The Arches were a feature of the original 12th century church until the 18th century when it was half rebuilt. Thankfully it was decided to re-locate the Arches to their current home, just a few hundred yards away.
You might start and finish at The Bateman Arms and stroll along a path towards St. John’s Church, flanked by walled gardens to your right and Shobdon Court to your left, taking in the beautiful parkland including two ornamental lakes. Take a little time to enjoy the Church, which Simon Jenkins in ‘England’s Thousand Best Churches' describes as 'a complete masterpiece, English Rococo executed with confidence at a time when new churches in the Gothic style were rare’.
From the Church, walk through an avenue of trees and there on the horizon are the Arches, an incredible monument to the work of the Herefordshire School of Romanesque sculpture over 8 centuries ago (similar carvings are to be found in a small number of local churches). Look closely and you will see military figures, winged monsters, Anglo-Saxon animals and Celtic abstract patterns, superb carvings all of which hint at the magnificence of the pre-1756 church. According to folklore this spot on the hill was intended to be the original site for the church, but each time they built beyond the arches, the devil knocked them down - perhaps just a clever story to stop children playing on them!
- Children welcome
- Free entry
- Free parking
Directions & Parking