Hergest Woodland Walk

A steep, slippery, mildly treacherous walk with high stiles at Hergest, Kington, Herefordshire

Many fallen trees


Today,arriving at the top of Ridgebourne Road, near Hergest Common I was surprised to see so many cars parked.  So, wanting to give Bandit a good run, I decided to take another route where we would be unlikely to encounter people, dogs or sheep and he could be safely let off the lead.  So I walked back down the road to the Car Park for Hergest Croft Garden. In the far right of the car park is a style take this and then bear hard left.

Two warnings here, there was only one dog friendly stile on this walk, and a couple are quite high, so if you have a large dog you are going to get filthy lugging them over these. Luckily for me Bandit is easy to chuck over, unceremoniously, by his harness.  Also immediately after this stile the path is steep and slippery, although just a short distance to the next stile which takes you into the woodland, as you double back on yourself parallel to Ridgebourne Road.  However the path does continue to be mildly treacherous in places so watch your footing.


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Carrying on through through the wood for about a mile you reach a small number of steps which take you onto a wider forestry path. Up to this point our walk has been generally down hill.  Now the pay back starts but it is a gentle steady mile long incline and when there are breaks in the trees the views are stunning and very different from the ones you get higher up on the common.

Breath taking view

The track eventually peters out and we return once again to a narrow woodland path.  I’ve never walked this way when it hasn’t been muddy, even the summer there is a lot of moisture.  If you have a dog with you he’s going to get grubby.


After a steady climb we reach a final stile taking us out onto Hergest Common.  Here you have a choice you follow the woodland along via the left hand path which takes you back to the lower common and is reasonably easy going or you can climb straight up to the Victorian race track at the top, which is what Bandit and I did.  I don’t understand why hills never seem to affect dogs.  The climb to the top is about a mile and in some places excruciatingly steep. I had to stop for a number of breathers.  At one point sitting on a rock gave Bandit the opportunity to leap onto my lap from which he was promptly pushed but not before he covered me in mud and sheep muck. I should have mentioned that after leaving the woods Bandit was back on his lead as there are lots of sheep and a number of horses on the common.

Stop for a breather

Like all steep climbs the views are usually worth it and we encountered a number of horses with their foals too. Once at the top I decided to take the long walk around the race track and then down onto the lower common and back to the car.  It’s all gentle from here on and feels very easy going after such a steep climb.  My only regret is that I forgot to take my camera and had to use my phone instead which just doesn’t cut it or do true justice to our walk.

Hergest Common/Grove Farm Walk

A short but hilly walk exploring the permissive access to Grove Farm from Hergest Common, Herefordshire

The last time I walked on Hergest Common I notices that a new footpath had been opened up. So, on possibly the hottest ever recorded October day, I set off with Bandit to explore.

The great thing about Hergest Common is that, although popular, there are so many footpaths and routes that once off the standard ‘hike to the top’ walk it is rare to encounter more than a few people for your entire visit. Today though, in the unnaturally hot weather with, literally, buzzards wheeling in the sky it had a slightly eerie feel.  It was almost like being in a scene from The Day the Earth Caught Fire.

For precise instructions see the detailed OS map.  However, walking up from Ridgebourne Road onto Hergest Common, look for a kissing gate after a short distance on your left. About two thirds of the way through the first field there is another kissing gate, again on your left, where you start to descend to Grove Farm.  Once through the farm carry on down the farm track.  There is a footpath running through some woodland about halfway down the track which I imagine is the official route but it was seriously overgrown and I was only wearing sandals, so I carried on down the track to Upper Hergest.  Turn right following the road all the way up to Hergest Common farm. Then right again to take you back down through the common and back onto Ridgebourne Road.


This is a short walk, about three and a half miles but with a couple of quite steeps climbs. I took it easy, ambling along, taking photos, and completed it in a little over an hour and a quarter.  Enjoy.


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Detailed OS Map
Related Post:
Hergest Ridge

Hergest Ridge

A favourite place

As I am a self proclaimed dog walker and haven’t mentioned dogs or walking yet I thought I better had.  I have been walking over what I affectionately call ‘the hill’ since we moved back to Herefordshire , from Cardiff, some ten years ago.  Always with a minimum of one dog and sometimes with family and friends, I have covered most of the open land, bisected by the Offa’s Dyke Path and still never tire of the beautiful diverse scenery to be found here, on the English/Welsh border.

Please browse my photo album below which will take you on a little virtual tour of this wonderful place and which I will continue to add to.  So come back and visit again.

Walks to try

Here are a sample of some of the walks I have taken, click on the red marker for details or use the ‘view larger map link’. All the walks start from Ridgebourne Road, the Kington side of Hergest and were recorded using My Tracks on my Android phone.

Listen!

Walk to the top and back

This is probably the most popular walk which is up over the top of the hill and then back around one half of the Victorian country race track, I walked a little further here so that the dogs could have a drink at the hill top pool.


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Off the beaten track #1

This walk takes in the southern half of the race track, the ridge and then follows the lower ground past Hergest Farm.


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Off the beaten track #2

A variation of the above walk taking the northern branch of the race track. Also shows (blue marker) where the monkey puzzle trees are situated.


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Walk to Gladestry

This walk takes you right down the ridge and to The Royal Oak in Gladestry.  Good beer but I would suggest taking your own sandwiches rather than sampling their menu, although that was a while ago now and things may have improved.


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There are other equally beautiful walks to the north through wooded hills and lower lands but I have not, yet, recorded them.