Linear walk from Little Dewchurch through rich red sandstone country to one of Herefordshire’s finest Victorian churches at Hoarwithy. The walk passes through King’s Caple to the Wye at Sellack Bridge and onward to Upper Grove Common and finally across fields to Peterstow. Mostly on paths with some country lanes.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D) From bus shelter, turn right following the footpath sign on a track alongside a field. After a few yards, cut away from the track to follow a path, slightly left, across the large field. Cross a stile to go over a track, then bear right to a field corner. Now turn left to follow the hedge and stream on your right, but only part way down, as you take the well worn path left to a stile. Cross this and head slightly right to a stile in the top right corner. Go over it and keep ahead in the pasture where there are superb views across to May Hill (left), ahead for the Forest of Dean and on the right the Garway Hills.
(1) Climb over the next stile and head slightly left alongside the hedgerow to reach a stile in the bottom corner of the pasture. Keep left alongside a hedge but in about 50 yards go left up steps and cross a stile into the next field. Turn right to walk down a green path to the bottom corner. Cross a stile and follow the hedge on the right to a barred gate. Go through this to a road.
(2) Keep ahead to a junction where you turn left to pass by Prothither Farm in the valley of the Wriggles Brook which looks small but once powered several mills. Walk down the road, but keep a look out for a footpath on the left, opposite a barred gate. Go left here, through a metal barred gate but, before a second gate, go right over a stile and climb steeply up a bank to cross a bridleway by way of stiles and steps.
(3) The path now proceeds along the top of the hillside through rough ground; you’ll see the beautiful bow top gipsy wagons by the stream below (Wriggles Brook Gypsy B&B). Ignore the left turning and cross the stile ahead into a pasture. You’ll see the tower of St Catherine’s Church at Hoarwithy so you are not far off now. Keep ahead to pass by Upper Barn, on the left, and onwards through two kissing gates to reach a track down to a road. Go right to descend into the village. The steps leading to St Catherine’s Church are on the right and it really is worth a visit. Keep ahead to the New Harp Inn where there the bus stops.
(4) From the New Harp Inn turn right to retrace your steps to a road junction again but now keep right and at the second junction ahead to the Hoarwithy Bridge, guarded by an old toll house. This crossing point was known in earlier times as the Hoarwithy Passage; see Trackway to Turnpike... The Old Roads of South Herefordshire by local author, Heather Hurley, for a more detailed story.
(5) Once over, go right along a green track through bushes. This gives out onto a lane; keep ahead here. It rises up to King’s Caple Church; the 14th century spire is a landmark for miles around. Opposite stands the castle tump, thought to have been built by the Normans not long after the Conquest in 1066.
(6) Pass by the Georgian King’s Caple Court and keep ahead at the crossroads by the old Sunday school. Beyond the primary school, look for a path on the right by High House. A green way between hedges leads to two barred gates and then gives out into an orchard. Keep to the right of a gateway ahead, then cross a stile. Enter a large field and head slightly right towards Sellack Church, seen in the distance. On reaching the hedge go left down to a stile and road. Turn right for Sellack Boat and when the road bends right, go left to Sellack Bridge. However, Shieldbrook Sculpture Park is to the right but opening times are limited: see
(7) Sellack Bridge was built in 1895 mainly at the instigation of the Reverend Augustin Ley who needed to attend Sellack Church and King’s Caple Church. He and the ferryman did not get on that well and the clergyman pressed the case for a more permanent crossing and this fine bridge was the result. Proceed ahead over the bridge and water meadows to the church. There’s a stile there by a gate which leads to a lane. Go left to pass the fine sandstone church dedicated to St Tysilio, the only one in England, and with many fine interior features.
(8) At the end of the churchyard, look for a stile on the right. Cross it and keep ahead through a pasture beneath a wooded slope to a stile which leads into the wood. Within a few yards take the right fork (leaving the Herefordshire Trail for a while) and follow the path through to a gateway leading into a shallow valley. Walk ahead to a bridle gate and path to a road. Go left and right to pass by the Lough Pool Inn. The pool is to the right but is now often dried out. Walk up the lane through Upper Grove Common to a junction where you go right and at the next junction keep ahead; there’s a pool on the right. You are back on the Herefordshire Trail and in about 100 yards go left through a gate to follow the hedge ahead to another gate. Go through and descend to a stile in the valley bottom. The path leads to a footbridge over the infant Wells Brook. Cross a stile and then turn left on a track to a small gate by a barred gate.
(9) Go through here and rise next to restored buildings at The Flann. Walk up the drive and go through a metal gate next to a barred gate Turn left and before reaching the entrance to Peterstow Church, cut right to cross a drive and go up steps to a gate to cross a field on a well worn path to the main A49 road. Go left into the village. The stop for Hereford is on the right at the edge of the common; the stop for Ross-on-Wye is just beyond the village store.(A)
D : mi 0 - alt. 525ft - Bus shelter
1 : mi 0.61 - alt. 476ft - Stile
2 : mi 1.17 - alt. 253ft - Junction
3 : mi 1.56 - alt. 223ft
4 : mi 2.16 - alt. 151ft - New Harp Inn
5 : mi 2.4 - alt. 138ft - Hoarwithy Bridge
6 : mi 3.21 - alt. 246ft - Georgian King’s Caple Court
7 : mi 4.24 - alt. 131ft - Sellack Bridge
8 : mi 4.58 - alt. 144ft - Church
9 : mi 6.47 - alt. 197ft - The Flann
A : mi 6.77 - alt. 259ft - Peterstow bus station
Easy walk following, in the main, the Herefordshire Trail. There are a few steep climbs and it can be muddy or waterlogged in the Sellack area after heavy rains. If you prefer a shorter walk (4½ miles), start at Hoarwithy (4).
OS Map: Explorer 189 Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.
Full bus timetable information is available at www.herefordbus.info
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
There are four pubs on this walk, the Plough Inn at the beginning, the New Harp Inn at Hoarwithy, and the Lough Pool Inn at Sellack and finally the Yew Tree Inn at Peterstow. There is also a village store at Peterstow so there are plenty of opportunities for refreshment.
The walk descends through beautiful parkland beneath Pengethley Manor Hotel, originating from the 16th century, to Hentland Church and through to Hoarwithy, where there’s a public house with a shop and post office.
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Short alternative route to the viewpoint of Yat Rock.
A long walk full of interest with lengthy riverside sections.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.