PUBLISHED: 11:53 13 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:02 20 February 2013
Herefordshire's finest collection of black and white buildings and all-round views of glorious countryside make up this gentle walk beginning at Weobley. Words and photographs by Roy Woodcock <br/><br/>After visiting the church and walking out of the vill...
Herefordshire's finest collection of black and white buildings and all-round views of glorious countryside make up this gentle walk beginning at Weobley. Words and photographs by Roy Woodcock
After visiting the church and walking out of the village we cross gently undulating farmland whilst enjoying all-round views of glorious countryside. We return to Weobley through Garnstone Park before sauntering down the main street with its outstanding collection of photogenic black and white buildings.
Starting point: a small car park on the northern edge of the village centre: Grid Ref.402517
Maps:Explorer 202 or Landranger 149
How to get there: Take the A4112 south west from Leominster and fork left when signed to Weobley along the B4230.
Length of walk: 4 miles. Time required about 2 hours, but allow extra time to wander round the village.
Choice of refreshments in Weobley
Local Tourist Information Centres at Hereford (01432 268430) and Leominster (01568 616460)
Other places of interest nearby: the town of Leominster, and the black and white villages of Pembridge and Eardisland
Many of the old houses date from the 14th and 15th centuries. Modern growth has included housing developments and a small trading estate, and the village still has schools, shops and pubs. Weobley is thought by many to be the finest of all the black and white villages of Herefordshire. Parts of the church of St.Peter and St.Paul date from the 13th century. It was built by Hugh de Lacy, the Lord of the Manor, on the site of an earlier wooden structure. The tower is 14th century, as is the font. Outstanding features include the Norman doorway and the second tallest spire in the county, at 185 feet. One of several interesting monuments is of Colonel John Birch, a Cromwellian soldier who lived at Garnstone House, which was rebuilt by Nash in 1807 but demolished in 1959. Birch represented Weobley in Parliament from 1678 to 1691. There is a small museum (phone 01544 318022) located on Back Lane, parallel to Broad Street.
1. Turn left from the car park, with its useful information board, and after a few yards turn left along the narrow road towards the church with its weathered stone tower topped by a spire. The attractive churchyard is a wildlife conservation area. It also contains a preaching cross, a scheduled ancient monument with 14th century steps.
Walk on the left side of the church and stay on the road when it bends right. After 30 yards it bends right again, but here we keep straight ahead along a stony track. Pass through a gate and where a path and track/bridleway go left, turn right through a small wooden gate along a narrow footpath. This leads us through to houses and at the first road turn right. After 100 yards the road bends left, but keep straight ahead here along a narrow path between houses. Reach another road/cul de sac and go straight across following the cycle sign. At the next road go slightly right of straight ahead between houses and reach a broader road.
2. A few yards to the right is the village centre, but we turn left for 30 yards and then go right along a path between hedges. When this surfaced path bends right, keep straight ahead, and when the grassy path forks, go left to reach a metal fence and a stile. Go over here and head diagonally left to a marker post and continue across the next field to a stile.
Beyond here head diagonally right across the middle of a cropped field to a stile and a narrow road. Turn left for a few yards and then go right, along a grassy track. Pass through an iron gate and along the right margin of two fields. Keep straight ahead across the middle of the next field and pass over a slight rise, beyond which views open up, with two small pyramid hills near Canon Pyon clearly visible. Go on across the middle of the next fields to reach a stile and the narrow road, but do not cross this stile.
3. With your back to the stile head diagonally left towards the cluster of farm buildings of The Field. Stay close to the hedge and aim towards the far left corner of the field. Here is a stile and footbridge, over one of many deep ditches in this wet low-lying remnant of Weobley Marsh. Stay close to the hedge, and half way along this field margin, turn right over another footbridge and stile. Turn left and pass the farm buildings.
Walk along the farm drive which takes us out to the road, with good views ahead towards Garnstone Wood covering the hillside. At the road is a large sign advertising for Flowers of the Field (01544 318262), which is based in the farm buildings we have just passed. Turn right alongside the road and shortly beyond East Lodge House, turn left on the stony driveway into Garnstone Park.
4. After a quarter of a mile at a cross-tracks turn right, to follow a grassy track northwards towards Weobley, with the church spire prominent straight ahead. The path leads to the castle mound and moat beyond which is the avenue of six large oaks on our right, and then the information board.
The castle was built soon after the Norman conquest by the de Lacy family. It was last used as a residence in the late 15th century, and largely destroyed in 1655. Nothing remains of the stone work.
Go through the gate and out to the village street. A slight detour right leads to The Unicorn (point 2 on the walk), and across the road from the Unicorn is The Throne, dating from the 16th century. Charles I is said to have stayed here when he came to Weobley on 5th September 1645, after the Battle of Naseby.
Back on the main street, on our left is the Rose Garden, now including the magpie statue - Magnus the Magpie by Walenty Pytel - commissioned by Weobley parish council to celebrate being National Village of the Year in 1999 and the New Millennium, December 2000. The Rose Garden was once the site of the Market Hall and a row of 15th-17th century houses, which were destroyed by fire in 1943.
One black and white building after another lines both sides of the street as we walk towards the church. When the road bends left, turn here, in front of the Red Lion, part of which dates from about 1450. Retrace steps to the car park - or enter the Red Lion (phone 01544 318210) for an excellent meal and choice of drinks.
Queries: what is Flowers of the Field?
What are the Unicorn and the Throne?
Millennium in December 2000? Or January?
Thank you for the proof of Weobley - all looks fine. Yes the photos are mine, and with reference to your queries
Flowers of the Field is the name of the commercial organisation operating from the farm I walked past - and they supply cut flowers, hanging baskets, nursery products. I had never heard of them until I walked past but they have a big advert board on the road nearby and also on the map in the Weobley car park.
Unicorn is an inn and perhaps it would be better to say the Unicorn Inn.
The Throne is a large house - black and white of course - but with quite a history.
The millennium comment I think I must have taken from the notice board at the Magpie. Perhaps the wording could just say New millennium, without including a date. Walenty the sculptor gets a mention in today's Malvern Gazette as he is being commissioned to do a large statue of a buzzard for the Rose Garden in central Malvern. I do not know anything about him, but it mentioned that he is Welsh.