Christmas rambles and roasts

With even higher levels of indulgence over the festive period, and particularly on Christmas Day, there’s nothing better than a walk in the fresh air to blow away the cobwebs. Fortunately, if you’re staying in Ross-on-Wye, whether town centre or on the outskirts, there is an abundance of walking routes where you can enjoy taking in the natural landscape and combine it with either a post or pre-lunchtime roast or evening meal.

Here are our top five suggestions for you to take in the Herefordshire countryside in and around the town with suggested pubs and inns where you can enjoy a well earned break. Details of all walks are available on the Walking in Ross website – click on the title of each walk to download the route map.

The Hope & Anchor

WALK #1: BUGGY ROUTE – a family, buggy and mobility scooter friendly route taking in the riverside and town centre

Length: ca 4 miles

Start: the Bandstand on Wye Street – you can either park in Wilton Road car park or on Wye Street itself.

Pub: either at the start or finish, try The Hope & Anchor, a cosy dog-friendly pub with wood burner and dog bowls or, alternatively, towards the end of the route, you will pass the Man of Ross Inn at the top of Wye Street, specialising in fish dishes and other delicious freshly prepared menu options (also dog-friendly).

Description: the route takes in the riverside footpath along the Rope Walk where you can also enjoy the Linear Arboretum, comprising over 200 trees which line the adjacent green spaces. Follow the path which passes the Rowing Club and you’ll find yourself at the bottom Trenchard Street where you head over the road onto a small bridge leading to the Halo Leisure Centre (you’ll see Aldi on the other side of the car park). The route then heads towards Grammar School Close via Millpond Street, Ryefield Road and Gloucester Road in the centre of town. Pick up the Town and Country route before following the directions which eventually lead to St Mary’s Church where you can take in the beautiful views from The Prospect. Heading down Church Street, you will finally come to the end of the route passing the Man of Ross Inn at the top of Wye Street where you can enjoy a well deserved drink or a bite to eat.

Backney Bridge

WALK #2: BESIDE THE WYE – a gentle, mostly flat, walk via Brampton Abbots, with one short sharp climb (the view over Ross and May Hill are worth it though!)

Length: ca 4 miles

Pub: as for the Buggy Route, The Hope & Anchor is the perfect starting or finishing point.

Start: the Bandstand on Wye Street – you can either park in Wilton Road car park or on Wye Street itself.

Description: following the riverside path towards the Rowing Club, the route will take you over the Rudhall Brook bridge and left along the riverside towards the fields, passing under the A40 dual carriageway – don’t forget to take your camera as you look back towards Ross for the iconic view of the town with St Mary’s Church steeple in the background. Along the route, you can also enjoy plenty of wildlife including buzzards, egrets, kingfishers and many other wild birds. Following the map, you’ll reach the old Hereford to Ross railway line leading to the Backney Bridge ramparts (now inaccessible but standing proud in the River Wye). As you loop back, you’ll pass Townsend Farm, the pretty 800 year old St Michael’s Church and a picturesque little valley towards Brampton Road. You will eventually pass through Greytree and back onto the Rope Walk where you can enjoy a relaxing break at the Hope & Anchor.

Viewpoint from Coppett Hill

WALK #3: COPPETT HILL – a moderate walk with some inclines, stiles and a gate – plus fabulous views so make sure you pack your camera.

Length: ca 6 miles

Pub: drive to The Hostelrie at Goodrich or the Inn on the Wye – both cosy, welcoming and perfect for a relaxing roast.

Start: Goodrich Castle car park

Description: this picturesque walk starts at Goodrich Castle which is also worth a visit so you may want to incorporate this into your schedule before or after your walk. This route, however, takes in amazing views over Kerne Bridge, Coppett Hill (one of the largest commons in Herefordshire), Symonds Yat and Wales – with possible sightings of peregrine falcons if you time your walk during their nesting season. Passing the pretty St Margaret’s Church you will descend and shortly arrive back into Goodrich village where you can relax in either the local Hostelrie at Goodrich or drive over to the Inn on the Wye at Kerne Bridge.

The Loughpool, Sellack

WALK #4: KING’S CAPLE – a few miles outside of Ross town centre, this circular walk takes in the River Wye and lots of pretty landmarks, bridges and churches.

Length: ca 5 miles

Pub: The Loughpool, a lovely black and white timbered inn located in Sellack with an impressive menu delivered by chef, Paul Franklin. Alternatively, a short drive away, is The New Harp Inn at Hoarwithy, a great option for a relaxing meal post-walk.

Start: drive to St John the Baptist Church at King’s Caple and park on one of the wide grass verges.

Description: this interesting walk passes plenty of local historical landmarks en route and conveniently passes The Loughpool, one of the prettiest country pubs in the area. Starting at the church, you will pass Kings Caple Court and the village school which take you through orchards and a footpath over the River Wye near The Boat House where a centuries-old ferry service operated between Kings Caple and Sellack. Passing the pretty little church of St Tysilio, you will then make your way through a series of fields and footpaths (make sure you’re wearing wellies!) which eventually lead to Hoarwithy and back to Kings Caple.

The Weston Cross, Weston under Penyard

WALK #5: PENYARD HILL – a circular walk of moderate difficulty incorporating 10 stiles over Penyard Hill to Weston under Penyard and back over the meadows to Ross.

Length: ca 6 miles

Pub: The Weston Cross located at Weston under Penyard is the perfect stop-off en route with Sunday roasts including Herefordshire beef or faggots supplied by local award winning Hank’s Meat & Game.

Start: from Ross town centre, drive or walk to Fernbank Road car park at the start of the Town and Country Trail (HR9 5PP).

Description: this lovely walk incorporates part of the local Town and Country Trail, around the perimeter of Ross, taking in Merrivale Nature Reserve, Penyard Park, farms, fields and forest tracks. This route is perfect for photographers with an abundance of wildlife, birds and scenery to take in – as well as viewpoints over Ross and The Skirrid plus the impressive St Lawrence Church. The route can become quite muddy in places so don’t forget to wear sturdy walking boots or wellies.

St Lawrence Church, Weston under Penyard