Farmer Ben’s Favourite 5 Outdoor Pursuits

The best outdoor adventures, as recommended by Ben Andrews, a local farmer with fabulous facial hair and firm organic principles - find him on Instagram @bentheoandrews

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Ben Andrews
7th June, 2021

I grew up in Herefordshire but I couldn’t be more of a fan! It’s a gorgeous county and there are amazing places to do everything I love, from cycling and canoeing to running and walking. These are my favourite things to do when we have friends visiting or take a very local staycation. I hope they inspire you to get active here too!

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Ben Andrews
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Ben Andrews
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Ben Andrews

1. Run around Cat’s Back and Black Hill

This 13km loop is simply stunning! The Cat’s Back is a high, narrow ridge in the Black Mountains with views out across Herefordshire, Wales and even the Bristol Channel on a clear day. It feels so remote and wild up here, I just love it. You also walk along part of Offa’s Dyke Path, which was built to separate the two kingdoms of England and Wales so you get a nice bit of history thrown in too. Of course, if you are feeling slightly less energetic, it also makes an excellent walk.

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2. Canoe the Wye

We’re so lucky to have the River Wye on our doorstep. I like to put in at Lucksall Campsite at Holme Lacy and glide to Hoarwithy. You can stop for lunch at the New Harp Inn or Cottage of Content before carrying on down the river to Ross on Wye for dinner. Camp overnight then paddle to Symonds Yat the next morning. There’s lots of canoe providers who can arrange this trip for you and plenty of options to extend it, if you want to spend a few more days on the river.

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3. Walk amazing landscapes

This is a superb walk through different types of landscape, it’s a great place to feel connected with nature. You start at Croft Castle, a manor house looked after by the National Trust (definitely worth a visit) and then head up through parkland and woodland to Croft Ambrey. This was the site of an Iron Age hillfort and is a fantastic spot with, you guessed it, more gorgeous views. You then track across Bircher Common and return via the picturesque Fishpool Valley. It’s heaven.

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Ben Andrews
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Ben Andrews
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Ben Andrews

4. Hike up Garway Hill

This is actually an easy walk but the views are something else and wild mountain ponies graze up here - they are just the loveliest sight. From here, you can take several walks, including one to Dragon’s Gate which is where Stevie and I had a mini-staycation. Set on a farm overlooking the Monnow Valley, the glamping cabins are lush with log fired hot tubs and there’s an excellent pub just down the road if you don’t feel like cooking.

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5. Cycle around Bredwardine

Herefordshire boasts stacks of epic rides! I love taking the road bike out on the 20-mile loop from Tillington through Credenhill to Bredwardine and then on to Moccas and Madley before heading up the A438 and back to where I started. It’s a gorgeous route which crosses the River Wye twice. Don’t forget to allow time for a pint or lunch at The Bell Inn in Tillington on your return. 

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And finally...cider & food

Here’s an extra one for luck...You really cannot come to Herefordshire and not sample our cider. Try a pint of Westons in one of the pubs or, even better, visit Newton Court Cider or one of the local cider-makers to sample their wares. As for food, I take everyone to either The Bookshop or Burger Shop in Hereford at least once! Honestly, I’ll take any excuse to eat there more often, the food at both places is amazing.