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.