was; in a little booklet that on first inspection looks full of all the right stuff. Until you try to use it, that is!

The National Trail Guide books are written as though you are doing the walk from south to north. So why oh why is the accommodation list arranged from north to south?

The Trail Guide refers to places actually marked on the map: the accommodation list does not - it mentions the name of the owner of the establishment first, then the postal address - incredibly useless for the walker! He wants to know how far the B&B is along the walk, not the postal address, which is next to b***dy useless to him! A veritable mine of information that you would have to spend days examining to get the details you need!.

I pointed this out to the lady who was manning the centre and all she said was "Nobody else complains!" I suggested to her that the average visitor to the centre was not actually walking the dyke, they had come there by car. She shrugged her shoulders as if she did not give a stuff!

Trying to be as helpful as possible I told her how the Pennine Way list was arranged and how much easier it is for the walker. She was having none of it and said - Then write and tell the OD Association..."

I gave up at this point and left, as I did not want to buy marmalade, pictures of Trails in the USA, any pottery or jumpers, sweatshirts etc.

This place is a joke - it has become a thinly disguised retail opportunity for the car driver, with staff that are mere shop-keepers with an attitude.

5 comments:

  1. You need some beta blockers.......or Highland Park Al my son. Breathe deeply and say ommmmmm..

    It's the same with the National Trussed.
    Hijacked by professional fund raisers who pander to the masses to maintain their well oiled life styles. A bit like politicians.

    What gets me is the state aid poured into these places to "rejuvenate" and after a couple of years the consulatants have buggered off the place goes titis up and local people are held holding an ineffectual unfit for purpose piece of crap.

    Now pass me 25 mg of Atenolol & Christian sized dram... you've got me ranting.

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  2. A doomy blog today Uncle Alan, and no stories of drinking either!

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  3. The trouble with the average walker, or backpacker is that he isn’t much of a money-spinner. Visitor Centres are now catering for an increasing number of folk who want the ‘experience’ with no physical effort. So thanks to Lottery funding and our infatuation with technology, the erstwhile useful little wooden hut is being gradually replaced by the Fully Interactive Virtual Reality Experience Centre. In future visitors will be given badges proclaiming, ‘I’ve experienced the Offa’s Dyke Experience’.

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  4. Grrr... the accommodation guide booklet thingy I had on the PW was utterly crap too! It described campsites in terms that made them sound like 5***** places, but when I got there there'd be nothing but a hole in the ground to pee. It really was quite mind-bogglingly dreadful. I started asking campsites about it, and it turned out they'd never been visited by the authors. Lucky you didn't poke that smug woman in the eye... *g*

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  5. I suppose its down to poor recruitment - there must be dozens of people who would want to engage with the general public and talk about the National Trail on their doorstep.

    Knighton have piicked a lady that doesn't seem to like people and certainly doesn't care about their problems.

    On the other hand, when I visited the information centre at Edale, it was a revelation and the staff were incredibly helpful and they cared!

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