The trail then travels through the enchanting Athelstan’s Wood, once owned by the Bishops of Hereford and named after the 11th century Bishop Athelstan. Later, it became the property of the powerful Scudamore family whose men coppiced the wood for charcoal to fuel forges. Now owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, the wood is part conifer plantation, but a delightful expanse of mature oak forest remains. In addition to the public footpath, the Duchy has created a permissive path to invite further wanderings.
From Much Birch, there are two main roads to cross but the peace of deep forest is soon recaptured in the well-wooded Mynde Park.
The trail passes the park’s lovely seven-acre lake, with its island folly, and the stately Kilpeck Church home of The Mynde. Privately owned, the mansion’s lavish interior makes it a popular location for film and television.
The steeply wooded flanks of one of Herefordshire’s bigger hills, Cusop Hill, rise beyond the park but the trail heads through an easier, undulating landscape to the gem known as Kilpeck.