Herefordshire: Medieval Towns, Farming, Cider, and Countryside

Updated on June 17, 2018

Herefordshire is full of pretty medieval villages, market towns, pleasant country walks, and good food on vacation. Agriculture is an important part of Herefordshire's economy and the county is famed for its cider and Hereford cattle.

This article describes some of the highlights of Herefordshire which include

  • the Black and White Village tour,
  • exploring medieval castles and their gardens,
  • one of the oldest surviving medieval maps of the world,
  • countryside walks,
  • and cider.

Herefordshire is a rural county, so may not be the best place for someone seeking bright lights and clubbing on holiday. But if you're looking for greenery, delicious meals cooked from local ingredients, and long country walks, this area is perfect.

The Old House in Hereford

An example of the black and white timber style houses associated with the area.
An example of the black and white timber style houses associated with the area. | Source

Where is Herefordshire?

Remember Herefordshire Is Not Hertfordshire

Herefordshire is not the most well known English county, meaning it is sometimes confused with the more famous Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire is a county to the North of London, and not Herefordshire, which is near Wales.

Map of Herefordshire Showing Key Towns

Hereford, UK

get directions

Leominster, Herefordshire HR6, UK

get directions

Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8, UK

get directions

Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire HR9, UK

get directions

Market Towns and Villages

Herefordshire has several pretty medieval towns and villages with independent shops to explore. Ross-on-Wye is credited as being the 'birthplace of British tourism', and the subject of the first illustrated tour guide of its kind in 1762. The town of Ledbury is an exceptionally pretty town known for its original 16th century black and white buildings and winner of many "Britain in Bloom" contests. The largest town in the county is Hereford, with around 60,000 people. It is also worth visiting to see one of the largest remaining medieval maps of the world, in Hereford Cathedral.





Drink Cider

One of Herefordshire's most famous exports is cider. The most well known brand from Herefordshire is Bulmers, which is sold worldwide. However there are also many smaller cider producers in Herefordshire, whose cider you should be sure to sample. There is even a cider museum in Hereford.

Country Walks

Herefordshire is full of beautiful green countryside to explore. For some ideas of possible walks near you, see Herefordshire council's website for a number of maps to download.

Herefordshire Council's guide to walks

Mortimer Trail

One of the most well known walks in Herefordshire is the Mortimer Trail which is a 30 mile footpath between Kington, in Herefordshire, to Ludlow, which is just over the  border in Shropshire.
One of the most well known walks in Herefordshire is the Mortimer Trail which is a 30 mile footpath between Kington, in Herefordshire, to Ludlow, which is just over the border in Shropshire. | Source

The Black and White Trail

Follow the black and white trail to see some of the prettiest villages in England with tudor style timber framed buildings.

The trail is about 40 miles and is signposted on the roads. This route goes through the villages of Eardisland, Weobley, Pembridge, Eardisley, Dilwyn, Kinnersley, Sarnesfield, Lyonshall, Kingsland and the market towns of Kington and Leominster.

Many of the houses you will see date back to the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries and were built using unseasoned oak timbers filled with lath and plaster. However the woodwork was often left untreated. The practice of painting these houses black and white dates from the nineteenth century.


Black and white houses in Weobley
Black and white houses in Weobley | Source

Black and White Trail Villages Map

Eardisland, Herefordshire HR6, UK

get directions

Weobley, Herefordshire HR4, UK

get directions

Pembridge, Herefordshire HR6, UK

get directions

Eardisley, Herefordshire HR3, UK

get directions

Dilwyn, Herefordshire HR4, UK

get directions

Kinnersley, Herefordshire HR3, UK

get directions

Sarnesfield, Herefordshire, UK

get directions

Lyonshall, Herefordshire, UK

get directions

Kingsland, Herefordshire HR6, UK

get directions

Kington, Herefordshire HR5, UK

get directions

Castles and Historic Houses

One of the legacies of English wars with the Welsh are many castles that were built on the borders between England and Wales, which is known as the Marches. Some of these castles are today little more than ruins, others are more intact.

Some of the best Castles to visit are the following:

Goodrich Castle - which dates back to the 11th century, and has some of the finest still surviving examples of medieval architecture. The property is run by English Heritage and a visitor centre with an exhibition explaining the history of the castle.

Wigmore Castle and Longtown Castle were two more medieval castles built during wars with the Welsh. They are also owned by English Heritage, but are now ruins. Worth having a look around if you are going for a walk in the area. Wigmore Castle has a picnic area.

Croft Castle - the current building dates from the fourteenth century, but there has been a building on the site owned by the Croft family since the eleventh century. The castle is still lived in by the family, but it is run by the National Trust and visitors are welcomed to explore the surrounding parkland which includes an iron age fort, and learn about the history of the Croft family inside, and admire the interiors.

Kinnersley Castle - was also a Norman Castle built for defense against the Welsh in the early twelfth century, although little of the original building remains, and the current building dates mostly from the reign of Elizabeth I (in the sixteenth century). The castle is a family home, so is only open for guided tours at limited times during the summer. If you want to visit Kinnersley make sure you look up details of these.

Eastnor Castle - is a stately home built in the style of the local medieval castles in the nineteenth century, but it is still visiting, especially with children as there is lots for them to explore. Eastnor has beautiful gardens with an adventure playground, maze, picnic areas, and walks to run around in. The inside is also open to the public who can view the nineteenth century gothic dining room, medieval armour and fine art.

Please note that many of these castles close over the winter, and are only open to the public between around April to October. You are advised to check opening times before travelling.

Goodrich Castle
Goodrich Castle | Source

Random Fact: Legal Loophole Against the Welsh

It is, to this day, technically legal to shoot a Welshman with a bow and arrow in the town of Hereford. The law allowing it dating from times of war between England and Wales has never been repealed.

However I would not recommend actually doing this. It is very likely that, despite this law still existing, in practice other laws forbidding shooting peoples with bows and arrows will be deemed more important by the powers that be.

Hereford Cathedral and The Mappa Mundi

If you go to Hereford, the largest town in the county, visit the cathedral. Hereford Cathedral dates back almost 1200 years. If you are a fan of old maps or a medieval history enthusiast it should be on your must visit list to see one of the oldest surviving medieval maps.

Mappa Mundi

The cathedral is home to the Mappa Mundi, the largest medieval map known to still exist dating from around 1285. The map is 158 cm by 133 cm in size and drawn on vellum, which is stretched out calfskin. It shows Jerusalem at the centre, surrounded by Africa and Europe. (America, does not feature, as the creators of the map would not have been aware of its existence.)

Magna Carta

The Magna Carta is one of the most famous historical documents ever. It was signed in 1215 by King John of England and founded the English legal system, and the beginnings of constitutional law, and influenced the constitutions of many countries around the world including the United States of America. Hereford Cathedral own one of only four copies of the reissued 1217 version of the Magna Carta signed by Henry III of England.

Mappa Mundi

Mappa Mundi map of the world dating from 1300
Mappa Mundi map of the world dating from 1300 | Source

Travel Tips

The nearest airports to Herefordshire are Birmingham Airport and Bristol Airport. Herefordshire is accessible by train from London, Birmingham, Wales and Manchester. Regular trains stop in the towns of Hereford, Leominster and Ledbury. However the rural nature of the county means that to fully explore, you may need a car. Many of the attractions are not reachable by public transport, although cycling will be an option.

The Cat's Back Hill

The Black Hill in Herefordshire, near Craswell, just at the border with Wales, is known as the Cat's Back because it looks like a cat waiting to pounce.
The Black Hill in Herefordshire, near Craswell, just at the border with Wales, is known as the Cat's Back because it looks like a cat waiting to pounce. | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • daydreams profile imageAUTHOR

      Marianne Sherret 

      2 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Thanks, I want to go back there soon too!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have been to Herefordshire but seeing your pictures make me want to go again. We were just in York and have no time to go further down this time. Enjoyed your hub.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      What a wonderful place to visit. The photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing the useful informations. Who knows I might be able to visit there one day. Thanks.

    • daydreams profile imageAUTHOR

      Marianne Sherret 

      7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Thank you very much for your comment. It is a really nice part of England, and gets you a bit off the typical tourist trail (it is popular with those that have heard of it, but a lot of people haven't!)

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 

      7 years ago

      Useful and interesting hub. The images you have are all lovely. It's good that you mentioned so many details and information like even mentioning the loophole to a law and about the openings of the castles.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)