Friday, 04 September 2015


Discover the delightful black and white villages of Herefordshire

Written by Wendy Gomersall
A long weekend offers just enough leisure time to get away and explore some of our glorious countryside. Head for Herefordshire and you’ll find the delightful Black & White Village Trail around some of the region’s gorgeous villages, most of which have timber-framed, chocolate box-style buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Starting with the most beautiful centre, I’d have to pick Weobley, which was founded on the lucrative medieval wool trade. Then Eardisland, which has been called the prettiest village in Herefordshire, though it has plenty of competition.

In Leominster, head for Grange Court, the wonderful market hall built in 1633 by John Abel, architect of many timber-framed buildings. He was born in Sarnesfield in 1577 and buried there after his death at the ripe old age of 97. Charles I awarded him the title of King’s Carpenter in 1645.

Timber-framed houses are common here, thanks to the abundance of oak trees, nicknamed ‘Herefordshire weeds’ – standard building material before bricks. The beams were originally left to age gracefully but it was the Victorians who turned them black. The trail is around 40 miles long and you can drive around at your own pace, visiting other tourist attractions as you go.

A car audio tour can be bought from Marches Tours & Talks for just £5, at www.

Do stop for coffee at Monkland Cheese Dairy, where you can taste yummy cheese before buying some to take home. Watch out for roadside signs offering fruit, quails’ eggs and other farm produce, too. Westonbury Mill Water Gardens, Dunkertons Cider Mill and the Small Breeds Farm Park and Owl Centre are also near Kington. Take afternoon tea at the quirky Ye Olde Steppes tearooms in Pembridge – housed in one of the black and white buildings, of course.

The place to stay is one of Farm Stays’ featured properties, award-winning Lowe Farm, just outside the centre of Pembridge. Expect a warm welcome (especially from Lottie, the owners’ sweetheart doggie) and well-equipped rooms with tea-making amenities and flat-screen TVs. An enormous full English breakfast is served up with delicious local bacon, eggs and sausages.

Lowe Farm also has its own hot tub, the perfect place to relax after a day’s walking, and there’s a candlelit garden gazebo with farmland views across to the Black Mountains.

Getting there
B&B at Lowe Farm, including full English breakfast, costs from £78 to £110 per room per night, depending on which of the five rooms you choose. 02476-696909,

Contact Wendy at
Prices are correct at the time of going to press.

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