Archive for the ‘Short Breaks’ Category


Thursday, October 6th, 2011

hopshopsDwarf hops

Beer probably reached this country in the C15th, and although Kent is more famous for hop-growing than this area, the hopyards of Herefordshire have also been in cultivation for hundreds of years. The female flowers or cones, are used in the brewing of beer to give it its distinctive bitter taste. The Woodhouse used to grow hops when it was still a working farm and we have found many hop tokens with which the workers were paid, as well as the metal spikes which were used to peg down the hop strings. We have converted two hopkilns or oasthouses as they are called in Kent, and a hopbarn (where the hop pockets were filled with the hops after they been dried in the kilns), into the property called Daubentons. Early Autumn is the time of the year when the countryside becomes permeated with the scent of the fresh hops, and long strings or bines, as they are called, are put up in hotels and pubs as decorations. Nowadays many of the hopyards grow dwarf hops as they are more resistant to hopwilt than the tall traditional hop plants. Hops have a greater variety of uses than just brewing, however. They can be used in pot pourri, to aid sleep and even as environmentally-friendly confetti! Click on the photos to go to the Bromyard Hop Festival website.

Herefordshire Cherries

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

cherries2cherries3cherries1This year’s cherries have been absolutely wonderful. They only have a short season of perhaps a month, but they are worth waiting for, and during those few short weeks, one can stuff oneself to one’s heart’s content. Herefordshire is well-known for its fruit; apples and pears, blackcurrants, strawberries and raspberries, but my favourites must be the cherries. It nearly broke our hearts recently to welcome guests to the cottages who had a delivery from Tesco containing strawberries (from Staffordshire) and cherries (from TURKEY!!) when our lovely county has such fantastic fresh, locally-produced fruit and they were both in season. How could they DO it? Click on the photos to take you through to the VisitHerefordshire website.

Mappa Mundi and Chained Library

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

mappamundi1mappamundi2chainedlibraryDescribed by a leading scholar as “the most remarkable illustrated English manuscript of any kind” the Mappa Mundi is the largest medieval map of the world still in existence. Once thought to have been made in Lincoln, it is now considered to have been drawn in Hereford itself, and in the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibition at Hereford Cathedral, one can still see the map itself and the ancient board upon which it may well have originally been stretched. Dating from about 1300, it is not intended to be geographically accurate; it is oriented literally, with the Orient or East at the top of the map, Jerusalem in the middle and Rome below it on the same axis. You would certainly get lost trying to follow it as Africa is labelled Europe and vice versa! Made of vellum (calf skin), seas, rivers, cities and buildings are marked, and also strange creatures and peoples (including a mermaid and people with four eyes) and Biblical events. The entire exhibition is fascinating and well worth a visit.  Click on the photos to take you to the website.

Beer on the Wye VII

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011


Hereford’s Beer and Cider Festival will take place this year on July 8th-10th. On show will be over 140 real beers from all corners of the UK, over 40 from around the world and 99 ciders and perries. This is really impressive as every one of the 99 are made by Herefordshire producers. Held on a meadow by the River Wye in Hereford at the Rowing Club, the festival is organised by Herefordshire CAMRA, but it is also possible to buy soft drinks onsite, including the Festival Fruit Punch, made to a secret recipe. This will be particularly welcome on Sunday, which is Family Fun day and includes activities for younger members of the family. There is musical entertainment on all three days, from Dixieland Jazz to Bluegrass and Gipsy Jazz, and exhibitions including the Heritage pubs of Herefordshire. Click on the photos to take you to the website.

The Butchers Arms at Eldersfield

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

butchersarms3butchers-arms1butchersarms2Only accommodating twelve people to dine, The Butchers Arms is nevertheless a fantastic place to eat and you will need to book to make sure of your place. (Lunches are bookings only and it’s advisable to book for dinner.)  There are two rooms, both simply furnished. It is informal, and serving a selection of Real Ales, it is popular with drinkers as well as those who seek it out to eat there, but it’s worth finding. The menu is seasonal, uses the best local ingredients (including wild salmon from the River Wye caught the traditional way) and is prepared daily. Some examples from the menu - Bath chaps with crackling and Bramley sauce (starter), Roasted aged rib of Hereford Beef with roasted potato cake, braised red cabbage and Evesham asparagus, and Baked vanilla and honey cheesecake with pistachio ice cream. Delicious. Click on the photos to take you to the website. To make a reservation, ring 01452 840381.

Croft Castle

Thursday, May 26th, 2011


The castle, or rather, castellated manor house,  has been a home for nearly 1000 years, with connections going back to 1066 but with Georgian  interiors. There are interesting stories to learn about the Croft family, for example, how they sold the castle in the C18th and then bought it back again in the early C20th. Now looked after by the National Trust, family members still live there. It has woodland, farm and parkland and a walled garden but is particularly well-known for its old trees, Spanish Chestnuts, oaks and beeches, and it is one of the most important sites in North west Europe for veteran trees and dead wood invertebrates. There are events and activities held at the castle and it is also possible to visit Croft Ambrey, an Iron Age hill fort from there. Click on the photos to visit the website.

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The Woodhouse, Staplow Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1NP. Phone: 01531 640030