Guest Itinerary:

Herefordshire Cycling Route

A three-day cycling route with excellent food

Welcome to my itinerary, a sneak peek into the beautiful county of Herefordshire. I grew up close to Leominster at Tyrrells Court Farm, home of fantastic crisps! Surrounded by rich red rolling farmland, Herefordshire is lucky to boast some of the best soil in the world, perfect for growing potatoes and a wealth of other crops including cider apples. We have been farming here for over four generations.

It has been wonderful to see the county become known for producing some fantastic food and drinks brands, with many top restaurants to boot. Hopefully, in some of these great establishments, you’ll come across our Chase gin and vodka, fresh from our farm distillery. Established in 2008, using up potatoes too small to make into crisps or too wonky for supermarkets, we set out to champion field to bottle spirits. 

 

Local Champion:
James Chase

James Chase was born and bred in the county and is the Global Brand Ambassador for Chase Distillery which creates award-winning gin and vodka from potatoes grown on the family farm.

I am incredibly fortunate to live in such a glorious county,
and I can't wait for you to visit.

James Chase - Global Brand Ambassador, Chase Distillery, Preston Wynne, Hereford

 

 

Day 1 - Morning, Hereford to Hay-on-Wye

My route begins in the city of Hereford, famed for its beautiful cathedral with its chained library, the largest in the world containing 1,500 books, and the famous Mappa Mundi drawn on velum around 1290, making it one of the earliest maps of the world in existence.

My favourite breakfast stop is The Bookshop on Aubrey Street just north of the cathedral - an informal eatery run by Dorian and his brother Edwin, serving an excellent daily brunch menu and a steak-led evening menu.

After breakfast it’s onto the bike and leaving Hereford via the A465 and B4348 in the direction of Hay-on-Wye, the UK’s capital of books! The route will take you through the beautiful villages of Peterchurch (there’s a small village shop here for stocking up on water and snacks) and Dorstone where you can pop by and see Arthur's Stone, a Neolithic chambered tomb. To get there, we will run along the Black Mountains, straddling the border between England and Wales, known to some as Gospels Pass (you could cycle the Herefordshire side if preferred; Offa's Dyke Pass). This ride should take you a couple of hours, and you should arrive at lunchtime – enjoy the descent into Hay, you’ve earned it! 

 

 

Day 1 - Afternoon, Hay-on-Wye to Titley

Lock up the bike and enjoy Hay-on-Wye’s small streets and book shops aplenty, my favourite is Booth Books. For lunch, I would highly recommend The Granary, they do the best soups and sandwiches, followed by a stop off at Shepherds Ice Cream parlour in High Town. A good time of year to visit is around the end of May/early June when the Hay Festival occurs. Rub shoulders with the best journalists and authors and don’t be surprised if you bump into Bill Clinton or Jay Rayner!

The afternoon's ride is to our bed for the evening at the Stagg Inn at Titley, you’ll cross the River Wye at Whitney and zig zag your way through the windy roads. They have a wonderful Chase cocktail list from Smoked Bloody Mary’s to Gin Martinis - you can’t go wrong! Steve and Nicola Reynolds have owned and run The Stagg Inn for the past twenty years, it is often regarded as one of the top gastro pubs in the UK. Settle down here for the night and imbibe on fine wine, local ales, and of course, some excellent tasting Chase spirits! 

 

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Statue of Elgar with his bicycle looking up at the Cathedral

Hereford Cathedral

 

 

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bookshop

 

 

Day 2 - Morning, North Herefordshire to Chase Distillery

The next morning begins with a leisurely hour's ride via Staunton on Arrow and Shobdon (if you have time, I’d definitely recommend you visit St John’s Church in Shobdon, this Walpolean Gothic style of Georgian church is one of Prince Charles’ favourites) to the ancient timbered Riverside Inn near Aymestrey, Leominster. This brilliant pub is situated right beside the River Lugg, and a pitstop ploughman’s sandwich awaits. 

Once refuelled, its back on the bike heading out to Chase Distillery, nestled deep in the wonderful Herefordshire countryside. The route will take you through the market town of Leominster and past the Tudor palace of Hampton Courtthis ride should take around an hour and a half and has some great views across the county. Make sure you are well prepared; it can be a busy commuter road so make sure you’re visible and have all the kit you need. 

 

 

Day 2 - Afternoon, Chase Distillery to Hereford

The tours team will be delighted to welcome you to the distillery, and over the next couple of hours you’ll discover our field to bottle process and learn precisely what makes Chase so unique. During the tour, you will enjoy a Chase GB Gin & Tonic followed by a tutored tasting and a zesty Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic to finish. 

Finally, its back on the bike and heading into Hereford city centre, just over a small climb! The team at the Castle House Hotel will welcome you with open arms and get you settled in. The perfect pint of local Wye Valley Ale can be found at The Barrels pub just down the road, ready for the ultimate burger at The Burger Shop on Aubrey Street.

 

 

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The river running by Riverside Inn, Aymestrey

The River by The Riverside Aymestry

 

 

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A view of Chase distillery from the orchards

Chase Distillery

Day 3 - Hereford to Ledbury

The following morning, if you don't have to rush home, I suggest you visit historic Ledbury. With its leaning, half-timbered cottages and narrow winding alleyways, it is for many people the quintessential small English market town. 

Enroute to Ledbury you can enjoy a meal at the Verzon House, they have a delicious seasonal breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, all made with locally sourced ingredients and prepared by head chef Callum McDonald. A perfect finale to my tour of the beautiful county of Herefordshire.

 

 

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Ledbury

Ledbury