Heritage > Counties > England

Hereford and Worcester

A mainly agricultural county in West Central England. The famous Hereford cattle are named after this region.

It's natural features include the famous Malvern Hills with it's highest peak being the Worcester Beacon which is 1,395 feet above sea level.

The main towns in the county, formed in 1974, are Worcester, Hereford, Kidderminster, Evesham, Ross-on-Wye and Ledbury. The county was formed by the merging of Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

As with the majority of England's southern counties the principal products emanating from the county are agricultural in nature. Apples and Pears are the main crops with the famous 'Scrumpy' cider being an ever popular by-product of them.

The town of Droitwich was once a Victorian spa and lies over a subterranean brine reservoir with waters bouyant enough to keep a laden tea tray afloat.

Famous sons and daughters of Hereford and Worcester include Sir Edward Elgar, the composer, and John Masefield.

Facts on the region

Origin of name: Comes from the Old English for army ford, that is one wide enough for an army to cross.

Name first recorded: c.1038 as Herefordscir.

County Motto: Pulchra Terra Dei Donum (This Fair Land is the Gift of God).

County Town: HEREFORD A commanding position over the Wye, and home to Bulmer's cider. It's said that all the cattle in America descend from one original Herefordshire bull. Bull? Well that's what they say.

County Rivers: Wye, Frome, Lugg, Teme.

Highest point: In the Black Mountains at 2,306 feet.

Hereford's local government: The County of Herefordshire is administered by a single-tier Herefordshire County Council. Rochford is Herefordshire detached in Worcestershire in a two-tier structure with Worcestershire County and Malvern Hills District Councils. Fwthog is Herefordshire detached in Monmouthshire under that County's unitary council. Litton is Herefordshire in Radnorshire administered by Powys unitary council. Farlow is Herefordshire detached in Shropshire under a two-tier system of Shropshire County Council and Bridgnorth District Council.

The local landscape

Herefordshire is a gently county of low green hills, hedgerows and hop yards, orchards and woodlands. Its rich soil was formed from old sandstone and not only produces the glorious fruit of the county but also provides splendid pasture for the great herds of cattle for which Hereford is famous.

From the Black Mountains, in the west, where sheep and cattle graze on the slopes, and the ridges begin their steady ascent into Wales, the county extends across central lowlands to the steep Malvern Hills, lying along the Severn Plain in the east. To the south are the Gloucestershire Cotswolds; to the north, the borderlands of Shropshire.

Flowing through the county is the glorious River Wye, wandering in wide loops on its course from Plynlimon to Chepstow, and at its most dramatic at Symonds Yat, where it passes through a deep gorge protected by soaring , forested cliffs. Here, at the northern point of the Forest of Dean, Yat Rock sits 400 feet above the water and provides a safe home for the noble peregrine falcon.

Local Towns and Villages

GOODRICH Fashionable village nestling in the Wye Valley with ruined castle that dates way back, one time home of the Earls of Shrewsbury and Earls and Dukes of Kent. Dismantled in the Civil War, the view from its keep across to the Malvern Hills and Welsh Mountains is a sheer delight.

KINGTON Unpretentious old border market town with a 17th-century school built of stone. The nearby gardens of Hergest Croft are well worth a detour.

LEDBURY A classic border market town, with its timber-framed Tudor and Stuart buildings crowding the streets - especially impressive in the cobbled Church Lane, which leads into the High Street and its black-and-white Market House on oak stilts. Another detached belltower can be found in this attractive town - 1 200-foot construction belonging to the parish church, St Michael and All Angels.

LEOMINSTER Pronounced Lemster. Once-thriving wool and leather town with some find timber-framed buildings and a 17th-century Town Hall.

ROSS-ON-WYE Was made a free borough by Henry III and is a main centre for cattle and cider. It has two distinctive main streets both about 1/2 mile long that cross each other in the middle.

WEOBLEY Was an important medieval borough and is still a sizeable village today. Eye-catching old houses line the main streets and the church has an elegant spire capping the church's very tall tower.





Places to Visit

Berrington Hall, Leominster

Eastnor Castle, Ledbury

Dinmore Manor, Hereford

Goodrich Castle,Ross-on-Wye

Croft Castle, Leominster

Hergest Croft Gardens, Kington


April: Ross-on-Wye celebrates the good old-fashioned pint in style with its Real Ale Festival.

Early May: Spring fever hits Hereford with the arrival of the May Fair, a riot of crafts, song and dance from the High Town to the Wye Bridge.? Ö June: Herefordshire shares the Three Counties Show, which is held in Great Malvern in Worcestershire, with the counties of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

July: The market town of Bromyard, at the foot of the Bromyard Downs, hosts the annual Much Marcle Steam Gala of machinery from the past.

Mid-Late August: Hereford takes its turn every three years to host the Three Choirs Festival, held since 1715 and performed by the choirs of Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford cathedrals.

September: Bromyard's streets are filled with music for the annual autumn Folk Festival.

October: It's harvest time and the gathering-in of hops is celebrated at Ledbury's annual Hop Fair, and in a host of other events in Big Apple Country.

Famous names from the region

Comedy actress Beryl Reid was born in Hereford in 1936 and went on to fame in films such as The Killing of Sister George in 1966 and No Sex Please, We're British in 1973.

Symonds Yat provided a magnificent backdrop for scenes in the film Shadowlands, the true story of CS Lewis and his relationship with Joy Gresham starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

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