Hedgehog Trail in Ross-on-Wye

by Yolande Watson

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).



Ross-on-Wye is reducing unnecessary plastic

by Yolande Watson

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/

WUP! media sites:

Michael Jackson, Oasis and Hank Williams are in the air tonight

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.

Oldschool Shopping

Ditch The Mouse (and go oldschool shopping in Ross On Wye)

Like many towns in modern Britain. Ross On Wye has roads lined with shops, some of which struggle to make ends meet. They blame all sorts of things for this. Out of town supermarkets and shopping malls, brexit, the wrong type of leaves on the pavement, etc etc. But the weird thing is, people are still shopping, perhaps more than ever. So why are shops going dark?. It all boils down to one thing. The rise of clickbait on that damn interwebby thingamajig. Continue reading

Magic On The Ears

Another unforgettable night at The Gig Club was experienced by an appreciative crowd last Saturday 26th May. Once again the venue was ‘The Venue’ on Hill Street, Ross town centre.

On the bill was award winning Canadian singer songwriter Ian Sherwood, whose latest UK tour wound up in Ross On Wye. But this was no end of season wind down, because Ian was on top form and treated the audience to a spellbinding set. Continue reading

A Summer of Festivals, Music and Sport in Ross 2018

There’s a lot to look forward to this year in and around Ross. From May to September there are a series of amazing events to entertain you. Loads of live music, some drinking, a bit of art, a spot of sport and lots of fun to be had and this is just a taste as other events will be slotted in as the summer goes on. Be sure to keep an eye on http://www.playross.com for up to date information on what is going on in this lively town. We can’t wait to welcome you to our party. To find out more read on…….

Photo credit Ross-on-Wye Town Carnival

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Open Gardens around Ross 2018

For gardening enthusiasts there are a wide variety of lovingly tended gardens open to the public near Ross this summer. Set in the beautiful landscapes of Herefordshire they are a real treat and visiting them helps raise money for charity. Relax and enjoy looking at the hard work of others, take inspiration from their efforts and, in most instances, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake. The information for this blog comes from the National Garden Scheme, Herefordshire Open Gardens for Charity booklet, which is widely available from tourism information sites. For more information go to http://www.ngs.org.uk Numbers in brackets correspond to the number of the garden in the NGS booklet. Some gardens are open by prior appointment only.

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How to Set Up an Innovative Tourism Network in your Town!


In 2013, Herefordshire County Council (HCC) closed Ross-on-Wye’s Tourist Information Centre (TIC) so, whilst the local Town Council was in negotiations with asset transfers, a local resident with a handful of Ross shops took it into their own hands to share visitor information and stock leaflets to those visiting the town.

However, over the next two years, local traders were becoming frustrated with tourists asking for visitor information and visitors were complaining that they didn’t know where to go to find out what was going on in Ross-on-Wye

What did we do?

Behind the scenes, an accomplice and I were galvanised into action after witnessing more than 15 shops close in November- December 2015. During a late night conversation, we talked about the resources and the options available.

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A Night at the Theatre in Ross

If you haven’t booked tickets yet for “All Things Considered” I suggest you do, as you wouldn’t want to miss this highly entertaining production of Ben Brown’s tragic-comedy.

I have to admit it is a while since I last saw a play at The Phoenix Theatre in Ross and I definitely won’t leave it so long before I go again. For a small provincial and amateur company the bar is set high and the audience is never left squirming in its seats as a result of poor performance or production values.

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