For a full sensory immersion in Herefordshire’s sparky towns, postcard-pretty villages and rural splendour, park 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 Herefordshire, 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 its way around the county.
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.
Herefordshire Trail: Go Full Circuit
Jewel in the county’s walking crown is this spectacular 154-mile loop visiting five alluring market towns – Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Kington, Leominster and Bromyard – as well as countless charming country villages.
Over 10–16 days’ walking you’ll traverse diverse terrain including high hills and ridges – Malverns to the east, Black Mountains to the west, Marcle and Hergest Ridges in between. But there’s also gently undulating countryside, patchworked with apple and pear orchards, woods and arable farmland, and the generous curves of the Wye, Monnow, Dore and Arrow valleys.
- Admiring Herefordshire’s famed ‘black and white’ houses
- Visiting ruined castles, medieval abbeys and even a Neolithic burial chamber
- Following the glorious Golden Valley alongside the River Dore
- Exploring the historic heart of Ledbury, Bromyard’s festivals and Leominster’s antiques shops
- Relaxing in cosy pubs including the county’s oldest, the 12th-century Pandy Inn
Mortimer Trail: Break for the Border
This moderately testing 30-mile 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 walk, typically taking 2–4 days, traverses the historic lands of the Mortimer family, one of medieval England’s most powerful dynasties of Marcher lords, whose strongholds defended this stretch of the border with Wales.
- Absorbing spectacular views over the Malverns, Black Mountains and Radnor Hills
- Discovering Iron Age hillforts at Croft Ambrey and Wapley Hill
- Indulging in fine cuisine at the Stagg Inn, Titley and Riverside, Aymestrey
- Delving into dense woodland including vast Mortimer Forest
- Exploring the charming walking hub of Kington, gateway to Hergest Ridge
Wye Valley Walk: Ramble the River
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 – a total of 136 miles. The Herefordshire section of the trail covers some 57 beautiful miles, from the Welsh border near Monmouth to Hay-on-Wye, typically taking 4–7 days.
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.
- Following the river between forested slopes and beneath the crags of Symonds Yat
- Roaming the streets of pretty Ross-on-Wye, birthplace of English tourism
- Picnicking in glorious riverside meadows while watching for birds and otters
- Exploring historic Hereford, with its russet cathedral and great food
- Enjoy the literary charms of border-straddling book town Hay-on-Wye
Five More Walks...
As well as the three main trails described above, five more visit the county.
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.