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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 13:14 GMT
Historic path given grant boost
Walker generic
Walkers could follow the historic Wat's Dyke path
Plans to build a 60-mile footpath along an historic route in north east Wales has taken a leap in the right direction.

Local historians want to open a long-distance route near Wat's Dyke - a defensive earthwork built in the 7th Century to keep Welsh people out of England.

Walkers using the nearby Offa's Dyke path spend in the region of 30 to 35 per day on accommodation and refreshments

Ron Williams chairman of Wat's Dyke Association

A 24,000 grant has been made available through various agencies to look at the feasibility of building the route.

The wall would have originally been 30ft high, with a ditch on one side and used as a road to move supplies.

Members of the Wat's Dyke Association want to construct a route near the historical site, with designated signposts so walkers will know about the importance of the area.

The path would stretch from the River Dee estuary near Holywell in Flintshire, through Wrexham and Shropshire and back over the Welsh border into Llanymynech.

Many public rights-of-way and bridle paths are already in existence, and organisers have said mapping the way would be easy.

Tourist boost

Chairman of Wat's Dyke Association, Ron Williams, compared the path to Offa's Dyke which runs parallel.

"Walkers using the nearby Offa's Dyke path spend in the region of 30 to 35 per day on accommodation and refreshments," he said.

"When you consider that in the region of 22,000 walk the path each year, it provides a significant boost to the economy.

"I believe similar benefits will accrue to businesses along the route of the Wat's Dyke path."

Basingwerk Abbey, Holywell
Ramblers would pass Basingwerk Abbey

The name Wat can be traced back to Anglo-Saxon times and is believed to be a personal name.

But the association's website reports that no important person of this name - who might have built such a substantial defence - is known of in the area.

A feasibility study will now be carried out to assess the proposed route's scenic, leisure, environmental and historic benefits.

Workers will investigate the economic considerations and whether the route would bring in extra business.

Once completed, the study will form the basis of a funding application to various organisations to pay for the opening, signposting and promotion of the path.


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