Hereford is diametrically opposed to cosmopolitan Hong Kong of my recent visit but a change of pace for few days in rural Hereford was just what I needed after a hectic few weeks. And I managed to persuade my partner to accompany me!
Hereford has a lot going for it. It is the largest city in rural Herefordshire, close to the Welsh border with River Wye running through it. It is steeped in history and it oozes charm and character.
It’s so well connected by public transport which makes it a great base for visiting nearby towns without the stress of driving and finding parking spaces! For examples, the train gets to Leominster in 12 minutes, Ledbury 17 minutes
It takes 45 minutes by bus (number 33) to get to Ross-on-Wye. (http://gotthefridgemagnet.com/?p=14009)
For our sojourn in Hereford, I chose Brandon Lodge as our base. Situated on A49/Ross Road, Brandon Lodge has a large car park and is easy to find. It’s a charming and comfortable place with easy access to Hereford, by car, bus or walking. Though the house is on the main road, the rooms are well set back and not noisy at all.
Hereford Cathedral was founded in 696 and rebuilt in 1107 in striking local sandstone. This handsome landmark was even more photogenic under a bright blue sky.
Apart from its aesthetic appearance, Hereford Cathedral is famous for being the custodian of Mappa Mundi – the medieval original (1300) and the only complete world map of its kind to have survived.
It’s a work of art rather than a cartographic record. It represents the interesting world view of a medieval Christian Englishman who placed Jerusalem at the centre of the world!
The English description on the above photo on the right reads:
“This medieval world map, the largest one to survive was made around the year 1300 and is thought yo have been at Hereford Cathedral ever since.
It is drawn on a single piece of vellum (calf-skin) using pens made from goose quill feathers, ink using oak-apple gall, brushes of animal hair and paints made from pigments mixed with egg”
The Chained Library
The Chained Library in Hereford Cathedral is believed to be one of only 12 in England. The chaining of books was the 17th-century version of security-tagging. The Cathedral’s Chained Library is the largest to survive with all its chains, rods and locks intact.
The Black and White House Museum
Built in 1621 , this iconic timber-framed house is said to be one of the best preserved Jacobean structures. It’s also a landmark with which I navigated around the large city centre
Hereford is most famous for its Herefordshire Cattle. It’s therefore hardly surprising to see this life-sized bronze statue of a Hereford bull standing proudly in front of the iconic timber-framed Black and White House Museum right in the city centre
River walk in Hereford
The circular river walk from the Old Bridge (Wye Bridge) was short and scenic, taking in Victoria Bridge and Castle Green ending up around the Cathedral.
The Old Bridge (Wye Bridge)
This stone bridge was built in 1490 and is Grade I listed. It spans the River Wye and was the main crossing point until the modern Greyfriars Bridge next to it was constructed to carry the A46
This wrought-iron suspension foot bridge was opened in 1898 to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It links the north bank of the River Wye near Castle Green with the Bishop’s Meadow on the south bank.
Castle Green is a large public park occupying the historic site of Hereford Castle dating back to the 6th century. The dominant feature of the park is Nelson Column erected in 1809
Elsewhere in the city, there is no shortage of impressive historic buildings!
All Saints Church on Broad Street
Market Hall and market day
Market Hall, sandwiched between later additions, was built at the end of the 16th century and rebuilt in 1923 after a fire. It is now an indoor market. There’s also Hereford Outdoor Market held every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday
Hereford City Library / Museum and Art Gallery
This building on Broad Street is another beauty from the bygone era, opened in 1874
Hereford Town Hall
This building on St Owen’s Street is a relatively new, opened in 1904
St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Square
St Peter’s Church was originally built in the late 11th century. It was much restored in the Victorian era, so very little of the original church survived. It’s still an imposing old building, though.
Shire Hall, St Peter’s Square
This stylish building opposite St Peter’s Church on St Peters Square was built in 1817 and is Grade II listed. It was the home of the Herefordshire County Council and Hereford’s Crown Court. According to the local press It’s been out of use since June 2020 when part of the roof collapsed. Unfortunately the restoration of this classical building has to be deferred due to lack of funds.
Hereford Railway Station
This stately Railway Station was opened in 1853. It’s a real transport hub. We went to Leominster on the Cardiff to Manchester Piccadilly Line and to Ledbury on the line to Birmingham. http://gotthefridgemagnet.com/?p=13919
After nearly a week in Hereford I took away very pleasant memories of an underrated but captivating city full of history.
On the other hand, despite its sunlit beauty, there’s no escaping the fact that there’re a lot of vacant shop spaces in Hereford, alas, echoing the trend in many cities in the U.K.
Here I found good company in Sir Edward Elgar, he of the “Land of Hope and Glory” fame!