For a full sensory immersion in Herefordshire’s sparky towns, postcard-pretty villages and rural splendour, park up the car and lace up your boots for a multi-day walk. As your feet find the rhythm of the countryside, you’ll become attuned to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures that make this county unique. No fewer than eight long-distance trails run at least partly through the region, ranging from the modest 30-mile Mortimer Trail – a perfect introduction to multi-day hiking for novices – to the 154-mile Herefordshire Trail, which jinks and snakes around the county to complete a full circuit, joining the dots between five key market towns.
Of course, you don’t need to tackle a whole trail in one go – many walkers enjoy covering a day or two at a time, returning to complete the route in several stages. But if you want a really big adventure, a long-distance trail provides an accessible entry point, with waymarked trails and ample facilities en route.
154 miles, 10-16 days
Jewel in the county’s walking crown is this spectacular loop visiting the county’s most alluring market towns – Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Kington, Leominster and Bromyard – as well as the famous ‘black and white villages’, studded with traditional timber-framed cottages. The route’s diverse terrain includes testing ridges – the Malverns to the east, the Black Mountains to the west, Marcle and Hergest in between. But there’s also gently undulating countrywide, patchworked with apple and pear orchards, woods and arable farmland, and the generous curves of the Wye, Monnow, Dore and Arrow valleys.
30 miles, 2-4 days
This moderately testing walk offers far-reaching views from the ridges and hills that stretch between Ludlow and Kington, alongside otter-slick rivers, through deer-browsed forest and past ancient hill forts. The route traverses the historic lands of the Mortimer family, among England’s most powerful medieval Marcher lords whose strongholds defended this stretch of the border with Wales.
Wye Valley Walk
136 miles, 8-15 days
Trace the course of the mighty river upstream from Chepstow Castle, where it meets the Severn, to its source in the Welsh hills at Plynlimon. The trail sweeps through Herefordshire for some 59 beautiful miles, from the Welsh border near Monmouth to Hay-on-Wye. En route you’ll admire the wooded banks flanking the river at Symonds Yat, Hereford’s stately cathedral, swathes of cider orchards and red kites soaring overhead.
More multi-day routes
The 177-mile Offa’s Dyke National Trail follows the route of the eponymous eighth-century defensive earthwork, weaving in and out of Herefordshire between Hay Bluff and Kington.
The Wyche Way links Offa’s Dyke to the Cotswolds, snaking 80 miles east from Kington through the Malvern Hills to Broadway.
The circular Three Choirs Way connects the cathedral cities of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester with a 100-mile triangular trail. The 40-mile Monnow Valley Walk follows that river from Monmouth to Hay-on-Wye. And the Geopark Way follows the line of hills between Bridnorth and Gloucester, covering 109 miles in total.