Circular Walk from Vowchurch Common

A tough but gorgeous walk taking in views of the Golden and Wye Valleys, Herefordshire

Golden Valley

A colleague suggested this walk although I am not sure I went the way he intended.  Turning off the B4348 I followed the sign to Vowchurch Common and parked about halfway up the hill on a wide grass verge at the start of a footpath by a sign for Wilsons Place.  This walk is quite tough in places and wearing only light walking trousers and a t-shirt I was dismayed to find myself chest high in stinging nettles and brambles quite early on.  A sturdy stick would  have been useful at points to clear the path and hidden holes and ruts in the undergrowth meant I stumbled a number of times.  However looking at my route on the map below I think I could probably have avoided this difficult start by not turning off the wide bridle way onto the, obviously rarely used, footpath.

View Circular Walk From Vowchurch Common in a larger map

Eventually, after about a mile, the the path cleared and I found myself at the top of a hill overlooking the Golden Valley.  Here we also met some pot bellied pigs who came running to greet us which freaked Bandit out somewhat and his barking brought the owner and his dogs out to investigate.  He was a pleasant chap and gave me directions that would take me down to Monnington Court and up through some woodlands from the top of which I could view the Wye Valley.


I really enjoyed this walk and apart from the pig owner and a milkman on the lane I didn’t see a soul.  In fact a number of times I almost jumped out of my skin when the MyTracks application on my phone announced the distance I had travelled.

Making my way down to Monnington, I cut across a field and into Guys Estate which is a beautiful managed woodland.  Following the path brings you out onto open land from where you get spectacular views of the Wye Valley.  A camera really doesn’t do justice to the views as they are truly panoramic. After about a mile, walking along the ridge, I cut back down through the woods and into a valley looking back towards Monnington.

... and out at the bottom

Leaving the woods I began the steepest climb of the walk and on reaching the top sat in the sunshine for a breather and to give Bandit a drink. From this point we crossed another field, passed through a small coppice and eventually onto the road about a mile or so above where I had parked the car.

The total distance for the walk was a little under seven miles according to MyTracks although I would say it is probably closer to five.  There are numerous stiles, none  of which are dog friendly so Bandit once again found himself being hoicked  unceremoniously over.  The footpaths are clearly signposted and the area seems riddled with them giving plenty of opportunity for further exploration.

Wilsons Place

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Hergest Woodland Walk

A steep, slippery, mildly treacherous walk with high stiles at Hergest, Kington, Herefordshire

Many fallen trees

Today,arriving at the top of Ridgebourne Road, near Hergest Common I was surprised to see so many cars parked.  So, wanting to give Bandit a good run, I decided to take another route where we would be unlikely to encounter people, dogs or sheep and he could be safely let off the lead.  So I walked back down the road to the Car Park for Hergest Croft Garden. In the far right of the car park is a style take this and then bear hard left.

Two warnings here, there was only one dog friendly stile on this walk, and a couple are quite high, so if you have a large dog you are going to get filthy lugging them over these. Luckily for me Bandit is easy to chuck over, unceremoniously, by his harness.  Also immediately after this stile the path is steep and slippery, although just a short distance to the next stile which takes you into the woodland, as you double back on yourself parallel to Ridgebourne Road.  However the path does continue to be mildly treacherous in places so watch your footing.

View Hergest Woodland Walk in a larger map

Carrying on through through the wood for about a mile you reach a small number of steps which take you onto a wider forestry path. Up to this point our walk has been generally down hill.  Now the pay back starts but it is a gentle steady mile long incline and when there are breaks in the trees the views are stunning and very different from the ones you get higher up on the common.

Breath taking view

The track eventually peters out and we return once again to a narrow woodland path.  I’ve never walked this way when it hasn’t been muddy, even the summer there is a lot of moisture.  If you have a dog with you he’s going to get grubby.

After a steady climb we reach a final stile taking us out onto Hergest Common.  Here you have a choice you follow the woodland along via the left hand path which takes you back to the lower common and is reasonably easy going or you can climb straight up to the Victorian race track at the top, which is what Bandit and I did.  I don’t understand why hills never seem to affect dogs.  The climb to the top is about a mile and in some places excruciatingly steep. I had to stop for a number of breathers.  At one point sitting on a rock gave Bandit the opportunity to leap onto my lap from which he was promptly pushed but not before he covered me in mud and sheep muck. I should have mentioned that after leaving the woods Bandit was back on his lead as there are lots of sheep and a number of horses on the common.

Stop for a breather

Like all steep climbs the views are usually worth it and we encountered a number of horses with their foals too. Once at the top I decided to take the long walk around the race track and then down onto the lower common and back to the car.  It’s all gentle from here on and feels very easy going after such a steep climb.  My only regret is that I forgot to take my camera and had to use my phone instead which just doesn’t cut it or do true justice to our walk.


14/10/1996 – 11/08/2012 (Glamorstaff Red Sonya)

BonnieWe never intended to by a pedigree dog but when a former colleague informed me that they knew an owner that had to get rid of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy because their older dog had taken a dislike to it, the temptation was irresistible. So Bonnie, at three months old, came into our lives, our first family dog and one which my children, now grown up, can barely remember being with out.

Bonnie Kennel Club CertificateBonnie, named after my Triumph Motorcycle, soon made her mark and our kitchen furniture still bear the scars of her puppyhood teething.  Always full of energy, eager to make new friends and say hello like a coiled spring she would leap onto your lap, chair, bed determined to lick every inch of exposed flesh, especially ears, that she could.  She didn’t confine her exuberance to family and friends either. Anyone was a fair target for her affection especially if they were sitting or lying down. One day, whilst walking through Roath Park, Cardiff, my wife (I bought Bonnie for her) let a friends child take the lead and they promptly let her off it. A rugby match was in full swing and a player went down possibley feigning injury. My wife shouted ‘Get up! Get up! Get up!’ but it wasn’t until Bonnies nose and tongue made contact with his ear did he leap to his feet, injury forgotten.  Another time, a man relaxing, reading a newspaper was rudely interrupted when she leapt through the centre of it to give his face a good slobbering.

Bonnie hated loud noises, especially fireworks.  Her reaction to this would be to destroy the first thing she could find, this included record collections, various plastic boxes, a kettle, kids toys, a badger skull and a wine bag (half of which she ate and we had to dose her with liquid paraffin to ease its exit). On the eve of the millennium she bolted from our house in Cardiff as we stepped outside to view the fireworks.  We thought we had lost her for good but fortunately she had entered a pub some miles away and a kind local phoned us, luckily she had a tag, and we were able to retrieve her.

I never met anyone who disliked Bonnie, even self-professed dog dislikers would warm to her.  She was a brilliant, loyal friend to all the family and will be incredibly missed. Goodbye Bonnie.

Goodbye Bonnie

... and relax

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Circular Walk from Scar Lane

Finding hidden footpaths and traversing fields of turnips

A circular walk starting from Scar Lane, Staunton-on-wye

Even grey days have beauty

We often visit The Scar, there are beautiful views and woodland but it’s one of those walks where you go as far as you want then turn around and walk back again (if you stick to the footpath).  So on returning from one of those ‘there and back again’ strolls I had a quick look at an old OS map we have to see if there was any way of taking a circular route on official footpaths and there was.  It doesn’t take in The Scar or views of the river, although I’ve included some photos below but begins by walking down Scar Lane, onto Gypsy Lane and finally bearing right into Brobury Lane.

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Detailed OS View

I saw one person and one car whilst walking down these lanes on what was a grey, blustery Saturday afternoon and so was able to let Bandit have a long leash.  The lanes are single track, gentle and pretty even in January.  Brobury Lane widens out and a short distance along there is a footpath to your right.  Careful as you climb the stile as it is extremely rotten and wobbly. From my quick glance at the map I had assumed that it was a fairly straight forward stroll across the fields back to Scar Lane and although the first three fields were easy to negotiate, put to grass and no stock about, the signage was sparse and I nearly missed a small bridge which was partially obscured by the hedge.

However after crossing the road which runs down to Bredwardine it became a lot more difficult to identify the route the footpath was to take and as you can see by my excursion down to Wetmore Wood, I took a few wrong turns.

Final sign at Scar Lane

I don’t know if land owners around these parts intentionally discourage walkers on their land but it would appear so. From planting right to the edge of fields, trimming footpath signs along with the hedges, and no effort to maintain styles and signage, they certainly don’t make it easy to stick to the official routes.  Finally after working my way around the edge of three turnip fields, I made it back to Scar Lane.  What probably should have been a three mile walk ended up closer to four.  Perhaps if more people walked this way it would encourage land owners and the local council to make it more accessible. So give it a try!

Walking in Weobley, Herefordshire

In search of giant pumpkins, sweet chestnuts and the elusive circular walk

Sweet chestnuts

Today we went to Weobley because giant pumpkins had been spotted outside The Green Bean.  Since we were going I did a quick search on the web and turned up the Weobley Circular Walk.  However, having mooched around the village we had no idea where it began, partly my fault because I didn’t print out the leaflet. Asking a local sent us heading off up Mill Bank (B4230) and here we took the first footpath on our left (permissive access).  There were two options here, either bear left or go straight.  Bearing left appeared to head back towards the village so we carried straight on.  After crossing a few fields we came to a hard surfaced track and following this we eventually came to another track to our right which had the circular walk symbol.  We followed these markers until we reached the Hereford Road and turned left back towards Weobley, expecting to find more circular walk markers but did not.  Re-entering Weobley we took another footpath to our left and a short distance later reconnected with the circular walk leading us back to Broad Street.

View larger map

Detailed OS Map

All in all it was a very pleasant walk, meeting and chatting with friendly locals, with lovely views and autumn colours even on such a grey day, plus we even managed to collect some sweet chestnuts.  Unfortunately the markers for the circular walk, which is 3 miles as opposed to our 4, were intermittent, so if you intend doing that I would highly recommend printing out the leaflet.

On our way home we noticed an interesting antique shop, Utter Clutter, which is well worth a browse and was home to a cheeky robin (see photos).