From the Museum of Cider in Hereford to the imposing medieval ruins of Goodrich Castle and the prehistoric burial chamber of Arthur’s Stone, Herefordshire is home to some remarkable historic attractions.
Meanwhile Offa’s Dyke and the Black and White Villages trail provide alternative ways of exploring this patch of the Welsh Marches.
Here are 10 of the best historic sites in Herefordshire.
British Camp is an Iron Age hillfort at the peak of Herefordshire Beacon, with expansive views over the surrounding countryside. Four phases of prehistoric building have been identified at British Camp, which situate construction of the hillfort at different points in the 1st millennium BC. Its distinctive pattern of earthworks have led to the structure being associated with a layered wedding cake.
Goodrich Castle in Herefordshire is one of the most picturesque medieval ruins in the UK. Standing at the peak of a scenic woodland hilltop, this Norman fortification has attracted tourists to view its ethereal remains since the 18th century.
Today Goodrich Castle is managed by English Heritage and is open to visitors. Its imposing ruins may be explored including the picturesque 13th century chapel and the infamous ‘Roaring Meg’ mortar, which was moved to the site by Herefordshire Council and may be found in the courtyard.
3. Hereford Cathedral
Hereford Cathedral is a Grade I listed medieval structure with architectural elements that date from the Norman and Gothic periods.
An impressive exhibition dedicated to Mappa Mundi is situated within Hereford Cathedral. Constructed on a single sheet of vellum, the Hereford Mappa Mundi was made around the year 1300 and shows Christian Europe as it was understood in this period of the Middle Ages.
Arthur’s Stone is a mysterious burial chamber in Herefordshire. Though once covered by an earthen mound, the 5,000 year old tomb is constituted from nine upright stones forming a chamber with an enormous, 25 tonne capstone.
Today Arthur’s Stone is protected by English Heritage, and is set on a grassy area off Arthur’s Stone Lane. Its curious structure provides an intriguing visit, with the huge capstone now cracked in half and partly collapsed.
5. Berrington Hall
Berrington Hall is a National Trust property in Herefordshire. Berrington Hall is a Grade I listed building. It was supposed to be a comfortable family home, but under the aegis of Henry Holland it transformed into a Neo-classical masterpiece.
The country house is home to the Elmar Digby furniture collection, and it also features the last landscape design of Capability Brown.
6. Black and White Villages
In north-west Herefordshire, folded within the wooded Arrow and Lugg river valleys are the Black and White villages – the name given to a handful of historic settlements containing buildings sharing a distinctive timber-frame construction.
From the market town of Leominster to the 15th century house, the Throne, in Weobley. Nearby are the castles Hampton Court, Croft and Wigmore and the 18th century Berrington Hall.
Brockhampton is a historic estate in the Herefordshire hills, in use since the early Middle Ages. A ruined Norman chapel is one of the notable features of Brockhampton, little of which has changed in hundreds of years.
The building is a surviving medieval manorial complex and each room of Brockhampton is organised around a different time period.
8. Museum of Cider
At Hereford’s Museum of Cider, visitors can explore a collection of cider mills, presses, bottles, photographs and memorabilia related to the history of cider making. Located within Bulmer’s original 1888 factory, the Museum of Cider is dedicated to the story, traditions and local social history of cidermaking in Britain.
Offa’s Dyke is a large earthwork named after Offa, king of Mercia between 757 and 796 AD, traditionally regarded to have ordered its construction. Lying on the western side of Offa’s Dyke is the Herefordshire town of Kington.
Construction of what is known as Offa’s Dyke may have begun much earlier than the reign of King Offa. The linear earthwork, which more or less follows the border between modern England and Wales, may have been under construction during the sub-Roman period.
10. Croft Castle and Parkland
Croft Castle is a 17th century building surrounded by 1,500 acres of park and farmland, 5 miles from the Herefordshire town of Leominster. Within the estate are thousand year old gnarled trees, while for centuries the castle has been home to the influential Croft family.