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Herefordshire Beacon, Walking In Herefordshire, England, UK

Herefordshire Beacon - Walking In Herefordshire

Herefordshire Beacon, Walking In Herefordshire was about 8 miles in distance. The terrain of the route included woodland paths, some short turf, hills which were sometimes steep and some short lane and road sections.

Apparently, the Herefordshire Beacon was likely to have been the inspiration for Weathertop in the books of “Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolklen. This lovely walk spanned over three counties and also included Ragged Stone Hill and Chase End Hill, which are the most southern and least visited hills of the Malverns. Between them nestles the idyllic hamlet of Whlteleaved Oak. On the walk there were also two Iron Age hill forts on Midsummer Hill and the spectacular British Camp on the top of Herefordshire Beacon.

Starting from the British Camp car park in Herefordshire off the A449 not far from Little Malvern, the route headed south along a winding route. First around the eastern side of Broad Down, over Hangman’s Hill and around the eastern side of Swinyard Hill to The Gullet.

The route continued winding its way southwards along paths through woodland and over hills, first over Midsummer Hill, then passing Hollybush and going over Ragged Stone Hill to Whiteleaved Oak.

Next the route went in a southwards anti-clockwise loop over Chase End Hill, returning via a different route slightly to the east before heading northwards back towards Hollybush.

To complete the walk the route wound its way northward to the west of the initial outbound section, back to the start via Gullet Wood, Swinyard Hill, Millennium Hill and Herefordshire Beacon.

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Herefordshire Beacon, Walking In Herefordshire Route

The Herefordshire Beacon, Walking In Herefordshire route looks like a figure of eight walk plus a loop with four legs.

Leg 1

This first leg headed south along a winding route of footpaths and woodlands. First around the eastern side of Broad Down, over Hangman’s Hill and around the eastern side of Swinyard Hill to The Gullet.

  1. We went through the car park to the bottom and through a gate along a tarmac footpath, which was the lowest of three footpaths.
  2. We descended Tinker’s Hill through woodland, passed a reservoir, where the path changed to brick then stone, and went right across a brook where the path forked.
  3. We then walked around the side of Broad Down and then took the second path on the right as we approached a farm.
  4. Following the path we then climbed Hangman’s Hill, turned right at a junction and then left at the next junction.
  5. Just after passing a Pink Cottage we went left on a track, following it all the way to Berrow Downs where, near the car park, we turned first right along a tarmac path.
  6. We walked along the path to The Gullet to pass to the left of the quarry lake to meet a wide track.

Leg 2

Having done about 2 miles, the second leg continued winding its way southwards along paths through woodland and over hills, first over Midsummer Hill, then passing Hollybush and going over Ragged Stone Hill to Whiteleaved Oak.

  1. We turned right along the wide track, then where a path joined from the right and where the path starts to narrow, we turned left climbing steeply up Midsummer Hill through woodland.
  2. On reaching a junction we turned right, then soon after we went left through a break in the ramparts to the summit.
  3. We then descended Midsummer Hill, heading southwards to Hollybush and passing a concrete shelter on our left, passing through some scrub then woodland and finally across open land through a metal gate to the A438 road.
  4. We turned right along the A438 for a short distance to a gate on the left which gave us access to Ragged Stone Hill.
  5. Here we took the left hand path and climbed through bracken to the summit plateau.
  6. We then walked along the length of the hill and descended the other side beside a rocky spine and passed through woodland.
  7. Where the path forked by a waymarker, we followed the left branch and descended to meet a track where we turned right to a lane at Whiteleaved Oak.

Leg 3

After already walked 3.5 miles, the third leg went in a southwards anti-clockwise loop before heading north on a short section. The leg first headed south to Chase End Hill and returned via a different route slightly to the east before heading northwards back towards Hollybush.

  1. We first turned right along a lane, following it round to the left then taking the first path on the left, which passed a property on the left and gave access to Chase End Hill.
  2. We followed this main path through a gully, through a gate and climbed to the triangulation point on the summit of Chase End Hill.
  3. We then descended, following the path southwards and where we met a cross-path near a fenced wood we turned left in to the wood with the fence on our right.
  4. We followed the path northwards through woodland along the east side of Chase End Hill, passing through three gates until we reached a lane.
  5. Here we turned left along the lane back towards Whiteleaved Oak and Ragged Stone Hill.
  6. We turned right uphill along a path, one we used earlier, going right at a fork, one we passed earlier, and following the path round the side of the hill and downwards to reach the A438 road at Hollybush.

Leg 4

Having already done 5.5 miles, the forth and final leg was a northward winding route to the west of leg one, back to the start via Gullet Wood, Swinyard Hill, Millennium Hill and Herefordshire Beacon.

  1. We turned left along the road to return to the point where the road meets the path on which we descended from Midsummer Hill.
  2. Here we turned right, taking the track just to the left of the path we descended from, going through a gate and slightly uphill on a tarmac surface, signed to “Peacock Villa”.
  3. When we reached a junction of paths by the entrance to Eastnor Park, we went diagonally right, continuing roughly in the same direction, into Gullet Wood.
  4. We follow the track until just before a cattle grid, where we veered to the right to pass through a gate and through woodland to eventually climb up Swinyard Hill.
  5. We then followed “Shire Ditch”, a 13th-century earthwork, northwards along a crooked spine of hills, over Hangman’s Hill and Broad Down.
  6. On reaching a round stone route indicating pillar we turned left to climb through the ramparts of British Camp which embraces Millennium Hill and Herefordshire Beacon.
  7. Finally, we crossed over the top of Herefordshire Beacon to follow the obvious stone steps and tarmac path downwards until we returned to the car park off the A449.

When Done & With Whom

I did this hike with my partner Anne whilst on a Tewkesbury hiking holiday during August 2011. We drove from our holiday accommodation in Tewkesbury in Worcestershire to the starting location of British Camp car park in Herefordshire off the A449 which was also the start location of the hike.

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