We are challenging locals and visitors from across the UK to take on one of the county’s hiking, biking or kayaking trails in 2024. It’s the best way to uncover our hidden gems and soak up our stunning landscapes.
Here's our five favourites for the new year, let us know if you decide to give one (or more) a go!
Golden Valley Pilgrim Way: Walk/ Cycle by Day & Sleep in a Church
The Golden Valley Pilgrim Way launched in 2023, offering hikers and cyclists the chance to discover a circular pilgrimage route, starting and ending at Hereford Cathedral.
Enhance mind, body and soul as you tread ancient paths, taking the opportunity to reconnect with nature and escape digital overload.
Pause for breaks ar hidden farms which produce artisan cider and delicious ice cream, and soak up the shifting landscapes, from gentle wooded river valleys to dramatic mountain views. And take night sanctuary in tranquil medieval churches.
For a suggested donation of £20 per night you can sleep in Night Sanctuaries – a selection of medieval churches which allow guests to bed down in the church itself and offer camp beds and basic facilities. With only one exception, the churches are all situated in villages with local country pubs serving delicious local fare.
And, for a unique experience, stay overnight in the cloisters of Hereford Cathedral, and become one of the first pilgrims to stay in Anglican cathedral precincts since medieval times.
There's a variety of options available, from the 60 mile full walking route taking 6 days, a shorter 38 mile walk for those with three or four days to spare or an 82-mile route for cyclists.
Hike & Canoe the Herefordshire Trail: Celebrate the 20th anniversary of this iconic trail
The 154-mile Herefordshire Trail was launched 20 years ago and loops the county, taking in the five historic market towns of Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Kington, Leominster and Bromyard.
Passing through orchards, hop fields, wildflower filled valleys and mountain paths; this iconic trail features rural churches, castle ruins and a fabulous selection of inns and eateries.
Celebrate its anniversary by take on the whole circuit over a series of 15 stages, or choose shorter sections using public transport to and from starting point.
Alternatively, those wanting to canoe a section can now take on a six day ‘Hike and Paddle’ endurance challenge, which is an epic three-day 46 mile trek followed by a three-day 52 mile canoe adventure along the River Wye. Staying in country pubs for the first leg and then camping out for the final three nights, this is a tough but incredible Herefordshire challenge.
The Cat’s Back Challenge: Iconic Views & Cabin Sleepover
The Cat’s Back Challenge is a five-mile run up a 2100ft high peak in the Black Mountains, called the Cat’s Back because of it’s rocky, arched, knife-edge ridge. Spectacular views reward runners and hikers who take on the challenge, with England stretching out on one side and Wales on the other. Wild ponies, red kites, buzzards and kestrels along the route add to the drama.
The Bull’s Head in Craswell is well worth booking for a farm-to-table lunch after the adventure; and new cabin accommodation is soon to open at the pub, offering a great option for a post Cat’s Back sleepover.
Alternatively the glorious Chapel House Farm, also in Craswell, offers campsite pitches, Peter’s Wagon sleeping two, and a Camping Pod sleeping up to four.
Cycle The Watkins Way: Travel Ancient Ley Lines
The 106-mile Watkins Way in Herefordshire celebrates the discovery of ley lines by local man Alfred Watkins and can be enjoyed as a cycling or driving trail. Taking in the gorgeous Wye Valley, magical Golden Valley and the ever-changing panoramas of the Black Mountains; the Watkins Way is one of the UK’s best scenic routes.
Tackling it on two wheels can be done in as little as three days and cyclists are rewarded with historic sites, Black and White village architecture, rural idylls, cider stop- overs and some great country pubs and inns to stay over in.
Canoe Adventure: Multi-Day Family Challenge along the River Wye
Paddling along Herefordshire’s River Wye offers a true digital detox and can be tackled as a day trip or on a multi-day trip of varying difficulty.
For the more hardy Hereford Canoe Hire’s four day 45- miler from Hay on Wye to Hoarwithy is a great adventure, but those with less paddle-power can opt for a one, two, or three day experience. Prices include planning advice, transport, canoes, paddles, buoyancy aids and dry storage expedition barrels. The only additional costs are accommodation and food, and appropriate campsites along the way need to be pre-booked. Family bookings welcome.
We'll round off with a few more tempting suggestions to help you plan your trips in 2024:
- Cycle one of Herefordshire’s famous Cider Circuits
- Tee off from Kington Golf Course – England’s highest course (1248ft above sea level)
- Go Night Owl Sunset Paddle Boarding with Yofi PaddleSports
- Try a wild swimming camps with Angela Jones, Swim Wild