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Birding Sites

Below you will find the county Birding Sites. Please respect the access to some to these areas because they may be on private land for which the landowner's permission must be sought. Please also remember the Birdwatchers' Code concerning access on land and disturbance of birds.

Key to Abbreviations: HWT = Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
NGR = National Grid Reference
NT = National Trust

PRW = Public Right of Way

Health and safety notice: Visitors to the sites do so at their own risk. 

Birding Sites.jpg

Birding Sites

Sites

1 Berrington Hall


Overview

The Georgian mansion is set in 185 hectares of extensive parkland which includes a large lake (well known for its heronry), pasture land, woodland and traditional orchards. There are way-marked walks through the parkland and the Parkland Walk (3-mile circular route) or shorter optional routes, which includes the lake, are suggested. There are views of the Welsh mountains from the west side of the mansion.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities:

Map reference: SO 510638; Sat Nov/Post Code: HR6 0DW

Vehicular access: From the A49 road, 7 miles south of Ludlow and 3 miles north of Leominster, signposted ‘Berrington Hall’. Access is via a driveway towards the mansion and car parking area.

Access by foot: The Herefordshire Trail passes through Luston and Eye and a footpath from that runs along the edge of the Berrington Estate.

Other facilities: Refreshments in the tea-room and toilets in the mansion courtyard of Berrington Hall. Local hosterlries include: The Balance Inn, Luston and The Stockton Cross, Kimbolton

Maps: OS Explorer 203 & Landranger 149 OS Map View (1:25,000)


WHAT TO SEE

Resident: Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Goldcrest, Skylark, Jay, Stock Dove, Green Woodpecker, Goosander, Cormorant, Greylag Goose, Grey Wagtail, Raven, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk

Winter: Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush and occasionally Hawfinch feeding in orchards

Summer: House Martin, Swallow, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and occasionally Hobby

Spring/autumn: Grey Heron (esp. in spring at heronry in middle of lake), Wheatear (on passage) and Water Rail (occasionally in autumn)




2. Bircher Common


Overview
Bordered by the Croft woods to the west, Bircher Common is an extensive open area which can attract a variety of heathland and woodland birds. From the bracken-covered heath with gorse and small deciduous trees around the cottages and farms, the Common rises towards the north to open grazing, giving views across the county. Conifer plantations include Oaker Coppice enclosed by a ring of mature pine and beech trees. The mixed deciduous area near Highwood in the south-west includes old trees, notably Lime, Sweet Chestnut and Oak.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference
: SO 462 664 Sat Nav/Post Code: HR6 0BN (approx.)

Vehicular access: Directions from B4362 road. Main access points: (1) Welshman’s Lane, signposted Bircher Common. After cattle grid, most visitors take rough track to right and park on open common at SO 466 663. (2) For western side of Common, take lane signposted Highwood (and Croft Castle brown sign). Continue up lane and after cattle grid, take track to right. Some parking on left, with more parking space after about 150 metres.

Access by foot: Oaker Coppice is fenced and has four access points for walkers: gates on the east and west sides, and stiles at the south-east and north-east points.

Other facilities: No immediate facilities. Facilities available at Croft Castle for NT visitors. Yarpole Church has a shop and cafe, which does lunches Monday to Saturday.

Maps: Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheets 148 & 149 and Explorer Sheet 203.
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident: Bullfinch. Siskin, Linnet, Greenfinch. Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Long Tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Buzzard, Tawny Owl, Jay, Raven. Occasionally Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Red Kite.

Winter: Redwing, Fieldfare. Occasionally Brambling. Historic site for Great Grey Shrike, last recorded March 2011.

Summer: Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Stonechat, House Martin, Swallow, Cuckoo.

Spring/autumn: Occasionally Wheatear.

Resources:

Croft Castle
Yarpole Church and http://www.yarpole.com/index.php/yarpole-community-shop

Nearby sites:

The National Trust woodlands to Croft Castle and Croft Ambrey Fort adjoin the Common and contain fishpools. The Mortimer Trail passes across the north of the Common.




3. Bodenham Gravel Pits


Overview
114 acre site managed by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve. In an area formerly used for gravel extraction, which ceased in 1985, the pits gradually filled with water and were linked to form the largest body of fresh water in Herefordshire. In addition, there are traditional orchards, wet woodland and river and lakeside meadows. Good mix of land and water birds (170 species recorded). Also good for dragonflies and occasional otter sightings. There is public access to the eastern end of the site, the remainder being a wildlife refuge observable from the two public hides. Public car park at eastern end of site.

Directions: parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference: SO 525 512, Sat Nav/Post Code: HR1 3JT

Vehicular access: Situated on the south side of the C1121 which runs from the A49 to Bodenham village. The car park entrance is at the eastern end of the lake.

Other facilities: There are no refreshments and toilets on site, but both are available at Queenswood Country Park. A post office with a shop can be found in Bodenham Village. England’s Gate Inn http://www.englandsgate.co.uk/ and the Railway Inn at Hope Under Dinmore HR1 3JP are nearby.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 149 and Explorer Sheet 202
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Great crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Mandarin Duck, Water Rail, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Kestrel, Grey Heron, Little Egret.

Winter

Wigeon, Goldeneye, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Pochard, Gadwall, Goosander, Greylag Goose, Snipe, Fieldfare, Redwing, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Peregrine and occasional rarities.

Summer

Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow, Swift, Hobby, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Bullfinch, Oystercatcher.

Spring/autumn

Cuckoo, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Osprey and occasional rarities.

Resources:

http://www.queenswoodandbodenhamlake.org/bodenham-lake

Nearby sites:

Queenswood Country Park, Wellington Gravel Pits




5. Bringsty Common


Overview
The Common covers 89 hectares and rises to 154m. The landscape is varied with open sweeping slopes contrasting with almost hidden valleys and bowls. It is mainly covered by bracken, but there are large areas of woodland and grassland.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference: SO 700548
Sat Nav/Post Code: WR6 5TA

Vehicular access: The Common lies either side of the A44 about 3 miles east of Bromyard towards Worcester. When approaching from the Bromyard direction, parking is along the Brockhampton Estate wall on the left (SO 693547); at the top of the track signposted ‘the Live and Let Live’ on the right (SO698550); and on the left opposite Bringsty Café (SO704552).

Access by foot: Public access along a multitude of tracks and paths including part of the Worcestershire Way.

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets are available at:
The Live and Let Live, Bringsty Common
Bringsty Cafe

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 111 and Explorer Sheet 278
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Linnet, Bullfinch, Marsh Tit, Raven, Buzzard, Kestrel, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker (occasionally), Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Sparrowhawk and Nuthatch.

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll (often in flocks).

Summer

Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat , and Garden Warbler (all of these in some numbers).

Spring/autumn

Brambling (occasionally) and Nightingale (very occasionally).

Resources:

www.bringstycommon.com 3 walks of which the 90min/3mile stroll is recommended.

Nearby sites:

Brockhampton Estate (National Trust), Bromyard Downs and River Teme.




4. Bradnor Hill NT


Overview

This is the site of Kington Golf club, the highest course in England at 391 metres above sea level. This National Trust land overlooks Kington and has panoramic views of the Black Mountains to the south, Hergest Ridge to the south-west, Brecon Beacons to the west and Shropshire Hills to the north-east. The vegetation comprises dense gorse, bracken and some old Rowan and blackthorn trees, with very undulating fairways that are tightly-mown and merge into the surrounding bracken and gorse.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities

Map reference: SO 282584 (highest Point); parking at SO 286582

Sat Nav/Post code: HR5 3NN

Vehicular access: From A44 road on outskirts of Kington, take B4355 towards Titley, follow the sign for “Bradnor Golf Course” and turn left after 100 metres on to Barton Lone, follow this narrow lane for nearly 1 km passing the Club House on the left.

Access by foot: The Offa’s Dyke Path passes by the Golf Club House.

Other facilities: Refreshments are available at Kington Golf Club House (https://www.kingtongolf.co.uk/the-club/clubhouse/) or at The Cattle Shed, Penrhos Court, Lyonshall Kington HR5 3LH.

Maps: OS Explorer 201 & Landranger 148
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Stonechat, Linnet and Yellowhammer

Winter

Grey Plover, Fieldfare, Redwing – and rarely Snow Bunting (in 2019) and Dotterel (in 2011)

Summer

Redstart, Wheatear, Swallow, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Kestrel, Red Kite – and rarely Chough (in 2018) and Cream-coloured Courser (in 2012)

Spring/autumn

Wheatear and Ring Ouzel (both on passage)

Resources:

https://www.kingtongolf.co.uk/ Overview of Bradnor Hill golf course site.

https://www.britainexpress.com/counties/hereford/kington.htm History of Kington town.

http://www.kingtontourist.info/ Visitor information for Kington and the surrounding countryside.

Nearby sites:

Hergest Ridge, Titley Pool, Wapley Hill, The Sturts Nature Reserve (Kinnersley)

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7. Brockhall Gravel Pits


Overview
Brockhall Gravel Pits, or Stretton Sugwas Sand and Gravel Quarry as it used to be known, is one of Herefordshire’s premier wetland sites offering reasonable access to visitors. It is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall who have allowed access around the perimeter on a `Permissive Footpath basis` and permission has also been granted to an angling club which is to be confined to the deep water only (the eastern end). Water levels have receded over recent years and vegetation has increased, however it is still a magnet for good numbers of waterfowl and waders on passage.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 453 423
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR4 7QD

Vehicular access: There is no vehicular access onto the site, but cars can be parked on the layby at Sugwas Pool on the left hand side of the A438 travelling west.

Access by foot: Cross the road taking care, as it is often busy, and walk westward along the footpath, bear right onto a lane and take the footpath on RH side between two houses. Follow the footpath through some trees and two small gates which will bring you to the meadow with the gravel pits directly in front.

Other facilities: The nearest site for refreshments and toilet is Wyevale Garden Centre at Kings Acre SO 473 415 HR4 OSE also the village shop and takeway outlets at Credenhill village SO 448 432.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 149 and Pathfinder Series Sheet SO 44/54
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

One of the most important sites in the County for passage waders and wildfowl.

Resident

Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan Canada Goose, Green Woodpecker, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Bullfinch

Winter

Occasional Pintail and Shoveler, Widgeon, Teal, Gadwall, occasional Pochard, Fieldfare, Redwing, Siskin, Redpoll, Goosander, Grey Heron, Lapwing and the first county records in 2012 for Great White Egret and in 2016 for Spoonbill

Summer

Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler

Spring/autumn

Little Gull often seen, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Ruff, occasional Greenshank, Whimbrel and Black-tailed Godwit and very rarely Temminck’s Stint and Red-necked Phalarope and occasional Black-necked Grebe

Resources:

The Duchy of Cornwall contact details: New Barn, Dewsall, Hereford. HR2 8DA E-Mail DCurtis@duchyofcornwall.gov.uk

Nearby sites:

Kenchester Pools SO 442 425 and SO435 426, National Trust The Weir Gardens Kenchester HR4 7QF, HWT Wyevale Wood Breinton SO472 407




6. Brockhampton NT


Overview
This estate is made up of 690 hectares of mixed woodland and open parkland, working farms and a picturesque medieval manor house. In the valley are streams, orchards and meadows, while the high ground offers breathtaking views over surrounding countryside to the Clee Hills, Cotswolds and Malvern Hills. The Orchard Walk (2.5 miles) or Parkland Walk (3 miles) are suggested.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 688559
Sat Nav/Post Code: WR6 5Tb

Vehicular access: From the Worcester road (A44), 2 miles east of Bromyard, signposted ‘Brockhampton Estate’. Once on the Estate proceed to welcome kiosk and then follow signs to Lower Brockhampton for manor house and walks.

Access by foot: The Herefordshire Trail passes through Bromyard, from here access is via roads and tracks. Alternatively, a footpath from The Royal Oak pub on the Bromyard Downs leads on to the Estate.

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets in the courtyard at Lower Brockhampton and in the Old Apple Store tearoom. Local hostelries include:
The Royal Oak, Bromyard Downs (http://www.royaloakbromyard.com/) and
The Live & Let live, Bringsty (http://www.liveandletlive-bringsty.co.uk/).

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 202 & Landranger 149
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Goldcrest, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Jay, Stock Dove, Green Woodpecker, Moorhen, Grey Wagtail, Raven, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk.

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush and occasionally Hawfinch feeding in orchards

Summer

House Martin, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-legged Partridge and occasionally Hobby

Spring/autumn

Wheatear as a passage species

Resources:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brockhampton-estate Overview and visitor details for this National Trust site.

https://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=338 and https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000875 History of this 14th century moated manor house guarded by a timber-framed gatehouse. There is also a ruined chapel in the grounds and an extensive system of trails throughout the estate.

Nearby sites:

Bringsty Common, Mathon Gravel Pits




8. Bunch of Carrots, River Wye


Overview

The Bunch of Carrots pub and associated car park is the focal point for following an adjacent loop of the true left bank of the River Wye. The flood barrier here affords the luxury of elevated linear viewing both upstream and downstream for perhaps half a mile in either direction. There are fine views westwards over the low-lying permanent pastures of Sink Green Farm and on to Dinedor Hill. Eastward looking towards Hampton Bishop there is varied habitat comprising garden, orchard and small pastures.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities

Map reference: SO 551 381
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR1 4JR

Vehicular access: The riverside pub and car park are ideally situated halfway between the eastern outskirts of Hereford and Moridford on the B4224. There is ample parking space and responsible users are generally welcome whether or not the pub’s facilities are used.

Access by foot: The Wye Valley Walk hugs the river from the flood barrier north west to Hereford (1.5 miles to Hampton Park) and downstream via picturesque meanders three miles to Mordiford. On the opposite (right) bank an alternative public footpath follows the river downstream from the new footbridge near the Hereford sewage farm (S) 521 392) to the B4399 just south of Sink Green Farm.

Other facilities: A wide range of refreshments is available at the Bunch of Carrots (www.bunch-of-carrots.co.uk) throughout the day.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 149 and Explorer Sheet 189
Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see

The area reviewed comprises about half a mile of flood barrier path either side of the Bunch of Carrots pub, with a wide range of species to be seen.

Resident

Canada Goose (groups commonly counted on opposite bank), Mallard, Moorhen, Heron, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Mistle Thrush, great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Stock Dove, Kingfisher.

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare, Goosander, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Cormorant, Green Sandpiper (occasional).

Summer

Curlew (March to July – 1 or 2 pairs breeding at Sink Green Farm), Sand Martin (colony on opposite bank) and other hirundines, Mandarin (between here and Mordiford), Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler.

Spring/autumn

Common Sandpiper, Willow Warbler, Cuckoo, Wheatear (occasional).

Resources

Wye Valley Walk: www.wyevalleywalk.org

Nearby sites

Hampton Meadow HWT, Haugh Wood, Lower Lugg and confluence with River Wye, Dinedor Iron Age Camp (SO 522 363).




9. Coneygree Wood Ledbury


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




10. Coppett Hill


Overview
This is the landmark hill which forms the classic view from the Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint and is surrounded by a major meander of the river Wye. Most of the hill is a Local Nature Reserve of over 100 hectares managed by the Coppett Hill Trust (with assistance from HWT). The full walk up to the trig point, across the ridge and back alongside the river is 8km/4 hours. Views of Brecon Beacons and Malvern Hills from trig point.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 576 189
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR9 6JF (approx.)

Vehicular access: From B4229 near Goodrich head into the village signed Goodrich Castle. Take the first right turn after Goodrich primary school towards Welsh Bicknor. After 300m up hill, limited parking on road-side near to green triangle/island. Or park at the castle (fee) and walk to map ref.

Access by foot: Public access from various points (see below).

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets are available at:
The Hostelrie, Goodrich or
Goodrich Castle:

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer 189 & Landranger 162
OS Map View (1:25,000)

Recommended birding walk
From the parking spot by the triangle, go up the road to the right and immediately take steps on the left up into the woods. Follow this (quite steep) path up to trig point and folly then go along the ridge and down through the woods to the river just below Coldwell Rocks where the Symonds Yat peregrines nest. Turn right and follow the river then through a couple of gates. Stay on the track and then go right into the Nature Reserve at a stile before the farm cottages. Follow path through woods which will (eventually) lead back to the parking spot.

What to see:

Resident

Mandarin, Linnet, Kingfisher, Treecreeper, Raven, Buzzard, Peregrine, Goosander, Goldcrest.

Also Goshawk and Red Kite (source RSPB sightings from Yat Rock)

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Goosander + big Cormorant roost.

Summer

Redstart and Tree Pipit, also Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler.

Spring/autumn

Stonechat, Whitethroat, Grey Wagtail.

Resources:

Local information about Coppett Hill Trust and walks on the hill. On sale at Goodrich Castle shop.

Nearby sites:

Hartleton Lakes, Wilton River Wye, Garway Hill, Sellack River Wye




11. Credenhill Park Wood


Overview
Credenhill Park Wood is a 90.36ha (235 acre) ancient woodland site owned by the Woodland Trust. It occupies a prominent place in the landscape on steep slopes and comprises of mixed conifers and hardwoods with hazel elder and bramble understory. A scheduled ancient monument crowns the summit with ramparts roughly following the 600 ft contour to form an iron age hill fort of around 20 ha in size. Part of the summit has been clear felled giving good panoramic views.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference to car park:
SO 455:440

Vehicular access: The car park is located off the Credenhill to Tillington road on the LH side (travelling NE) approx. 200 yards from the junction with the A 480 in Credenhill village, or if approaching from the Bell Inn Tillington, one mile on RH side. This is the only official access to the site.

Access by foot: A good hardcore track leads from the car park up into the wood and can be stayed on for a leisurely walk around the perimeter (about one hour) or can be branched off onto one of the many smaller tracks eventually leading onto the ramparts.

Other facilities: There are no facilities on site, the nearest is the Bell Inn public house at Tillington HR4 8LE approx. 1 mile NE where refreshments can be bought, or there is a good shop and food outlets at Credenhill village 2/3 mile SE.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 149 and Pathfinder series SO44/54
OS Map View (1:25,000

What to see:

Resident

Bullfinch, Marsh Tit, Raven, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Song Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker (occasionally), Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Goldfinch Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Tawny Owl, Jay.

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare, Woodcock (occasionally).

Summer

Tree Pipit, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Linnet.

Spring/autumn

Spotted Flycatcher, Stonechat, Redstart.

Resources:

www.woodland-trust.org.uk

Nearby sites:

Brockhall GP, Kenchester Pools, Wyevale Wood HWT and The Weir Gardens NT.




12. Croft Ambrey Fort


Overview

Croft Ambrey is a British Iron Age hill fort in North Herefordshire, 10 km north of Leominster, and located on high ground within the Croft Castle estate. Take the Croft Ambrey Walk (3 miles) from Croft Castle (SO 451656) – a circuit exploring ancient trees and the spectacular ramparts of this Iron Age hillfort and encompassing farm and forestry tracks, field paths and pasture.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities

Map reference: SO 445 668 Sat Nav/Post Code: HR6 0BL

Vehicular access: Entrance to Croft Castle is off the B4362, turning north at Cock Gate between Bircher and Mortimer’s Cross; the property is signposted from the A49 between Ludlow and Leominster, and from the A4110 at Mortimer’s Cross.

Access by foot: The Mortimer Trail waymarked long-distance footpath passes adjacent to the site; the site can also be accessed via footpaths from Bircher Common (to the north-east).

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets available in the tearoom at Croft Castle or at The Bell in Yarpole
Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer 203 & Landranger 149

What to see:

Resident

Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Bullfinch, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Treecreeper, Jay, Raven, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and Goshawk

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare, Siskin, Brambling and occasionally Crossbill and Woodcock

Summer

Tree Pipit, Redstart, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and occasionally Wood Warbler

Spring/autumn

Wheatear on passage

Resources:

Overview and walk details for this National Trust hill fort site.
Scheduled monument designation details of this hill fort.
History of this major hill fort and medieval fortification.

Nearby sites:

Croft Castle, Bircher Common, Berrington Hall, Shobdon Court Pools, Wigmore Rolls, Wapley Hill

Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




13. Croft Castle


Overview

Croft Castle sits deep in the heart of North Herefordshire countryside surrounded by 600 hectares of historic woodland, farm and parkland. The parkland includes magnificent ancient oak, chestnut and hawthorn trees as well as stunning views of the castle and surrounding countryside. Ancient Tree Walk (1.5 miles) or a combined Carriage Ride/Fishpool Valley Walk (2.5 miles) are suggested.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities

Map reference: SO 451 656

Sat Nav/Post Code: HR6 0BL

Vehicular access: Entrance is off the B4362, turning north at Cock Gate between Bircher and Mortimer’s Cross; the property is signposted from the A49 between Ludlow and Leominster, and from the A4110 at Mortimer’s Cross.

Access by foot: The Mortimer Trail runs along the upland forest ridge on the northern edge of the Croft Estate. The site can also be accessed via footpaths from Bircher Common (to the north-east) and Lucton (to the south-west).

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets are available in the tearoom at Croft Castle or at The Bell at Yarpole.

Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer 203 & Landranger 149.

What to see:

Resident

Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Jay, Stock Dove, Green Woodpecker, Mandarin Duck, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Wagtail, Raven and Sparrowhawk

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Siskin and Brambling

Summer

House Martin, Swallow, Swift, Willow Warbler, Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher

Spring/autumn

Wheatear on passage

Resources:

Overview and visitor details for this National Trust site.

History of Croft Castle including the original 11th century castle and the involvement of the Croft family through the centuries.

Some local area detail and interesting factual information.

Nearby sites:

Croft Ambrey, Bircher Common, Berrington Hall, Shobdon Court Pools, Wigmore Rolls, High Vinnals

Maps:
OS Map View (1:25,000)




14. Eastnor Deer Park


Overview
Parkland comprising mainly mature Oaks, good for hole nesting birds, with a stream running through which has created four large ponds.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 745 378
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR8 1RN (for Eastnor Castle)

Vehicular access: Park opposite castle gates on hard standing, or if gates to the Park
are open, inside the gates.

Access by foot: Almost always open, very occasionally closed for deer management (4/5 days a year only).

Other facilities: Nothing on site, all available nearby in Ledbury.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 150 and Explorer Sheet 190.
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Mallard, Moorhen, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Green Woodpecker, Great spotted Woodpecker, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard, Finches, Tits, Goldcrest. Occasionally Red Kite.

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare. Occasionally Mute Swan, Cormorant, Mandarin, Greylag Goose

Summer

Redstart, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, House Martin, Swallow.

Resources:

Details of the Deer Park.

Nearby sites:

Hollybush; Castlemorton Common; Eastnor Castle lake and grounds when the castle is open (entrance fee payable); Coneygree Wood for Crossbill and Hawfinch. It is possible to walk from the Deer Park to Hollybush, via Eastnor Monument, but this walk is steep – details of the walk




15. Ewyas Harold Common


More site information will be available in due course




16. Garway Hill


Overview
Garway Hill is a Common covering 85 hectares, rising to a height of nearly 1200 ft largely covered by bracken 87%. There is a good variety of bird habitat including patches of gorse, short turf, areas of trees and grassland, wetter areas around out flowing springs and an area of more mature trees on its western edge.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 443245
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR2 8RU (Garway Hill Car Park)

Vehicular access: Via B4521 at Broad Oak then through Garway village to Garway Hill. Parking restricted to a few vehicles. Other entry points are from White Rocks and Cherry Orchards.

Access by foot: Public access to open ground with a multitude of tracks and paths, including part of the Herefordshire Trail.

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets are available at:
The Garway Moon Inn, Garway Common

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer 189 & Landranger 161
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Skylark, Meadow Pipit (common in open areas), Linnet, Yellowhammer and occasional Stonechat (on the gorse), Buzzard and occasional Raven and Red Kite

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush and on the edges, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll, plus wintering Woodcock and Snipe

Summer

Tree Pipit and Redstart on the woodland edges, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, hirundines. Hobby and Peregrine (occasionally)

Spring/autumn

Wheatear is regular on spring passage along with, in recent years, Ring Ouzel, Golden Plover and sightings of a single Wryneck, Hawfinch and a wayward and first for Herefordshire Shore Lark.

Resources:

Detailed summary of the flora and fauna, history and preservation of Garway Hill.

with many photographs of and from Garway Hill.

http://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MjNfNTUwNQ==Garway Hill circular walk.

Nearby sites:

Wilton, River Wye; Sellack, River Wye; Coppet Hill; Welsh Newton and Ewyas Harold Common




17. Hartleton Lakes


Overview
There are two man-made lakes, formed in 1971, at Hartleton with a causeway separating the two stretches of water. The upper lake has a small reedbed with an island and is surrounded by trees and grassland. The lower lake also has an island and this lake is used by PGL the leisure company during the summer months for canoeing and kayaking, although disturbance is minimal. Fishing takes place on both lakes all year round.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 641256
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR9 7UA

Vehicular access: Access is off the B4224 road from Bromsash to Crow Hill follow the track adjacent to the South Herefordshire Golf Club entrance there is a parking area before the lower lake. Please do not drive around the lakes as this is a private road.

Access by foot: There is a public footpath running from the parking area through to the southern end of the upper lake; this does ensure close views of the lakes whilst walking the footpath.

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets are available at:
Moody Cow public house at Crow Hill
Café in Ross Garden Store:

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer Sheet OL14 and OS Landranger 162
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Mallard, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, Song Thrush, Nuthatch, Jay and Bullfinch.

Winter

Goosander, Fieldfare, Redwing and Siskin.

Summer

Swallow, House Martin, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting.

Spring/autumn

Common Sandpiper, Sedge Warbler and Garden Warbler.

Resources:

Ross-on-Wye Ramblers

Nearby sites:

River Wye John Kyrle Walk at Ross-on-Wye: and May Hill (National Trust).




18. Haugh Wood


Overview

Haugh Wood is a mixed woodland of nearly 350 hectares (850 acres) managed by the Forestry Commission. Though there is little water or wetland habitat, a total of 95 bird species have been reported at Haugh Wood, including the elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. It is also a nationally important site for butterflies and moths with over 600 species reported, and hence designated as a SSSI. The name Haugh, pronounced “hoff” is derived from the name of a Saxon owner, which indicates that this is the site of an ancient wood.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities

Open daily during daylight hours. No fee.

Map reference: SO 593 365 (car park)
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR1 4LW (car park)

Vehicular access: From Mordiford Village, turn off the B4224 either just before or just after The Moon Inn depending on your travelling direction, signposted Haugh Wood and Woolhope. Travel for 1 mile until you reach the car park on the left. If coming from Woolhope, head west from the Crown Inn towards The Forge, turn right onto The Forge, continue onto Martins Cl for 1.3 miles to Car Park on right.

Access by foot: Public access to 3 trails from the car park which are mainly hard forest tracks with gentle slopes, and include a number of information boards. Access to a 4th track requires crossing over the road opposite the car park. Picnic tables are sited in the car parking area.

Other facilities: There are no facilities on site, but The Moon Inn, Mordiford village is open daily. In Woolhope The Crown Inn is open from 12 noon daily, and The Butchers Arms open from 11:30 except Mondays. Maps: Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 149 and Explorer Sheet 189.

What to see

Resident

Bullfinch, Buzzard, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (if lucky!), Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Raven, Treecreeper, Wren and other typical woodland species

Winter

Brambling, Common Crossbill, Fieldfare, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet, Redwing, Siskin and other resident species

Summer

Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, House Martin, Swallow, Tree Pipit, Wood Warbler and other resident species

Spring/autumn

Redstart, Song Thrush, Willow Warbler, Woodcock, Spotted Flycatcher

Resources

For details of the Butterfly trail and species recorded see Joan’s Hill Farm Nature Reserve SO 590 376, at the northern edge of Haugh Wood is owned by Plantlife and is rich in wildflowers, particularly from late April to July

Nearby sites

Holme Lacy, River Wye SO 567 347 Wessington Wood and Pasture Nature Reserve, HWT Reserve, HR1 4QJ

Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




19. Hergest Ridge


Overview
Hergest Ridge is an upland area rising to 364m21. with wide views all around. Wooded areas on the lower slopes with open moorland higher up. A steady uphill walk onto the ridge, with some steeper sections on the approaches at each side.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference: SO 281 568
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR5 3EG (Hergest Croft Gardens)

Vehicular access: Take the A44 Kington bypass westwards, then turn left towards Hergest Croft Gardens. After a few hundred yards turn right onto Ridgebourne Road towards Hergest Croft and continue to the end of the lane to park on the verge. Open at all times.

Access by foot: Either walk from the gate at the end of Ridgebourne Road straight up to the old racecourse and the Monkey Puzzle trees or take the track near the end of Ridgebourne Road through two sets of gates, then keep right towards the woodland. Continue through the wood and join a farm track which eventually joins the lane going uphill to the ridge. Alternatively, from the Whet Stone follow a track leading downhill on the Hanter Hill side of the Ridge to a stand of conifers, then turn right and steeply downhill to a farm track which eventually leads to the woodland alongside Ridgebourne Road. There are several routes back to the road from here.

Other facilities: Kington Town centre has the usual facilities, and Hergest Croft Gardens has a restaurant and toilets – when open, an admission charge applies.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 148 & Explorer Sheet 201
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Buzzard, Raven, Coal Tit, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a wide range of typical woodland and farmland/upland birds.

Winter

Redwing and other resident species.

Summer

Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Swift, Swallow, Wheatear, Redstart, Buzzard, Raven, Red Kite, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Mistle Thrush, Starling, Long Tailed Tit and Grey Heron.

Spring/autumn

Stonechat, Reed Bunting, Wood Warbler, Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher along with many summer and resident species.

Resources:

http://www.hergest.co.uk/he/visitor-information and https://www.walkingbritain.co.uk/walk-3300-introduction

Nearby sites:

Bradnor Hill (SO 282 584) and Titley Pool (SO 325 595).




20. High Vinnals


Overview
High Vinnalls is just a small part of a large and varied forest. The ascent is mostly through coniferous forest but there is an interesting area of more open regrowth/birch scrub to the east of the top and below that an area of open common which is a mass of bluebells in May. There are wonderful views from the top itself.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference
: SO 474 731
Sat Nav/Post Code: SY8 2HF

Vehicular access: There is a large car park at SO 474 731 off the minor road linking Ludlow with Wigmore. It is on the left hand side about three miles SW of Ludlow, and is signed.

Access by foot: From the car park there is a marked trail, the Vinnalls Loop, which takes in the summit. The full route is over 3 miles, can be very muddy in places, and involves a certain amount of up and down. A shorter option is to take the trail in a clockwise direction as far as the top less than a mile away (with 130m of ascent) and return the same way. For this, ignore the right turn for the Vinnalls Loop/Easy Access Trail. Instead just before the forest road meets a T-junction (SO 475 727) follow the marked Vinnalls Loop straight ahead. From the summit you can head east for about 500m or so to explore the scrubby area of regrowth and the open common. Many variations of route are possible using forest roads and other paths as there is open access to most of this part of the Mortimer Forest. However restrictions may be in place at times due to timber operations. A map is advisable.

Other facilities: The car park has a few picnic benches and there are a number of marked trails. Ludlow is only a few miles away with all facilities.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 137 and Explorer Sheet 203
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Common and less common birds of coniferous and mixed woodland, scrub, forest clearings and open common. It can be a fruitful place to look for Common Crossbill, particularly in winter. The summit provides a good viewpoint to scan for Goshawk in early spring when they may be displaying.

Resident

All the common resident woodland birds. Of particular interest may be Marsh and Willow Tit; Woodcock; Siskin; Bullfinch; Buzzard; Jay; Raven; Goshawk (within the wider area); and Common Crossbill (depending on cone crop). Occasional birds include Green Woodpecker and Kestrel.

Winter

Large flocks of Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and Goldfinches may be seen. Common Crossbill is more likely to be spotted than in the summer. Mixed tit flocks, with high numbers of coal tit and goldcrest, and with perhaps Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker joining in, rove the forest. A Great Grey Shrike was seen for a few years in late winter/early spring and late autumn/early winter, although there have been no sightings since 2013.

Summer

In the breeding season additional birds include Chiffchaff; Willow Warbler; Whitethroat; Tree Pipit; Cuckoo; Blackcap; Garden Warbler; Yellowhammer; Linnet; and Skylark. A dusk walk along the forest roads may give a glimpse of a roding Woodcock. The possibility of Spotted Flycatcher – perhaps near the car park.

Spring/autumn

In addition other birds may turn up on passage. Meadow Pipit flocks sometimes stop off on the common area, as do Stonechat and, very occasionally, Wheatear. Large flocks of Swallow and House Martin can gather to feed and roost.

Resources:

A guide to all the trails in Mortimer Forest.
A booklet “The Life & Times of Mortimer Forest in a nutshell” was produced by West Midlands Butterfly Conservation in 2015 and may still be available. It has sections on geology, botany, history, butterflies and moths, mammals and birds:

Nearby sites:

Other areas of the forest may be better for seeing Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. The oak woodland near Black Pool Car Park (SO 497717 off the B4361) is a good place to start. High Vinnalls can be accessed from this car park too.




21. Holme Lacy, River Wye


Overview
The area is dominated by a gentle stretch of the meandering River Wye bordered by farmland both grazing and arable and is mainly confined to its west bank only.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 567 347
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR2 6LX

Vehicular access: Take B4399 through Holme Lacy village, take a turning opposite the Agricultural College signposted to Ballingham and after 300 metres take a left turn signposted to Holme Lacy Church.

Access by foot: From the church follow the footpath in a southerly direction to the river. Proceed upstream for approximately one mile until a footpath is reached at SO 564 350, stay on the footpath until it joins the road at SO 559 351 and here follow the road back to the church.

Other facilities: There are no facilities on site, but The Moon Inn Mordiford village is open daily and just over three miles from Holme Lacy Church.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 149 and Explorer Sheet 189
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Mute Swan, Mallard, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Moorhen, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel, Goldcrest, Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Mistle Thrush, Grey Wagtail, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.

Winter

Common Snipe, Raven, Fieldfare, Redwing, Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Siskin.

Summer

Cuckoo, Hobby, Swallow, House Martin, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Yellow Wagtail.

Spring/autumn

Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Osprey, Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Redstart and Wheatear.

Resources:

Historical information about Holme Lacy Church and the immediate surroundings

Nearby sites:

Haugh Wood (SO 592 365)




22. Kenchester Pools


Overview
A series of six ‘kettle hole’ ponds formed as a result of blocks of ice calving from glaciers and becoming submerged in the sediment on the outwash plain. The ponds are surrounded by grazed pasture and water levels vary during the season, but they provide valuable habitat for waterbirds and waders throughout the year.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 442425 and SO 435426
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR4 7QJ

Vehicular access: Driving west on A438 from Hereford, take the first right-hand turn after Swainshill, signposted for Credenhill and Bishopstone. The most accessible pond is 500 metres on the left-hand side, limited parking on the roadside near a gate.

Access by foot: One other pond is accessible (the others have no public access) by walking south on a footpath from the road at SO 435428, parking near Lady Southampton Chapel at Kenchester.

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets are available at:
Portway Inn, Staunton on Wye, HR4 7NH
Oakchurch Farm Shop, Staunton on Wye, HR4 7NH:

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer 202 & Landranger 149
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Range of waterbirds, waders & gulls, also Grey Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Little Owl, Raven.

Winter

Gadwall, Shoveler, Shelduck, Pochard, Lapwing and occasionally Snipe.

Summer

Hirundines, Redstart, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Common Sandpiper, occasionally Green Sandpiper and Mediterranean Gull.

Spring/autumn

Wheatear and Ring Ouzel on passage, Oystercatcher, Curlew.

Resources:

Information about ‘Magnis’ Roman town, now a scheduled ancient monument nearby.

The Weir Garden, a National Trust property nearby.

Nearby sites:

Brockhall Gravel Pits, Credenhill Park Wood, Letton Lakes, The Sturts HWT Kinnersley.




23. Leintwardine, River Teme


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




24. Leominster By-pass


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




25. Letton Lakes


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




26. Lower Lugg Meadows & Tidnor


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




27. Lyepole, River Lugg


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




28. Mary Knoll Valley


Overview
A deep valley within the Mortimer Forest surrounded by areas of mature deciduous woodland, mature conifer plantations and some new growth where previous felling has taken place. Below the car park there is an area of very open woodland with birch, beech and some old oaks, which is worth exploring. The valley has Silver-washed Fritillary and Wood White butterflies in season and the woodland is good for summer migrants.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 497717
Sat Nav/Post Code: SY8 4ED

Vehicular access: There is a Car Park at Black Pool (SO 497 717), accessed from the B4361. It is signed. A lay-by a bit further NE could be used if choosing the alternative level route.

Access by foot: Take the unsigned small path from the boulders at the NE of the car park down into the open woodland and follow it as it curves leftwards, climbing with oak wood on the right. At a wide track turn right and descend to Mary Knoll Valley. Turn left and take the forest road on the SW side of the valley, or follow a Climbing Jack waymark to cross the stream on a muddy path and ascend to a cottage. Then follow a more attractive bridleway upstream on that side. After 700m a track allows you to cross back to the forest road. A map is advisable if exploring further. Restrictions may be in place at times due to timber operations. An alternative level route to the valley involves walking NE along the B4361, no pavement, to access the start of the forest road.

Other facilities: The car park has picnic benches and waymarked trails. Ludlow is only a couple of miles away and has all facilities.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 137 and Explorer Sheet 203
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Common and less common woodland birds, with the possibility of Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. The open woodland near the car park and the oak wood further on might yield a sighting of these species in the breeding season.

Resident

All the common resident woodland birds. Marsh and Willow Tit; Buzzard; Goshawk (in the wider area); Raven; Sparrowhawk; Woodcock; Tawny Owl; Bullfinch; Lesser Redpoll; Siskin; occasionally Common Crossbill (depending on cone crop). On odd occasions the small pool may host Grey Heron and Mallard.

Winter

Lesser Redpoll and Siskin form flocks, often with Goldfinch, and are easier to see. Occasionally Brambling appear. Mixed tit flocks wander the area, with Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker joining them. The Woodcock population may increase.

Summer

In the breeding season, Redstart; Pied Flycatcher; Wood Warbler; occasionally Spotted Flycatcher; Blackcap; Garden Warbler; Willow Warbler; Chiffchaff; Whitethroat; Tree Pipit; Stock Dove; and sometimes Cuckoo.

Spring/autumn

Additional Siskin/Redpoll/Goldfinch flocks may be passing through.

Resources:

A booklet “The Life & Times of Mortimer Forest in a nutshell” was produced by West Midlands Butterfly Conservation in 2015 and may still be available. It has sections on geology, botany, history, butterflies and moths, mammals and birds:

A map of the trails

Nearby sites:

High Vinnalls. It is possible to combine the two sites either by taking the Climbing Jack trail (nine miles with much ascent and descent) or continuing to walk along the forest road to the High Vinnalls car park.




29.  Mathon Gravel Pits


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




30. Merbach Hill


Overview
A spectacularly positioned Common extending to 66 hectares, rising to 318 m altitude (trig point at SO 304447) and situated up above the Wye valley, with glorious views to Hay Bluff and the Black Mountains to the south, the Welsh Hills to the west, Clee Hill to the north and the Malvern Hills to the east. The Common is mostly rough gorse, fern, scrub and grassland, and is a little haven for butterflies.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 310440
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR3 6DA

Vehicular access: From B4352 at Bredwardine take the turn up Pentre Lane (or from B4348 at Dorstone take the turn up Dorstone Hill) and follow signs along minor roads for Arthur’s Stone (monument). Parking on roadside verge 1.3 km north-west of the monument near a right-hand corner (SO 310440).

Access by foot: Public access along Herefordshire Trail (from parking point) or along the Wye Valley Walk between Bredwardine and Hay-on-Wye.

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets are available at:
The Red Lion Hotel, Bredwardine:
The Pandy Inn, Dorstone

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer 201 & Landranger 149
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Bullfinch, Marsh Tit, Raven, Buzzard and increasingly Red Kite soaring overhead.

Winter

Redwing, Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush feeding on rowan and hawthorn trees.

Summer

Redstart and Tree Pipit, also Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and hirundines. Sparrowhawk and Goshawk (occasionally).

Spring/autumn

Wheatear is a regular spring and autumn passage species.

Resources:

– Local information including the Merbach Common Project.

A circular walk taking in Arthur Stone and Merbach Hill with spectacular views of the Hereford stretch of the River Wye as it snakes across the flood-plain.

– A walk over Merbach Hill Common following the Herefordshire Trail and Wye Valley Walk.

Nearby sites:

Winforton, River Wye; Letton Lakes, The Sturts HWT, Kinnersley, Hergest Ridge, Bradnor Hill NT, Olchon Valley.




31. Midsummer Hill & Hollybush


Overview
Midsummer Hill is situated in the range of Malvern Hills that runs north-south along the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border. It lies to the north of the hamlet of Hollybush and it is the site of the most complex and unusual Iron Age hill forts in Herefordshire. The area is owned by the National Trust and Eastnor Estate. A circular walk of Midsummer Hill involves moderate gradients but is only about 2.5 miles (1.5hrs). The prehistoric (substantially Iron Age) Hill fort comprising a hill top enclosure with a single circuit of bank and ditch. The habitat comprises mixed deciduous wood: mainly ash, with hawthorn, sycamore, oak, elder and yew, suited to both many resident and migrant bird species.

Exploration of the area can be extended by a further circular walk, partly crossing the border into Worcestershire, around Ragged Stone Hill to the south of Hollybush. The habitat is similar but also includes farmland. The walk is similar in distance but has fewer gradients.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
From Ledbury on the A438, passing through Eastnor, the car park belonging to the Eastnor Castle Company is reached on the left just west of Hollybush. There is a bus service serving the area. The car park and walking trails are permanently open.
Map reference: SO 756 369
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR8 1ET

Vehicular access: Car parking is available close to the site providing good access on foot to both circular routes. None beyond the car park.

Access by foot: from the car park a path is taken north leading to the east of Midsummer Hill, past a flooded disused quarry, skirting woodland on to Hollybush Hill, one of twin summits of Midsummer Hill. Turning west Eastnor Castle can be seen and with good visibility there are far reaching views west to the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons, south to the Forest of Dean, east to the Cotswolds and North to the Clee Hills. From the summit, head south passing by a shelter to pick up a well-walked path down through the fort’s corrugated ramparts. Here you’ll enter woods that fall gently down to the car park.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 150 and Explorer Sheet 190
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

If you are recording birds in the area please make sure you identify the location as within Herefordshire or Worcestershire. This should not present a problem with respect to the Midsummer Hill walk to the north which is all within the county of Herefordshire, but the walk to the south is virtually bisected north to south by the county border.

In recent years the area is under recorded and the bird list below, mainly representing species currently encountered (compiled from HOC records), is almost certainly incomplete.

Resident

Mallard, Pheasant, Buzzard, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Peregrine, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit (recorded sporadically), Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch

Winter

Fieldfare, Redwing, Stonechat

Summer

Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Tree Pipit

Pied Flycatcher has bred at the site in the past and featured in nestbox schemes and ringing activities through the 1990s. Cuckoo has also been recorded infrequently, although not in recent years.

Resources:

- Malvern-Hills-Hollybush-Walk-Trail - provides a map and directions of the trail of the two circular walks in the form of a figure of eight taking in Midsummer Hill to the north and Raggedstone Hill and Whiteleaved Oak to the south.

Nearby sites:

Eastnor Deer Park and Castlemorton Common (The latter is a short drive to the east of Hollybush in Worcestershire but is a good site in winter for Snipe and possible Jack Snipe).




32. Moccas Hill Wood


Overview

This extensive hillside bordering the south of Moccas Park has been acquired by Natural England and the Woodland Trust and was opened to the public in 2016. It has spectacular views of the Golden Valley, the Black Mountains, and to the north across the river Wye. It also has archeological and historical features marked on an information board at the entrance. There are forest roads, woodland rides and a network of paths. A herd of cattle graze out of bird breeding season. The habitat comprises mixed woodland, Broom, Gorse and Fern. Young Beech, Oak, Horse and Spanish Chestnut trees (grown from seed from Moccas Park) have been and are continuing to be planted as an ongoing scheme. Rowan and Birch are also present.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities

Map reference: SO 332424 (named as Woodbury Hill Wood on previous maps)

Sat Nav/Post Code: HR3 6AU

Vehicular Access: Up a steep road (Pentre Lane) between Bredwardine (B4352) and Dorstone Hill. The wood is signed along a fenced track across a field to a cattle grid. A car park on the right has space for 20 cars.

Access by foot: Public access along Herefordshire Trail to Arthur Stone ancient monument (at SO 319412) and then 1 km along a minor road.

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets are available at The Red Lion Hotel, Bredwardine or The Pandy Inn, Dorstone (open evenings only).

Maps: Ordnance Survey Maps Explorer OL13 and Landranger 149.
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Buzzard, Red Kite, Raven, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker, Linnet, Chaffinch, Mistle Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Marsh Tit and Blackcap

Spring

Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Wheatear

Summer

Pied Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Whitethroat, Hobby and Stonechat

Of interest

Brown Hare, Fallow Deer and Adders can be seen in this area

Butterflies/moths - Large Skipper, Humming Bird Hawk Moth, Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Peacock

Resources:

Moccas Hill Wood – Moccas Park National Nature Reserve, published by Natural England in November 2017. Moccas: an English Deer Park. The history, wildlife and management of the first parkland National Nature Reserve. Edited by Paul T. Harding and Tom Wall. Published by English Nature in 2000.

Nearby sites:

Merbach Hill, Vagar Hill, Winforton River Wye, Letton Lakes, The Sturts HWT Kinnersley.




33. Olchon Valley


Overview
The Olchon Valley runs northwest from Longtown (SO325285) for a distance of about eight miles and forms the most eastern valley of the Black Mountains. A mountain ridge of over 600m. borders the whole valley on the west side with the Welsh border (part of the Offa’s Dyke footpath) running along the top. To the east the valley is enclosed for about half its length by a ridge of similar height, called the Black Hill (known locally as “The Cat’s Back”, for reasons which are obvious when viewed from a distance!). The Black Darren and Red Daren (note the Ordnance Survey has different spellings for both!) are land slips formed following glacial action and are an impressive feature on the face of the western ridge.

The Olchon Valley has no northern exit road and is wonderfully peaceful and unspoiled with small ancient farms and grazing sheep being the only visible sign of human habitation. There are many options for walking at the valley level, either on roads largely undisturbed by traffic or on the footpaths linking them (see maps) and there are various routes to the tops which, although strenuous in places provide spectacular views across Herefordshire and the Black Mountains chain. Sensible walking boots and weatherproof clothing are essential even in apparently good weather as conditions can change rapidly especially at altitude.

Directions and walks
The Darrens:
From Longtown take the road heading northwest through the village, passing the castle on your left and take the first left, signposted Brass Knoll, Turnant and Mountain Road. Follow this narrow road, climbing steeply in places, for about three miles until the road flattens out to reveal parking areas on both sides beneath the cwm which divides the Darrens. An excellent, if somewhat strenuous circular walk can be made from here, skirting the foot of the Black Darren, climbing to the top of the ridge and the Offa’s Dyke path and then descending to your starting point on the Red Daren side. The start is marked by a sign at the carpark reading ‘Offa’s Dyke Path’ and although the path is well-defined at first it becomes less so as you climb. Keep on this path until it flattens out to a small grassy plateau then head left taking the trail between the face of the Black Darren on your right and the ridge formed by a previous landslip to your left. Walk through bracken initially and continue on the path along the top of a small ridge. Large rock falls to your right will prevent you getting very near to the Darren but keep as close as you can, climbing and swinging slowly westwards. Look out for a track to your right which leads slightly back and up to the top and the Offa’s Dyke path. If you have time you can explore in either direction from here but the way to the Red Daren is to your right. Stay on the Offa’s Dyke path, passing a stone obelisk signposted ‘Llanthony’ until you reach the next one marked ‘Red Daren’. Follow the trail down and you will eventually join the track which you left at the grassy plateau.

The Black Hill
From Longtown take the road heading northwest through the village, passing the castle on your left and take the second left, signposted Llanveynoe and Black Hill. Keep on this road and after 1.8 miles look for a right hand fork, signposted Black Hill (but sign can be obscured). About a mile further on the Black Hill carpark is signposted on the right.

The trees and shrubs before the carpark can be good for spring migrants and the surrounding moorland holds breeding Stonechats and Wheatear. Across the road where you turned right for the carpark is a footpath which descends to the Olchon Brook and joins the road on the western side. A loop walk can be made along the road to the head of the valley and thence back to the car park.

Facilities: The Crown Inn at Longtown serves meals weekdays 12 to 3pm (except Wednesdays) and evenings 6pm onwards; all day at weekends.

Snacks, drinks and sandwiches can be bought at the shop and Post Office in Longtown.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer OL13 & Landranger 161
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Raven and Buzzard are numerous and Peregrine can often be found with perhaps Merlin on a good day. A remnant population of Red Grouse persists on the top of the western ridge.

Winter

The resident species may still be found but the winter months are much quieter. Hen Harrier is possible on the tops.

Summer

Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Wheatear, Stonechat and Cuckoo breed on the mountain sides and the woods and trees in the valley are an excellent place to find Redstart, Tree Pipit and Pied Flycatcher. Grey Wagtail and Dipper may be found along the Olchon Brook.

Spring/autumn

Ring Ouzel possible on autumn passage beneath the Darrens.

Resources:

- getoutside.ordnancesurvey - Herefordshire

- Herefordtimes Walks

Nearby sites:

There are no sites particularly close by the Olchon Valley, but Winforton, River Wye; Merbach Hill and Ewyas Harold Common are within reasonable driving distance.




34. Queenswood Country Park


Overview
This 170 acre site comprises both a 67 acre arboretum, with over 1,200 rare and exotic trees, and ancient semi-natural woodland SSSI. The whole site is designated a local nature reserve and is managed by the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust in partnership with New Leaf. The site sits atop Dinmore Hill and has a good network of way marked paths, a viewpoint, café, shop, toilets, picnic and play area. Ecologically it has a rich and attractive ground flora to complement a good range of woodland birds.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 506 514
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR6 0PY

Vehicular access: Situated alongside the A49 on top of Dinmore Hill, mid-way between Hereford and Leominster. Parking charges apply.

Other facilities: Café, shop, toilets and picnic tables are available on site.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 149 & Explorer Sheet 202.
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Raven, Sparrowhawk, Goldcrest, Siskin, Bullfinch, Tawny Owl.

Winter

Crossbill, Lesser Redpoll, Woodcock, Waxwing (occasional).

Summer

Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Swallow.

Spring/autumn

Cuckoo, Chiffchaff, Mistle Thrush.

Resources:

- Queenswood and Bodenhamlake

Nearby sites:

Bodenham Lake, Wellington Gravel Pits.




36. Sellack, River Wye


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




37. Shobdon Court Pools


Overview
The Pools are in the village of Shobdon, in the North West of the County, in the grounds of Shobdon Court. The main house was demolished in 1933, but parts remain which are privately owned and not open to the public. The adjacent church is of national architectural importance with a unique gothic interior. All three pools are large, well established features with some reed growth. The gardens are planted with ornamental trees and shrubs which can provide cover for a variety of species.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 400 627
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR6 9LZ

Vehicular access: Shobdon Court is opposite the Bateman Arms Public House. Large gates afford pedestrian access only to the drive, from which the Pools can be reached. There is very little on-road parking in the village and the pub car park is for patrons only. Alternatively, drive through the village with the pub on your right, turn first left signposted Shobdon Church, and first left again. There is parking next to the church and the drive (private vehicular access) leads back towards the village and the pools.

Access by foot: A public footpath from the original drive to the house provides access to two of the three pools, which were originally ornamental features in the garden. The third pool is used for private fishing, but can be observed from the drive.

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets (for patrons) are available at the Bateman Arms in addition to facilities provided by the village shop.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 148 and Explorer Sheet 201
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Mute Swan (breeding), Mallard, Tufted duck, Goosander, Heron, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot. A Great White Egret has been seen (October 2018). Winter Thrushes.

Resident

Mute Swan, Moorhen, Barn and Tawny Owl, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, various Corvids, various Tit species.

Winter

Fieldfare and Redwing.

Summer

Swift, Swallow and House Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Blackcap, various Warblers.

Spring/autumn

Migrating Flycatchers, Finches, Hirundines and Warblers.

Resources:

- A five and a half mile circular walk around Shobdon
- Information about the history of Shobdon Court

Nearby sites:

Wapley Hill (SO 346 624), Titley Pool (SO 325 595)




38. The Sturts HWT, Kinnersley


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000




39. Titley Pool HWT


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




40. Upper Lugg Meadows


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




41. Vagar Hill


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




42. Walford Pools


Overview

Walford Pools is a site comprised of three irrigation reservoirs connected to the nearby Coughton Marsh wet woodland reserve managed by HWT. The reservoirs attract an array of resident waterfowl species and are the best place in the south of Herefordshire for seeing passage waders in the spring and autumn. The surrounding farmland is well wooded with good amounts of fallow land making it a good site for farmland species as well as raptors.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities:

Map reference: SO 587213

Sat Nav/Post Code: HR9 5SA (For layby on B4234)

Vehicular and footpath access: The best way of accessing the pools is by parking at the layby in front of Walford School on the B4234, then crossing the road to the public footpath gate to the right of Alder Close. Follow the path across the field to the first gate then turn left, following the path through to the next field. The first and largest pool will be on your left and there is a public right of way to walk around this lake. Walking past this lake through a second gate you come to the two other lakes on either side. The right-hand lake does not have public access but is clearly viewable from the path.

Other facilities: There are no facilities available at the site however the site is just 10 minutes drive from Ross on Wye town centre. There are also nearby public houses at Bishopswood, Goodrich and cafés at Flanesford Priory by Kerne Bridge and at Goodrich Castle.

Maps: OS Explorer 189 & Landranger 162
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Mallard, Tufted Duck, Mandarin Duck, Goosander, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Kingfisher, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cormorant, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Stock Dove, Jackdaw, Rook, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Kestrel, Buzzard, Peregrine

Winter

Wigeon, Fieldfare, Redwing, Snipe (can be seen feeding round pool margins)

Summer

House Martin, Sand Martin, Swallow, Swift, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Meadow Pipit, Hobby (occasionally)

Spring/autumn

Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Curlew (attempted to breed spring 2020) Osprey (one sighting in both 2019 and 2020)

Resources:

- Herefordshire Wildlife Trust Reserve

Nearby sites:

Coppett Hill; Wilton, River Wye; Hartleton Lakes




43. Wapley Hill


Overview
Wapley Hill is the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort in North West Herefordshire, just under two miles SE of Presteigne, on the borders of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Radnorshire. The hill is managed by the Forestry Commission and planted predominantly with Douglas Fir. There is a circular marked trail around the hill to the Hill Fort where views are spectacular. A plan and information sheet can be downloaded from the Forestry Commission website. Roe, Fallow and Muntjac Deer live in the woods and in spring it is extensively carpeted with bluebells. Some parts of the wood are quite densely planted, but it is a regular site for Crossbill.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 346 624
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR6 9LG

Vehicular access: From the centre of Pembridge, take the road towards Shobdon and Staunton on Arrow, but remain on this road for about 4 miles until you reach Stansbatch. Wapley Hill can be seen on your right, up a narrow lane. Follow this until you see a Forestry Commission Car Park on your left.

Access by foot: All areas of the woodland can be accessed. There is a three mile circular marked trail through the wood, with other forest roads and a public footpath.

Other facilities: There are no facilities at Wapley Hill other than picnic tables in the Forestry Commission Car Park. Refreshments can be found in Shobdon.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 148 & Explorer Sheet 201
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Crossbills in the Douglas Fir, Marsh/Willow Tit, Goldcrest. Raptors nest in the woods and hunt in the vicinity.

Resident

Buzzard, Red Kite, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Raven, Goldcrest, various Tit species.

Winter

Crossbill, a variety of Raptors and Corvids, eruptions of Hawfinch, Brambling, Linnet.

Summer

A variety of Raptors.

Spring/autumn

Migration of Hirundines and other summer visitors around the hill.

Resources:

- Information about The Hill

- Information about the historical significance of the hill

Nearby sites:

Titley Pool (SO 325 595), Shobdon Court Pools (SO 400 627)




44. Wellington Gravel Pits


Overview
One of the most important birding sites in Herefordshire is a working gravel pit with mixed habitat. There are several pits, islands, reedbed, farmland and hedges. A public footpath crosses the site, with one hide on the footpath overlooking the main lake.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 500478
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR4 8BY

Vehicular and footpath access: Access to the site is by public footpath that runs from the A49 approximately five miles north of Hereford City at SO500478, proceeding east to join the minor road to Marden at SO515478. Parking is usually possible in the lay-by on the A49 opposite the start. From here the path runs through the centre of the area, initially passing north of the new workings and then the fly-fishing pit with a small pit to the left. Following the public footpath, you cross the Wellington Brook keeping to the public footpath continuing to hide at SO509478. For those approaching from Marden, there is a pedestrian crossing over the railway line at SO511478; due care should be taken at this crossing. During quarry working hours the site can be accessed at the main entrance gate
SO509482 and vehicles may be parked in the visitor’s car park (check at the weighbridge office for the closing time). The site is accessible at any time via the footpaths. Leave the car park via the gate and footpath, travelling south with the reedbed on your left, followed by a small pit after which you will join the public footpath directly opposite the hide.

Other facilities: There are no facilities available at the site. However, on the opposite side of the A49 there is a Wyevale Garden Centre with a café and toilet facilities and in Wellington Village there is a Public House and a Village shop.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer 202 & Landranger 149
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Barn Owl, Little Owl, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Kestrel, Buzzard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great Crested Grebe, Canada Goose and Greylag Goose, Coot, Moorhen, Goldcrest, Kingfisher, Mallard, Mandarin Duck, Green Woodpecker, Oystercatcher, Reed Bunting.

Winter

Fieldfare, Lesser Redpoll, Pintail, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Redwing, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Snipe and occasional Jack Snipe.

Summer

Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swallow, Swift, Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler.

Spring/autumn

Green Sandpiper, Cuckoo and the first county record of Bearded Tit in 2016.

Resources:

Information about archaeological findings on the site of the gravel pits

Nearby sites:

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust www.herefordshirewt.org Queens Wood Country Park HR6 0PY, open 24hrs. Queens Wood Café open 9 – 4. Bodenham Lakes Nature Reserve SO523511 open 24hrs.




45. Welsh Newton Common


Overview
The Common is an isolated area in South Herefordshire near to the Gwent border. It is at a height of 264 metres consisting of woodland and narrow green lanes with cottages. There are several well-established ponds that provide important wildlife habitats, and streams that rise from springs and wet flushes on the hill and tend to dry up in the summer months. Quarrying for stone in the past has left its mark on the common land, providing a distinctive landscape of hillocks and hollows now cloaked in woodland. The unimproved grassland fields surrounding the common are mainly small and bounded by hedges. Dry stone walls, adding another element to the local landscape, bound some fields and properties. There are a number of mature standard beeches and sweet chestnut trees that are important landscape features.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 511 175
Sat Nav/Post Code: NP25 5RT

Vehicular access: Approach either off the minor road between Welsh Newton and Llangrove or via the A466 Wormelow to Monmouth road and park near the Post Office.

Access by foot: Public access along green lanes and footpaths and also along the minor road on which the Post Office is located to view Yew Tree and Hazel Woods.

Other facilities: No facilities are available in the immediate locality, however The Royal Arms in Llangrove is nearby.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL14, Landranger Map 162
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Song and Mistle Thrushes, Buzzard, Sparrow Hawk, Peregrine, Raven, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Yellow Hammer.

Winter

Fieldfare, Redwing, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Crossbill and Brambling.

Summer

Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Tree Pipit, Lesser Spotted Flycatcher and Redstart.

Resources:

– 7 mile circular walk from Monmouth to Welsh Newton Common and back to Monmouth.

Nearby sites:

Buckholt Woods, Garway Hill and Great Doward/ R.Wye.




46. Wigmore Rolls


More site information will be available in due course Maps: OS Map View (1:25,000)




47. Wilton, River Wye


Overview
The walk takes place along the River Wye whose eastern bank is fringed by willow and alder trees; during lower water levels the shingle banks are exposed. The latter part of the walk goes past Ross Sewage Works then the footpath is tree lined on the west side with fields and an orchard on the eastern side.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference:
SO 589 242
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR9 5JA (car park)

Vehicular access: Park in the car park near Wilton Bridge off the B4260 road at SO 594 239; parking charges apply daily.

Access by foot: Start the walk by viewing from the bridge then follow the footpath on the eastern side of the river heading south until you reach SO 584 234. Proceed up the slope passing through trees on both sides and along the footpath until SO 591 237 and take the path down a steep slope in a NW direction towards the cricket pitch, then follow the edge around the cricket pitch back to the car park.

Other facilities: Full facilities are available in Ross-on-Wye town centre.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet 162 and Explorer Sheet 189
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Mute Swan, Mallard, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Moorhen, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Grey Wagtail, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Reed Bunting.

Winter

Goosander, Fieldfare, Redwing and Meadow Pipit..

Summer

Hobby, Swift, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler.

Spring/autumn

Osprey and Lesser Whitethroat

Resources:

- Historical information about Wilton Bridge

- Information about additional walks starting from Wilton Road carpark

Nearby sites:

Hartleton Lakes (SO 641 256)




48. Winforton, River Wye


Overview
This is a picturesque point on the River Wye, accessed from Winforton and opposite Castleton and Merbach Hill, where the river meanders through the wide floodplain between Whitney-on-Wye and Bredwardine. It is an important habitat for waterbirds and waders, as well as summer migrants.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference
: SO 293462
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR3 6EF

Vehicular access: Follow A438 from Willersley towards Hay-on-Wye, on reaching Winforton village pass The Sun Inn on right and take next left turn signed ‘Bakers Lane leading to The Vineyards’. Continue down this lane taking the unsurfaced road straight ahead, proceed for 400 m to a wider area of the lane near a gateway (SO 295465) and park up.

Access by foot: Walk down Bakers Lane and follow the footpath around to the riverside at SO 293462. Note: there is a footpath to the south alongside the river, but there is no access beyond the fisherman’s hut to the west.

Other facilities: Refreshments and toilets are available at:
The Sun Inn, Winforton, HR3 6EA
The Tram Inn, Eardisley, HR3 6PG

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer 201 & Landranger 149
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Song and Mistle Thrushes, Buzzard, Sparrow Hawk, Peregrine, Raven, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Yellow Hammer.

Winter

Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Goosander, Kingfisher, Little Egret, Little Grebe.

Summer

Sand Martin (colony on opposite bank) and other hirundines, Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Yellow Wagtail, Redstart, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Tree Sparrow (occasionally).

Spring/autumn

Wheatear is a regular spring and autumn passage species, Curlew on spring passage.

Resources:

– Descriptions of three villages in the area: Eardisley, Whitney-on-Wye and Winforton + a bit of history and a quick modern view of each.

– An overview of Hay-on-Wye bookshops.

– Fishing at Letton Court.

Nearby sites:

Merbach Hill; Letton Lakes; The Sturts HWT Kinnersley; Hergest Ridge; Bradnor Hill NT.




35. Red Daren and Black Darren


Overview
The Olchon Valley runs northwest from Longtown (SO325285) for a distance of about eight miles and forms the most eastern valley of the Black Mountains. A mountain ridge of over 600m. borders the whole valley on the west side with the Welsh border (part of the Offa’s Dyke footpath) running along the top. To the east the valley is enclosed for about half its length by a ridge of similar height, called the Black Hill (known locally as “The Cat’s Back”, for reasons which are obvious when viewed from a distance!). The Black Darren and Red
Daren (note the Ordnance Survey has different spellings for both!) are land slips formed following glacial action and are an impressive feature on the face of the western ridge.

The Olchon Valley has no northern exit road and is wonderfully peaceful and unspoiled with small ancient farms and grazing sheep being the only visible sign of human habitation. There are many options for walking at the valley level, either on roads largely undisturbed by traffic or on the footpaths linking them (see maps) and there are various routes to the tops which, although strenuous in places provide spectacular views across Herefordshire and the Black Mountains chain. Sensible walking boots and weatherproof clothing are essential even in apparently good weather as conditions can change rapidly especially at altitude.

Directions and walks
The Darrens

From Longtown take the road heading northwest through the village, passing the castle on your left and take the first left, signposted Brass Knoll, Turnant and Mountain Road. Follow this narrow road, climbing steeply in places, for about three miles until the road flattens out to reveal parking areas on both sides beneath the cwm which divides the Darrens. An excellent, if somewhat strenuous circular walk can be made from here, skirting the foot of the Black Darren, climbing to the top of the ridge and the Offa’s Dyke path and then descending to your starting point on the Red Daren side. The start is marked by a sign at the carpark reading ‘Offa’s Dyke Path’ and although the path is well-defined at first it becomes less so as you climb. Keep on this path until it flattens out to a small grassy plateau then head left taking the trail between the face of the Black Darren on your right and the ridge formed by a previous landslip to your left. Walk through bracken initially and continue on the path along the top of a small ridge. Large rock falls to your right will prevent you getting very near to the Darren but keep as close as you can, climbing and swinging slowly westwards. Look out for a track to your right which leads slightly back and up to the top and the Offa’s Dyke path. If you have time you can explore in either direction from here but the way to the Red Daren is to your right. Stay on the Offa’s Dyke path, passing a stone obelisk signposted ‘Llanthony’ until you reach the next one marked ‘Red Daren’. Follow the trail down and you will eventually join the track which you left at the grassy plateau.

The Black Hill
From Longtown take the road heading northwest through the village, passing the castle on your left and take the second left, signposted Llanveynoe and Black Hill. Keep on this road and after 1.8 miles look for a right hand fork, signposted Black Hill (but sign can be obscured). About a mile further on the Black Hill carpark is signposted on the right.

The trees and shrubs before the carpark can be good for spring migrants and the surrounding moorland holds breeding Stonechats and Wheatear. Across the road where you turned right for the carpark is a footpath which descends to the Olchon Brook and joins the road on the western side. A loop walk can be made along the road to the head of the valley and thence back to the car park.

Facilities: The Crown Inn at Longtown serves meals weekdays 12 to 3pm (except Wednesdays) and evenings 6pm onwards; all day at weekends.

Snacks, drinks and sandwiches can be bought at the shop and Post Office in Longtown.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Explorer OL13 & Landranger 161
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:

Resident

Raven and Buzzard are numerous and Peregrine can often be found with perhaps Merlin on a good day. A remnant population of Red Grouse persists on the top of the western ridge.

Winter

The resident species may still be found but the winter months are much quieter. Hen Harrier is possible on the tops.

Summer

Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Wheatear, Stonechat and Cuckoo breed on the mountain sides and the woods and trees in the valley are an excellent place to find Redstart, Tree Pipit and Pied Flycatcher. Grey Wagtail and Dipper may be found along the Olchon Brook.

Spring/autumn

Ring Ouzel possible on autumn passage beneath the Darrens.

Resources:

- getoutside.ordnancesurvey - Herefordshire

- Herefordtimes Walks

Nearby sites:

There are no sites particularly close by the Olchon Valley, but Winforton, River Wye; Merbach Hill and Ewyas Harold Common are within reasonable driving distance.