Food and Drink Festivals around Herefordshire

By / 21st August, 2017 / General / No Comments

Hereford second Indie Food Festival
Weekend of 26th, 27th and 28th August

The Indie Food Festival is a community-driven project celebrating the independent food scene, chefs, producers, and makers in Herefordshire.

The three-day and two-night event will consist of street food, music, chefs suppers, food talks, producers market and more.

Food festivalFor the second year, on Saturday 26th through to Monday 28th August, Hereford Indie Food will take over and transform the car park behind Burger Shop and The Bookshop on Aubrey Street. The result will be a bank holiday weekend hangout, celebrating the very best of Herefordshire’s independent food and drink culture.

There will be street food dining areas, craft beer and cocktail bars, sun-drenched hangouts, DJ’s and Live Music all day and night. Food talks with knockout food full of interesting bits from Hereford’s finest.

Bromyard Hop Festival
27th August 2017

The day-long Bromyard Hop Festival on Sunday the 27th August 2017 will celebrate the market town’s long-standing link to hop-growing, dating back to 1577.  In the hop growing hey-day of the late 20th century, hundreds of people from the industrial South Wales, the Midlands and the Black Country would travel to Bromyard to work on the hop harvest. Times have changed but, with the rise of craft brewing, Herefordshire remains the largest hop producing area in the UK with new Hopyards being planted close to Bromyard in recent years.

The exciting all-day programme of events  includes a children’s Scooter Race, a Vintage Vehicle parade through the streets, an arts and craft market at The Falcon Hotel, rural crafts demonstrations in the courtyard at the Falcon Hotel, a sale of decorative (and highly aromatic!) hop-bine products in The Mews at the Falcon Hotel  and live bands in a ‘mini music festival’ in the town’s Market Square.  And of course, it’s all free of charge to come along and watch!

The Hop Pocket Festival includes the famous World Championship Hop Pocket Race, the only one of its kind in the world, specially invented when the Hop Festival began in 2011.  In the past, the Race has attracted crowds estimated at around 5000 to the town’s Broad St and High St.  Teams of four run through the town carrying a full hop pockets (sacks) weighing up to 70kg (1.5cwt).  The main Race is open to all classes, and there are also Ladies, Youths and Junior races with lighter sacks.  This year for the first time there’s a Fancy Dress race which will also have a much lighter sack. The winners of the overall World Championship race, and the Ladies World Championship race will win considerable cash prizes, cases of beer, specially produced mugs and trophies. All people entering the races will receive a Hop Festival medal, and winners will receive various prizes presented by Toni Mcdonald from the BBC.

The Leominster Food Fayre
Saturday 2nd September

The Leominster Food Fayre is a not-for-profit event aimed at showcasing local food and drink producers in the “Leominster Country” and surrounding area. It also aims to put on a great community event for those who live in and around Leominster and visitors to the town. At present, there are 27 exhibitors to the Fayre which will take place in Leominster Town Centre in Corn Square and ‘The Secret Garden’. Food demonstrations and lids activities will take place within the Town Hall, 11 Corn Square.


Ludlow Food Festival
8th – 10th September 2017

Voted last month as the ‘Best Food Festival in the Midlands’

Ludlow is certainly one of the prettiest settings for a food festival. With the event taking place inside the ruined castle.

food festivalSituated on the River Teme in the outstanding countryside of the Welsh Marches, its medieval street pattern survives almost intact. This along with many ancient properties including the magnificent ruined castle and one of the largest parish churches in England.

There are over 180 exhibitors, predominantly from Ludlow and the Welsh Marches. It is a perfect time to discover your favourite foods and try something new.

The Festival’s famed Sausage Trail became a magnet for 2000 lovers of the British banger. To that has been added competitions for the Pork Pie of the Marches, Cake Competition, the Ludlow Sandwich the Best New Product and more! There is also the Ale Trail, which attracts over 1000 real ale drinkers exploring the pubs around the area.

There is so much planned for this festival. Activities include childrens’ activities, taste workshops, talks, demonstrations, tasting, music and a masterclass that it is worth going to the website to find out the vast array of activities on offer.

All events in Ludlow Castle and most other venues are suitable for wheelchair and mobility scooters access.



Trumpet Corner Tea Room

By / 26th July, 2017 / General / No Comments

trumpet galleryI was lucky enough to be able to visit the Trumpet Corner Tea Room, gallery and art workshop last week. This hive of activity is located at Trumpet crossroads only 11 miles from Hereford and four miles from the market town of Ledbury.  The Tea Room offers freshly made tea and coffee and local cakes and you can browse around the art galleries and purchase high quality, locally produced artworks. There is also a collection of workshops where a number of resident artists create their masterpieces.

I was offered a traditional cream tea with a beautiful pot of fresh tea. The tea room offers a breakfast menu, light lunches and afternoon tea. I was given a tour around the garden and all the craft workshops and was able to watch the embroidery class that was underway.

There are events and courses running throughout the year and coming up is the Craf-Tea Garden Fair on 29th July. For a suggested £4 donation you can watch craft demonstrations and workshops, enjoy a homemade scone with jam and cream, Trumpet ‘House Blend’ tea and a raffle entry.

trumpet classThe Trumper Corner Tea Room is well worth a visit – you can even get there by bus!

Diane Rogers

National Parks Week 24th – 30th July

By / 24th July, 2017 / General / No Comments

National Parks Week has come round again and it is an annual celebration of everything that is unique and wonderful about Britain’s breathing spaces. It runs from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 July 2017.

With diverse landscapes, activities, and events there’s an adventure waiting at whatever scale suits you! And aren’t we lucky to have the wonderful Brecon Beacons National Park on our doorstep?

The Brecon Beacons National Park is the youngest of the three national parks in Wales. Established in 1957  it covers 520 square miles and offers a host of events and activities for you and your family to partake in and enjoy, with an added bonus of beautiful views and scenery. The name refers to the range of Old Red Sandstone peaks which lie to the south of Brecon which include South Wales’ highest mountain, Pen y Fan. The range forms the central section of the National Park and to the east lie the Black Mountains.

Here are  just a couple of facts below of many from the park:

  • Prince Charles has his Welsh residence at the western edge of the park near Myddfai
  • There really are sheep everywhere-with around 1250 farms within the park
  • Britain’s largest breeding population of lesser horseshoe bats can be found in the Usk Valley.

We have included a list of what’s on offer below which you may find useful:

For more information on what to see and do got to Brecon Beacons – our National Park

On the last day of National Parks Week, 30th July,  Brecon Becaons is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Park Authority. These celebrations are taking place at two venues: The National Park Visitor Centre near Brecon and Craig-y-nos County Park, Pen-y-Cae. Pick a venue, take a picnic and go along and celebrate. Activities are all free but must be booked in advance at the information desk.




Big Tea Event in support of St Michael’s Hospice

By / 11th July, 2017 / General / No Comments

On a sunny afternoon last week, we were very pleased to help support St Michael’s Hospice by hosting our third big tea raising funds for our local Hospice.

Big Tea for Hospice 1We were lucky enough to be inundated with bunting and spent the whole morning decorating the house and gardens. A variety of local businesses offered their assistance with our event, which helped make it so successful. Apart from tea and home-made cake, our visitors enjoyed freshly picked local strawberries and cream, Prosecco and locally brewed beer and cider.

The new mayor of Hereford, Sharon Michael, joined us in support of the Hospice and it gave her the opportunity to meet representatives of local businesses.

Big Tea for Hospice 2To add to the funds raised, we held a raffle with prizes ranging from a Denby dinner set, various bottles of alcohol to a cuddly Teletubbie!

At the time of writing, donations are still coming in and we hope that the amount raised will be over £200.00.

St Michael’s Hospice is an independent charity, and all their services are free of charge. It costs over £13,000 per day to provide patients with all the care they need and 90% of that amount is raised by the local Herefordshire community.

Thank you to everyone who donated:

  • S & A Produce
  • Tescos Belmont
  • College Estate and Holme Lacy Rd Co-op
  • Westons Cider
  • Swan Brewery
  • Hampton Hire
  • Tina Bendle Cakes
  • Nat West and Lloyds Banks

Learning in work week

By / 19th May, 2017 / General / No Comments

learning at workEvery day I am learning more and more as I go along. I am learning through working and also through dealing with customers and enquiries.

Learning whilst I work suits me better as I find it interesting. I feel that my confidence has really come along whilst being employed and trained at the guest house. Through the training, I am beginning to be a lot more independent and therefore am able to work on my own. I have to think for myself which is good as it tests my knowledge.

If there is something I don’t do quite as well as I could have, I get told how I could improve on it for next time. This is good as I am constantly getting feedback. which can only help me improve my performance and make sure guests are always satisfied. The next time I do a task, I remember the feedback I have had and use that to ensure I don’t make the same mistake twice.

I would recommend to anyone to pursue further education whether it be in college, university or in the workplace.

Olivia Wright

Hereford in Local and Community History Month

By / 15th May, 2017 / General / No Comments

The meaning of Hereford is believed to come from the Anglo Saxon word ‘here’ which is an army or formation of solders, and ‘ford’ which is a place for crossing a river.  It suggests that Hereford was a place where a body of armed men forded the River Wye.


In the 7th Century the Saxons arrived and settled at the ford and by 700 AD Hereford had grown into a busy market town. Warfare began between the English and Welsh late in the 9th Century, Alfred the Great created fortified settlements across the country, Hereford being included, in case of Danish attack. Hereford resisted a Danish attack in 914 and about 100 years later a castle was built. The Welsh burnt it down in 1055!

During the civil war in 1642 between king and parliament, Hereford supported the king. Between 1642 and 1645 rule was split between royalists and parliament forces until the royalists were finally defeated.


Many Frenchmen came to settle in the town after the Norman Conquest and the town grew, with the market being moved to a new position in the north.

Also joining the French at this time was a Jewish community. They lived in the area of Maylord Street until 1290 – until all Jews were expelled from England.

The poor and the sick were looked after by the church. They ran the only hospitals those being the Hospital of St John in the 12th Century and St Ethelbert in the 13th Century. The lepers were kept in a hostel outside of the town.

To further the rise of Hereford, Bishop Thomas Cantilupe died and was buried in 1282 and 40 years later he was canonised bringing pilgrims to the town.

As around the country, the town suffered from outbreaks of plague four times from 1566 until 1610 but each time recovered.

1801 saw the first census and Hereford had a population of 6,828. It was a fair sized market town then but by the end of the century the population had reached 21,000.

Hereford in the 20th Century saw the population rise from 24,000 in 1931 to 47,000 by the early 1970s


Hereford historyIt is believed that the castle of Hereford was rebuilt as in 1055 it was used to repel and attack the Welsh until most of it was destroyed. In the 1650s the stone was used for other buildings within the City. The castle was written to be ‘nearly as large as that of Windsor and one of the strongest in England’. The area that the castle stood is now today Castle Green.

The stone bridge was built across the Wye in 1100 to replace the wooden one and at the end of the 12th Century stone walls were built around the town.

Hereford Cathedral was built as a small church as early as the 670s where it stood for some 200 years until in the reign of Edward the Confessor it was altered.  It was burnt in 1056 by a force of Welsh and Irish. The current Cathedral dates from 1079 when the Normans began rebuilding from the ruins. At about the same time a new bishop’s palace was built.

Coningsby hospital was built in 1614 followed by The Old House in 1621 and Aubrey’s almshouses nine years later showing the prosperity of Hereford was still growing.

In 1710 a blue coat school opened and in 1783 Hereford hospital was built. Towards the end of the 1700s, the streets were paved and lit by oil lamps.

On Easter Monday 1786, the west tower of the Cathedral collapsed ruining the whole part of the west front and part of the nave. In 1841 the restoration work began and continued continuously until 1863.

Because the gates around Hereford were impeding traffic it was decided to demolish them. This happened from 1782 when Friars Gate and Wye Bridge Gate went and by 1798 St Owens Gate, Eign Gate, Bysters Gate and Widemarsh Gate had all gone.

The 19th Century was fast moving and there were many improvements. Gas street lighting was provided and, mid-century, Hereford had a fire brigade. Following the Hereford Improvement Act in 1854 a waterworks and a network of sewers were built. From the end of the 19th Century, Hereford had an electricity supply.

In 1845 a canal was dug from Gloucester to Hereford but closed in 1880 due to the railway reaching Hereford in 1854. It was the last major town in Britain to be connected by rail.

Building continued with several new churches as the town continued to expand. These being, St Paul’s at Tupsley and St James’ in Green Street. In 1873 a museum and library opened followed twenty odd years later by the Victoria suspension bridge.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, Hereford gained a new Town Hall. In the same year of 1904 came a College of Education with a cinema by 1911. The War Memorial in St Peter’s Square was erected in 1922 to remember the fallen from the First World War.

Hereford Cathedral is now famous for the Mappa Mundi. The Hereford Cathedral Chained Library is the largest surviving chained library in the world. In the early 17th Century, chained libraries could be found in universities and cathedrals, but this is the only one still to be chained. It contains about 1,500 books, dating from around 800AD to the early 19th Century, including 227 medieval manuscript books.


Because of its position near the Welsh border and warfare between the two countries, a great deal of business came to Hereford. The fact that St Ethelbert was buried in the town also brought prosperity to the town as people travelled long distances to visit shrines of saints and they spent money.

At the beginning of the 12th Century, Hereford gained a fair (market) held annually for a few days in June. People would come from all around to buy and sell their wares. 100 years later a second fair was given, this being held in October.

The main industry during this time was making wool but leather working was another important industry.

The wool industry was declining by the end of the 17th Century due to competition from the north of the country. Hereford became known for cider making and brewing and the leather industry continued to grow.

Although industry continued to grow – brewing and cider making, leather working, boat building, furniture making and a brick and tile industry – Hereford was a market town for the surrounding countryside.

Hereford is mainly known now as a trading centre for a wider agricultural and rural area. Industry still includes the brewing of beer and cider, leather goods, nickel alloys, poultry, chemicals and of course cattle.

Hereford has a fascinating history, far more than can be written here. The City is well worth a visit whether you are local or visiting from further afield.


Our visit to The Hop Pocket Shopping Village

By / 21st April, 2017 / General / No Comments

Hop Pocket 2

The Hop Pocket Shopping Village was a port of call I made with Diane this week. The village is made up of a unique collection of independent shops offering clothing, furnishings, art, local wines, butchers and a deli to garden furniture and original gifts including a wonderful selection of traditional and modern wooden toys.

Within the Hop Pocket is a family restaurant providing morning coffee, a light farmhouse lunch and scrumptious homemade cakes and scones. Sunday is all about a traditional roast. Everything is cooked with fresh local ingredients.

The Hop Pocket 1Outside is a unique garden centre with an astonishing range of plants, many of which are locally grown. If the whim takes you, you can also purchase a choice of decorative items for your garden.

Take the children – there is a large grassed play area with traditional wooden climbing frames for tots to bigger ones. The restaurant will even serve you a meal and drinks in this area so that everyone is kept happy!

The Hop Pocket is free to enter with free parking. It is open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays and is well worth a visit.

Alice’s visit to Westons Cider Mill

By / 29th March, 2017 / General / No Comments

Diane and I were lucky enough to be offered a tour of Westons Cider in Much Marcle near Ledbury. On arrival, we were shown by Annie and Rose to the Orchard tea-rooms, where we enjoyed scones and cakes before our tour. Despite the rain, we were guided around the past and present ways of how they make ‘Westons Cider’. Part of the tour included the building in which the solid oak vats are stored. All the vats have names, but the two largest and oldest ones are called Pip and Squeak. We heard how cider is produced from the planting of the orchards through to the moment it is poured.

The award-winning Henry Weston Courtyard Garden is well worth stopping off to visit. Also, call into the converted 17th-century cowshed where there is a magnificent cider bottle collection – the largest in the world.

Although modern technology means shire horses are not needed at the cider mill, Ben and Prince are available to hire for weddings. In the meantime, the two resident horses are enjoying their days in the fields of Much Marcle

At the end of the tour, adults are invited to sample the wide selection of ciders and perries. There is a restaurant also.

Whether it’s a refreshing pint of Stowford Press in the summer or a warming mug of mulled cider in the winter, a visit to Westons Cider Mill is a perfect all year round day out.

If you feel like treating yourselves there is a choice of venues to eat. The Orchard Tea Rooms provide homemade cakes, lunches, afternoon teas and children’s lunch boxes. Alternatively, try the Scrumpy House Restaurant providing breakfast, lunch and Scrumpy Thursday.

Also available:
Tour Packages
Cider Shop
Free Play Park
Free Parking
Educational Visits


We can highly recommend Westons Cider it’s well worth visit and the tour. Events throughout the year so keep an eye on their website for more details.

Alice Charles



Trip to Hereford Cathedral

By / 27th March, 2017 / General / No Comments

Hereford CathedralDiane and I made an early morning visit to Hereford Cathedral. A service had just finished as we walked into the stunning building.

There has been a place of worship on the Cathedral site since at least the 8th century, although no part of any building earlier than the 11th-century bishop’s chapel survives.

The medieval Cathedral was not monastic; the governing body, known as the Dean and Chapter, were not monks but secular priests who led active lives in the world. They employed the Vicars Choral, a body of clergy who lived a collegiate life in the Vicars’ Cloister, to sing the daily services for them. It has been the home of many communities for well over 1,300 years.

Hereford Cathedral is one the main tourist attractions in Hereford. Housed on the Cathedral site is the Mappa Mundi, the only complete world map of its kind to have survived. It is now one of the Cathedral’s greatest treasures and a tourist attraction of international importance. Also to be visited is the Chained Library which is the world’s largest surviving example.

Within the Cathedral is a shop supplied with books, photos and souvenirs of your visit. Adjacent to the shop is a peaceful café looking out onto beautiful gardens which are also open to the public.

SAS Memorial

The Special Air Service has a unique relationship with Hereford Cathedral, the city, county and diocese.

Many parishes across the diocese have connections to the SAS Regiment – serving soldiers, retired members, support staff, families and friends.

To honour and celebrate this relationship, the SAS Regimental Association has commissioned artist John Maine RA to create an inspirational new sculpture and stained-glass window for Hereford Cathedral, which will be installed over the winter and unveiled in April 2017.

The installation will be called Ascension and will be a focus for reflection, pilgrimage and worship. It will act as a memorial and tribute to all who serve in and support the SAS – past, present and future – along with their families and friends. Ascension will also provide a spiritual place for reflection for all visitors to the cathedral, where people can reflect on their own lives and look forward with hope.

Alice Charles


International Day of Forests

By / 21st March, 2017 / General / No Comments

What is a forest?

In the later Middle Ages, monarchs developed hunting forests. These forests were not necessarily covered with trees but had a variety of landscape features. A forest is, in fact, a tract of land which is subject to the Forest Laws. This means that all proceeds went to the king and that only the royal household had the right to hunt.

Clearing and farming were forbidden, however, the king sometimes allowed nobles to have private forests called chases. These private hunting areas were subject to common law, however the lord of the manor had the exclusive right to hunt.

The Forest of Haye (Haywood) just south of Hereford, was a large royal forest during the Middle Ages and provided much of the timber for the building of Hereford Castle. In 1383 Richard II granted Hereford town 30 oaks from the King’s Forest of the Haye to repair the bridge across the Wye.

International Day of Forests

Today is International Day of Forests and is a global celebration of forests raising awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.

Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.

They are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.

They play a key role in our battle with climate change contributing to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. They protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.

Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The theme for this year “Forests and Climate Change” highlights forest-based solutions to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, and more broadly forests and sustainable development.

Today’s forests in Herefordshire

We are very fortunate to be situated in the beautiful Wye Valley surrounded by unspoilt countryside, forests and protected ancient woodlands. The Royal Forest of Dean is a short drive away and is one of England’s few remaining ancient forests, covering over 27,000 acres of ancient woodland and is officially designated as a National Forest Park.

Surrounding Hereford we are spoilt with swathes of woodland and forest providing wonderful walks for all abilities. Bring your mountain bikes, there are bike trails all over the county to enjoy.