The county of Herefordshire is not particularly on the main tourist itinerary for England. It does however offer some wonderful rolling countryside and beautiful quiet villages. If you cycle, walk or take the car you will find some lovely places to look at more closely. Be sure to take a map with you though. It's quite easy to get lost without one but even when trying to find your way you will probably come across some surprising little corners of the countryside that will inevitably delight you.
The Discover Herefordshire Centre is located in the former Tourist Information Centre and is still an informative place to go for what’s on and places to go around the county.
The centre is a good source for which to buy gifts and foodie treats all made in Herefordshire. Plenty of artisan products including fashion accessories, homeware, jewellery and art are all on display to make this not just a place for visitors but an excellent calling point for the local shopper.
Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Ross-on-Wye is a small ancient town that’s lays in the South Herefordshire countryside, close to the border of Wales with great views overlooking the River Wye. The town was originally known as “Ross” derived from the Welsh word for “a promontory”, however due to confusion with other places of the same name the “on Wye” was added in 1931.
See My Travel Page for more information.
The Black and White Trail was developed as a means of encouraging visitors to take a closer look at the beautiful countryside and villages between Leominster and Kington in the north-west of Herefordshire.
I think myself lucky to find this trail, as for a person coming from Australia, it is one of my best memories of what I saw in England.
The official trail is 40miles, that isn't far to drive, but by stopping at each village and having a look around, it takes quite a while!
Some Village's on the route are.....
Eardisland - Award-winning "Prettiest Village"
Weobley - an extraordinary variety of medieval buildings, just gorgeous!
Pembridge - don't miss the Market Square and detached Church bell tower
Eardisley - Has a giant oak tree
Dilwyn - Pretty, with a village green surrounded by cottages
Then add Kinnersley and Sarnesfield, Lyonshall and Kingsland - and, of course, the two market towns of Kington and Leominster, this complete's the Black and White Village Trail.
The trail is characterised by the large number of timbered and half-timbered houses in the area some dating from medieval times, others from more recent periods.
Eardisland is about 6 miles from Leominster.
I hope you come and discover this trail for yourselve's!
Symonds Yat West is on the Herefordshire side of the river and Symonds Yat East is on the Gloucestershire side. The only connection between the two banks are by the ancient hand ferries by which the ferryman pulls people across the river using an overhead rope, for a small fee. The only connection by road is the five mile trip upstream and over Huntsham bridge.
The boat crossing operates from outside the Saracens Head Inn public house in Symonds Yat East.
This fantastic viewpoint is situated 120m above the gorge of the River Wye with outstanding views over rural Herefordshire and the mountains of mid-Wales. 2000 years ago Iron age man recognised the great vantage point this location would provide and they built an Iron Age hill fort which is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Aside from the astounding views and spectacular hillside, visitors also 'flock' here for another reason. The Nearby cliffs are the nesting place of the Peregrine Falcon, a stunning bird of Prey which is the fastest member of the animal kingdom. From April to August you can see them hunt and raise their young from the top of Symonds Yat Rock.
There is a daily charge for the Car Park here so it is worth packing a picnic and taking advantage of one of the many walking trails which start here.
Kingfisher Cruises offer a 45 minute boat trip from the Saracens Head Inn at Symonds Yat East. I can't think of a more relaxing way to see the scenery. You can also learn a bit about the surrounding area as the Captain gives a commentary on places of interest as you sail by. Tea, coffee and snacks are served aboard the boats and there are toilet facilities. The Cruises generally run from March to October but it is best to ring to check beforehand.
N.B. We would have done better to cross the river to start our walk on the bank opposite to the Saracens Head Inn because that is where the sun was when we set off! We did it mostly in shade both ways - a point worth noting on a cold day.
After reaching the other bank via the rope bridge our first stop was for a picnic.
The Forestry Commission have provided a splendid covered picnic area with a giant sized table and benches. It is beautifully constructed, using traditional joinery techniques with out a nail, screw or nut and bolt to be seen. Following the habit of former craftsmen "marks" in the form of decorative carvings have been left on the rafters and beams.
The trek back to our starting point took rwice as long as the first leg. We took a lower path close to the river edge which became steep and very muddy. Only one of the family group of 7 took a couple of tumbles - Grandpa.
This side of the bank was full of interest though and we all arrived intact to board the ferry - operated by one man using an overhead suspension cable - which returned us to the Saracen's Head.
We started our walk from outside the Saracen's Head Pub in the village and took the path on the east side of the river. From here it is a good 1.5 miles before the river can be crossed and, if you have a fear of heights, or poor sea legs, you should be aware that the crossing is via an Indiana Jones type rope bridge!
No more than 6 people may cross at one time and over-active walking may cause the bridge to sway. It is however very safe, of sound construction and well maintained on land owned by the Forestry Commission.
With beautiful footpaths set on the banks of the river and in the forest, this is a wonderful place to step out in. We ventured here at a superb time of year, whilst the colours of the trees turned into their autumn wear, which reflected in the water. A stunning scene, as if painted by an artist.
From the Hotel Royal, a walk along the path to Bibling bridge to continue full circle and return via the Ferry is approximately a 3 mile hike through the woodlands along the riverside.
Bibling bridge allows only 6 person at a time on her back.
At Goodrich, the keep dates from the mid-twelfth century (c.1160-70), and it is the earliest part of the castle.
Bordering with Wales, an area also known as the Marches, dramatic hill scenery as the River Wye meanders..to enjoy along with medieval towns with a real country feel....
Ludlow is a great town to walk around and enjoy local shops ... a true market town with good offerings on Saturdays. We enjoyed an excellent lunch at De Grey's tearoom... the waitresses still wear those black uniforms I haven't seen in years! A must see is Ludlow Castle... once home to Katherine of Aragon before she married Henry IV.
Hereford Cathedral is one of the most interesting and oldest in England.. it dates back to Saxon times. It's probably most famous for a small museum housing the Mappa Mundi (you can Google this fascinating item) and a 'chained' library.
Croft Castle is a National Trust property - former home of the Croft family. It has a beautiful walled garden and Georgian furniture and ceilings dating back to the 1700's. Unfortunately, our visit was on a gloomy day, but the scenery was lovely and the Carpenter's Shop (an excellent tearoom) helped us get through the soggy weather.
The Rock is a spectacular viewing gallery that sits 500 ft above sea level over Symonds Yat East and West.
It is a popular place for sighting the Peregrine Falcon during summer months.
Castle Street, Hereford, HR1 2NW, United Kingdom
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Glewstone, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 6AW, United Kingdom
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The Talbot Hotel is situated right in the heart of Leominster and provides an excellent base for...more