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Herefordshire Gardens

Herefordshire Flag

Bordering three English counties and located along the historic Welsh Marches border with Wales, Herefordshire has amazing rural countryside peppered with picturesque villages and market towns. Though one of England’s smaller counties, Herefordshire certainly packs a punch. Being famed for its agriculture, alongside its fruit and cider heritage, it’s the ideal county for outdoor exploration.

Days out in Herefordshire

Herefordshire is a fantastic county to discover with plenty of outdoor activities and attractions to visit and an abundance of country walking paths and trails. Together with the cathedral city and county town of Hereford, there are plenty of market towns to explore, including Ledbury, Leominster, Bromyard, and Ross-on-Wye, all offering a unique insight into the history and heritage for which Herefordshire is acclaimed.

As Herefordshire’s only city, Hereford is home to the county’s historic 11th-century cathedral. With impressive architecture and magnificent stained glass windows, it’s certainly one of the most popular landmarks to visit. While you’re there, be sure to book yourself onto a guided tour of the six-acre surrounding gardens, as well as a visit to the acclaimed Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibition.

Elsewhere in Hereford, the Black and White Museum, a 17th-century, timber-framed building in the heart of the modern city centre, is certainly worth exploring. The nearby Chase Distillery and Hereford Cider Museum give you the chance to learn about – and taste – the county’s famous exports.

Just outside the northern market town of Leominster, the Oaker Wood activity centre in Kingsland is certainly the place to go to get your outdoor kicks. Choose from a whole range of activities including paintballing, low ropes, high ropes, ziplining, target shooting, and more. And why not take advantage of Leominster’s surrounding countryside with one of the many accessible, circular, or forest walks?

East of Hereford, on the edge of the Malvern Hills, Ledbury is a stunning market town offering plenty to see and do. Famed for its notable timber-framed buildings, the town centre’s Butcher Row House Museum and historic Church Street both provide for an interesting walk through old Ledbury.

As Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, both the Malvern Hills and the Wye Valley countryside offer amazing and idyllic landscapes. Whether you’re on foot, bike, or horseback, you’ll discover plenty of scenic paths, routes, and trails to explore while surrounded by diverse wildlife and the natural beauty of the great outdoors.

Topography, geology, and climate

Herefordshire is an unashamedly rural county and celebrates its natural beauty with a stunning and characterful blend of hills, valleys, and scenic countryside. These features all come together to give Herefordshire a range of diverse land qualities and a landscape of fertile soil types.

The majority of the county is made up of two main soils types. The high fertility and mild acidity in the heavier loam and clay soils in the north and east, with low fertility, yet more free-draining, mildly acid loam soils to the west and south. Much of the county is also punctuated with pockets of low to medium fertility, seasonally or naturally wet areas of acid loam and clay soils.

Herefordshire’s weather patterns can vary due to its mix of higher and low-lying land but maintains an overall mild and temperate climate. Warmer temperatures across the summer months average at around 21ºC (69ºF), while winter temperatures can be harsh, dropping to an average of around 1ºC (33ºF). And Herefordshire can be wet with up to 800mm (31”) taking into account some rainfall across higher ground.

Herefordshire’s parks and gardens

Together with Herefordshire’s natural landscape, the county is complemented by a notable selection of gardens to enjoy. Whether visiting as someone with just a passing interest in gardens or a keen gardener or horticulturalist, Herefordshire doesn’t disappoint. With each offering a relaxed and fun day out, there’s plenty to enjoy for the whole family.

North Herefordshire

In Kimbolton, Stockton Bury Gardens is the heart of a family-run, working farm north of Leominster. Featuring different gardens across its four acres, visitors are led through each area by pathways, uncovering a range of informal plantings as you go - all displaying colour, texture, and thriving wildlife for every season. Charming, tranquil, and not to be missed.

A few miles east in Edwyn Ralph, near Bromyard, are the Ralph Court Gardens. A wonderful and imaginative family-orientated space, there are 12 gardens to explore, including an African jungle, an Italian piazza, and a conifer forest. Each garden has plenty of space to relax and enjoy its features alongside a wealth of seasonal, perennial, and specialist plantings.

In the west of the county, Westonbury Mill Water Gardens, near Pembridge, is a spectacular display and proof of what you can achieve with real imagination. Antique water wheels, water features, and follies all make an appearance across several garden areas including a Bog garden, filled with water-loving plants, the Cairn garden, with wisteria-covered pergola and an array of shrubs, and the wildflower meadow.

As you head towards the village of Bredwardine, near Hereford, Brobury House and Gardens is located on the banks of the River Wye. With 8-acres of Victorian formal gardens, you can expect plenty of colour, interest, and diversity of planting in every season. Three magnificent water features are included in the original terraces, including a Lutyens-inspired pool with steps and ornamental beds.

South Herefordshire

Sitting on the River Wye, The Weir Garden in Swainshill, near Hereford, is another wonderful riverside garden, full of spring and summer colour and thriving wildlife. Created with advice from garden designer, Humphry Repton, the Weir Garden also features beautiful woodland and walled gardens, full of abundant plantings and scenic walks.

The beautiful town of Ross-on-Wye is home to the Thomas Blake Memorial Gardens, a well-established town garden that leads you downhill to beautiful walks along the banks of the River Wye. Full of interest, colour, and scent, the impressive displays are entirely maintained by volunteers, and their efforts provide an idyllic treat.

Near Pontrilas, the Kentchurch Court Garden offers a real delight. Beautifully naturalistic, the 25-acres are of a landscape style, with Gertrude Jekyll roses and purple nepeta making for an impressive entrance. Kentchurch also includes a rhododendron wood, vegetable garden, and walled garden filled with beautiful borders of geraniums, digitalis, rudbeckia, and many others.

One of England’s oldest houses, Hellens Manor, in Much Marcle, near Ledbury, is surrounded by a formal English country garden that’s a joy for any visitor. Highlights include the Physic garden, Herb and Kitchen gardens, a beautiful rose garden with many varieties, a collection of ancient trees and rare fruit trees, and wildflower meadows. Don’t miss the Yew labyrinth!