If you’re wondering how to escape the heat of the day this summer, make your way up to St Mary’s church, Ross-on-Wye and explore the Hedgehog Trail.
Spike – an eight foot high hedgehog – is currently taking shelter in the church. He made his debut at this year’s Ross Carnival and joins many other hedgehogs that can be seen as part of the church’s ‘Archie’s Hedgehog Trail’.
The hedgehog is an ancient emblem of Ross-on-Wye, which dates back to 450 AD and links to an ancient kingdom called ‘Archenfield’ (Land of Urchins). Hedgehogs were called ‘urchins’ before the sixteenth century. The residents of Archenfield were excellent archers who were employed as mercenaries in various royal armies from the ninth century up to and including King Henry VIII’s reign.
In St Mary’s church, there are hedgehog icons that date back to the seventeenth century on old family crests (Kyrle and Abrahall) up to more recent memorials including the Boar War and WWII. The Hedgehog Trail offers a fascinating glimpse into Ross-on-Wye’s social history.
An annual Hedgehog Festival is held in September each year. This year, the Festival will be held on Sunday sixteenth September from 11am – 4pm down by the Hope & Anchor pub next to the River Wye. It is Ross-on-Wye’s ‘green’ festival – providing an opportunity to learn more about hedgehogs, buy plants, arts and crafts made from natural materials, find out how to entice bees, butterflies and hedgehogs into your garden as well as participate in lots of nature-based activities and for all age groups (including the grown-ups).
An enthusiastic group of volunteers are helping the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to educate local businesses in Ross-on-Wye on reducing (or discontinuing) ‘unnecessary plastic’ use, especially the takeaway cups, plastic straws, plastic cutlery and stirrers, plastic plates, condiment sachets, plastic bottles and plastic bags they give to customers with food orders. They are celebrating an early success because already The Royal Hotel, Kings Head Hotel, Leonards at 39 and Truffles Delicatessen have said ‘No to Unnecessary Plastic!’
So, whilst one group concentrates on single use plastic in businesses, another group, Your Unnecessary Plastic (YUP!), is focusing on how we can all change our shopping habits to reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic going into landfill. Each month YUP! volunteers write a column in the Ross Gazette which identifies an everyday item and lists an alternative (unnecessary plastic) option for readers to try as well as providing them with a recipe to make their own. YUP! is also asking local people to contribute their ideas, recipes and recommendations.
There are also many other related initiatives in Ross-on-Wye:
DRINKING WATER REFILLS: we have an incredible number of shops and cafés providing free drinking water refills – just ask! Help reduce landfill and the cost to your pocket!
UPCYCLING: there are over 18 independent shops in the town centre that sell a wonderful range of quality up-cycled goods. Check out our ‘Vintage Shopping Trail’ https://visitrossonwye.com/
RECYCLING: we also have many different charity shops that sell a wide range of affordable pre-loved items.
RESTORING: our local Men’s Shed restores many different items for individual customers, including those they can sell on to the public. The Ross Men’s Shed can be found at Unit 4 on the Ashburton Industrial Estate, directly opposite Aqua Heat. @RossonWyeMensShed
REFURBISHING: volunteers refurbish bicycles and sell them from their site at the Overross Garage, Ledbury Road, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 7AS (next door to the Plough Inn and opposite the new Co-op supermarket).
LITTER PICKING: we are so proud of the work of the ‘Clean Up Crew’ which comprises another enthusiastic group of local people who go around the town picking up litter. Ross-on-Wye is leading a quiet revolution in reducing unnecessary plastic! Come and enjoy exploring our beautiful town. www.facebook.com/Ross-Community-Litter-Clean-up-Crew-2110316285922390/
The hot weather brought out the crowds all over the town. England’s recent progress in the World Cup seemed to add a touch of euphoria-in-the-sun, even for non football fans.
We took the dog for a walk and within half-an-hour we were tapping our feet to the Cinderford Town brass band performing at the Wye Street bandstand. I think if Michael Jackson descended from the sky he’d have approved the band’s rendition of ‘Thriller’.
Loads of cars were parked and the riverside crammed with picnic lovers, sunbathers, and music lovers. Strolling along to Wilton Bridge, an Oasis soundalike was belting out ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ from the White Lion pub over the river. Oasis followed us as we let the dog have a swim and then headed down towards the cricket ground.
The annual Country Music Festival has grown and grown year by year.with camper vans parked mudguard to mudguard and country music fans line dancing with utter commitment amid the cowboy hats and boots, We were worried a little as Oasis was still echoing across river but as we entered the main arena the band weighed in with ‘Hey Good Lookin” and Oasis was forgotten.
With the Linton festival almost upon us and a host of gigs all over the town and surrounding areas, Ross-on-Wye truly is a musical town down by the riverside.
All we need now is for someone to start a proper folk club and I might be persuaded to get my guitar out and bring back my glory days.
Man of Ross, John Kyrle’s, life has been brought to life by the children of local John Kyrle High School in collaboration with Mark Sanderson.
Click on the link to be taken back in film 380 years. John Kyrle was born in 1637 and moved to Ross in 1660. That was the same year the King Charles II came to the throne of England after the 11 years that the country spent without a monarch.
The BBC’s flagship country issues magazine programme Countryfile featured the county of Herefordshire on Sunday 30th October.
Perry pear trees featured heavily as the programme opened with Matt Baker savouring the mouth-watering pear cider and the alchemy of its production at Much Marcle. Because eating raw perry pears straight off the tree will make your ‘mouth pucker’, Matt Baker grimaced when he tried one with pears that have been grown in Herefordshire for generations with their own names and history.
The festive season kicks off with a bang when the grand switch-on of the Christmas lights turns Ross-on-Wye into a winter wonderland (not necessarily with snow on the ground).
The date for visitors and locals alike to remember is Sunday November 20th 2016. At four o’clock the town will be transformed with a multicoloured display of seasonal illuminations.
Santa Claus will park his reindeer where they won’t be seen by inquisitive children and sets up his grotto in The Market House at 11am. But the reindeers do make an appearance during their lunch break between 12-2pm.
There will be stalls, games and music to cheer the crowd.
So, do join Santa and the gang to see in the Christmas season in style.