50 Walks in Herefordshire and Worcestershire

The historic city of Hereford

Try this sample walk from the latest edition of 50 Walks in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

About 50 Walks in Herefordshire & Worcestershire

Walking is one of Britain's favourite leisure activities, and this guide to Herefordshire & Worcestershire features 50 mapped walks from 2 to 10 miles, to suit all abilities.

The book features all the practical detail you need, including:

  • fascinating background reading on the history and wildlife of the area,
  • clear OS-based mapping for ease of use,
  • every route has been colour coded according to difficulty,
  • annotations for local points of interest and places to stop for refreshments,
  • summary of distance, time, gradient, level of difficulty, type of surface and access, landscape, dog friendliness, parking and public toilets.

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Sample walk: The historic city of Hereford

  • Distance: 3 miles (4.8km)
  • Minimum Time: 1hr 30min
  • Ascent: Negligible
  • Gradient: 0
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Paths: City streets, riverside path and tracks
  • Landscape: Riverside and city
  • Suggested Map: OS Explorer 189 Hereford & Ross-on-Wye
  • Start Grid Reference: SO510403
  • Dog Friendliness: Busy city streets are not great for dogs, which should be kept on a lead
  • Parking: Garrick House long-stay, pay-and-display multi-storey car park, Widemarsh Street
  • Public Toilet: Blackfriars Street, Castle Green, East Street and Union Street
Background reading

The old city of Hereford overlooked the Wye from its northern bank and, as its name suggests, was an important river crossing. A Celtic see from the sixth century, it has seen much conflict both as a Marches town (established by the Normans to subdue the Welsh) and during the English Civil War (1642–1651). Founded around 1050 by the Anglo-Saxons to repel the Welsh, its castle was rebuilt by the Normans and remained in use until the 17th century. All that survives of the fortifications are fragmentary city walls and part of the moat by Castle Green.

The city's prosperity grew out of the surrounding land, where apple orchards and cattle production thrived. The famous Hereford breed, developed at the end of the 18th century for beef production, is celebrated in a life-size bronze statue of a bull beside the Old House in High Town. Apples grown in orchards scattered across the county's sheltered vales are largely used for cider production, and both Bulmers and Westons are based in the city. Herefordshire has even adopted an apple for its logo.

Largely unscathed during World War II, Hereford's older buildings make an attractive tour. At the city's heart, the cathedral occupies the site of the first stone church, built over the tomb of St Ethelbert around 825. Destroyed when the city was sacked by the Welsh in 1056, it was later rebuilt by the Normans, a process that took some 70 years to complete. It has seen many changes during the last 1,000 years, including the disastrous collapse of the western tower in 1786. Inside are the famous 14th-century Mappa Mundi, with Jerusalem placed at the centre of the world, and the Chained Library. Other buildings to seek out are St Xavier's Church, its entrance flanked by imposing Greek Doric columns, and the City Library, which houses an art gallery and fine museum, both in Broad Street.

  1. Turn left out of the car park and walk up Widemarsh Street to the Coningsby Museum, housed in a hospital built in 1614 for ex-servicemen beside a Black Friars' monastery. Its remains and a preaching cross can be seen in the secluded rose garden behind. Briefly retrace your steps and go left into Coningsby Street. At its end, Canal Road led left to the triple canal basin terminus of the Hereford and Gloucester Canal; a site now earmarked for restoration in the city's development plan. The route, however, continues to the right along Monkmoor Street and then right again along Commercial Road to a busy junction opposite the Kerry. Cross at the lights.
  2. Briefly detour left along Bath Street to see a remnant of the old city wall opposite the Magistrates' Court, then return to go down Union Street beside the Kerry pub. Union Street leads to St Peter's Square. Just to the left along St Owen's Street is the Town Hall, which was opened in 1904. Turn around and walk back past St James's Church into High Town. A short distance past the Old House (now a museum) swing left through an archway down a narrow passage, Capuchin Lane. It leads into Church Street and on to the cathedral, where the famous Mappa Mundi can be seen.
  3. Go left past the cathedral into Castle Street. Approaching Castle House at the end, walk right along a narrow passage which leads past Castle Pool (the last remnant of the city's defensive moat) to Castle Green. Turn left on a rising path that skirts two sides of the park to a viewpoint overlooking the Wye. Steps left of the belvedere lead down to Victoria Bridge.
  4. On the far bank turn right beside Bishop's Meadow, continuing beyond to cross St Martin's Street at the foot of the 15th-century Wye Bridge. It carried all the city's traffic until Greyfriars Bridge was built in 1966. Carry on beside the river to Hunderton Bridge, constructed in 1854 to carry the railway from Newport and Abergavenny.
  5. Cross here, descending to the riverbank to double back downstream past the Rugby Club. Approaching Hereford Rowing Club, the path leaves the river to skirt the clubhouse. Continue up Greyfriars Avenue. Immediately before the main road, go right along a footpath above the car park. Emerging from a pedestrian subway, glance right through a gateway to see the base of one of the city wall's towers before turning up steps to cross St Nicholas's Street.
  6. Continue along Victoria Street beside the old city walls and then turn right into West Street. At the crossroads, go left into Broad Street, heading towards All Saints Church at the top. A popular meeting place, it houses a cafe and exhibitions while maintaining its original spiritual function. Go right to High Town, taking the first left into Widemarsh Street. Follow it up across a junction with a main road back to the car park.
While you're there

Only devout heathens avoid Hereford Cathedral; this, and the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library (entrance fee) are the city's biggest draws. A timeline decorating the walls of the library museum describes the main chapters in Hereford's history, while mounted on the stair wall is a stunning Roman mosaic floor from nearby Kenchester. Upstairs in the museum you can see bees working in a hive behind only a sheet of glass. On Bishop's Meadow you'll find an endangered species, municipal grass tennis courts – use them or lose them.

Where to eat and drink

Continental-style 'alfresco piazza lounging' has arrived in Hereford's High Town. The Moka Bar at No. 8 Church Street can be quite a crush – always a good sign. At No. 10 is the Sandwich Bar, and at No. 17 is La Madeleine licenced cafe and garden. Down tiny Capuchin Yard, off Church Street, is Nutter's, a wholefood coffee shop.

What to look out for

Visit the Old House Museum (open daily, April to September) in High Town. Near by is the relocated Marchants' House. Near the cathedral, the sign 'Tower open today' means you can climb the cathedral's stairs (most days in school summer holidays).

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