The Hay Ho! Bus offers lots of opportunities for a great day out, whether that’s walking in the Golden Valley or the Black Mountains, or spending a day shopping in Hereford! Over the coming months we will be posting suggested walks and ideas for days out using the bus. Have an idea you would like to see featured on this page? Please get in touch!
HARDWICKE TO HAY WALK
This is quite a short (4 mile) linear walk, but very little of it is on flat ground until the final stretch on the road, and there are several quite noticeable climbs.
START: Hardwicke Church, SO 270438
FINISH: Hay Castle bus stop, Oxford Road, Hay-on-Wye, SO 230423
MAP: All of the walk is on the OS 1:25000 map OL13
DIRECTIONS: The bus goes very close to Hardwicke Church., which is clearly visible from the road.
If coming from Hay the church is on the left about half a mile after the bus turns right at Hardwicke
Turn onto the B 4348. Ask the driver to stop as close to the church as convenient.
If coming from Hereford the church is about half a mile after the house ‘Bricklands’ on the right. Very soon after a large cream coloured house on the right there is a turning on the left where the driver can pull in to let you off. The church is now visible ahead just off the bus route on the right.
1 The church is an interesting example of a complete Victorian church (not a restoration of an older church). Assuming you have visited the church, leave the churchyard through the lychgate and head half left across a field to a stile leading to the road. Cross the road with care, turn left and very soon right down a smaller road. When you reach buildings fork left along a track to a gate. Once through this, turn right along a bridleway (blue arrow), not the footpath just to its left (yellow arrow). After quite a while the track passes a gate on the right with a house with chimneys close by. Keep going to pass another gate on the right, then a third. Immediately after this one, turn right down a smaller (unsigned) track which keeps close to the hedge with a field visible through it. Cross a broken gate and soon reach a stile on the right. Cross this into a field.
2 Head down the field to the right hand corner, go through a gateway or over a stile and continue with a hedge on your right through another gateway. Soon pick up a track going down between a house on your left and a barn on your right. Go across a lane and through a gate into a field. Continue ahead towards another house (Mill Cottage). Turn left just before a cattle grid over a footbridge, then turn right and up the middle of the field ahead. Go through a gate at the edge of woodland, then ahead but slightly right to reach some trees. Turn left to the gate in the corner of the field, go through this and up the field next to the hedge on your right. Cross a stile to a road, turn right, then immediately left over another stile.
3 Walk up the field, aiming for the right hand edge of farm buildings ahead. Go through the right hand one of two gates, then very soon turn left through another gate on to the farm drive. Cross this and go through a gate into a field. Veer left to yet another gate; once through this head straight up the long slope and at the top turn right, then soon left through another gate. Walk up next to a hedge on your right, passing a house. This is the last climb of the walk! Cross a stile at the end of the field, turn right, cross a lane and go down a track and through a gate into Mouse Castle Wood. This is an ancient wood now owned by the Woodland Trust; there is a motte and bailey near where you enter the wood but the mound is now very overgrown. Turn left. Later keep left at a fork, continuing downhill. Leave the wood over a stile and go straight down the field to a kissing gate leading to a road. Turn right and walk down to the main road. Cross over with care and turn left to walk just over half a mile into Hay (or, if returning to Hereford, you can wait at one of the bus stops on this road). Oxford Road bus stop (for Hereford) is opposite the large car park on the left and next to Hay Castle on the right.
Download the directions for the Hardwicke to Hay Walk as an easy-to-print pdf file
VOWCHURCH OR POSTON MILL TO DORSTONE WALK
This is a moderate 5½ mile (6 if you choose option 8(b)) linear walk, following for the most part the Herefordshire Trail. (If starting at Poston Mill, this shortens the walk by about ¾ mile.) There is one quite hard climb (two for the longer option). The walk visits the quiet villages and hamlets of Vowchurch, Turnastone and Snodhill as well as the larger settlements of the valley, Peterchurch and Dorstone. There are refreshments at Peterchurch (the Boughton Arms Inn, currently open on Sundays from 12 – 3 pm for food and all day for drinks) and at Dorstone (the Pandy Inn, currently open on Sundays except between 3 and 6 pm).
START: Vowchurch Turn, SO 364367 or Poston Mill Park, SO 356371
FINISH: Pandy Inn, Dorstone SO 313417
MAP: All of the walk is on the OS 1:25000 map OL13
The walk starts at Vowchurch Turn or you can join it at Poston Mill Country Holiday Park (in which case start at section 2(b) below). If coming by bus from Hay the stop at Vowchurch Turn is just after passing Poston Mill Caravan Park on the right. If coming from Hereford the stop is very soon after the left turning to Pontrilas and Abbeydore.
1 From the bus stop at Vowchurch Turn cross the road (if coming from Hay) with care and walk down to the church, seen on the left in a serene setting by the River Dore. The church, like the others on this walk, is worth a visit, and another interesting feature at Vowchurch is just inside the churchyard – the grave on the left nearest the path is that of Skeffington Dodgson, who would probably be completely unknown today were it not for the fact that he was one of the younger brothers of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). There is an interesting little display about Skeffington inside the church. Continue on the road over the River Dore. By the sign for Turnastone, the next village, there is a slight hump in the road on the line of the old Golden Valley Railway, which used to run from Pontrilas to Hay. Soon you pass on the left Turnastone Court Farm, part of the Countryside Restoration Trust and including water meadows (on your right) untouched for centuries. When you approach the simple medieval church on the right look for a gate and finger post on the right just before the church. Before going through this look ahead on the road to the two old petrol pumps in the garden of a house, which contains a small shop open during the week. The house, including the petrol pumps, is a listed building.
2(a) Go through the gate mentioned above (by the church) into a field, then through another gate and on close to the river on your right. At the end of the field go through a gate and turn left. 2(b) If starting at Poston Mill, leave the reception office and turn right. Go down to the river and across the bridge, then through a gate.
3 Walk away from Poston Mill with a little stream on your right. After a while, cross a stile and turn right to join the Herefordshire Trail. Your route continues for about a mile just to the left of the stream, going through a number of gates. When you reach the corner of the final field, turn right, crossing the stream by a footbridge, then go left for a very short distance and right over a stile. Walk diagonally left across the field, passing close to a stand of conifers on the right. Cross another stile and follow the path through rough ground (once again crossing the trackbed of the old railway) to a stile leading to a road. Turn right over the river, then at once left over a stile into a field. Head across the field to your right, soon leaving the river and aiming for the far right hand corner of the field, where you will find a stile taking you to the road. Turn left.
4 Walk along the left hand side of the road, passing the village store (open until 1 pm on Sundays), with the Boughton Arms ahead. Turn left here and immediately go through the gate on your left into the churchyard. There is a convenient bench on the left if you feel like a stop – or in very hot weather you might prefer to continue towards the church and sit on a low wall around an ancient yew tree (estimated to be over 750 years old). The church spire, in contrast, is less than 50 years old and is made of fibreglass. As you go down the path you can see on your left the grave of Robert Jones, who achieved fame by being awarded the Victoria Cross in the Zulu war of 1879. Turn right in front of the church door and leave the churchyard through a gate. Turn left.
5 Cross the river Dore for the last time; then the path bends left and soon right, over the railway trackbed also for the last time; before long you will be climbing up out of the valley. The path gradually winds its way to a minor road, where you turn right to walk through the hamlet of Hinton. Go ahead at the crossroads and in a minute or two, just before a cottage, turn left through a gate into a field. Follow the hedge on the left and keep ahead, crossing a number of stiles (but ignoring those on your left). Eventually your route goes through a small belt of trees, after which you continue with the hedge on your right. Go straight ahead through a barred gate and on to a footbridge that leads to a lane next to a house. Turn left here and very soon right through a small gate next to a larger one.
6 Keep next to the hedge on your right, go through a gateway and turn half left and head up the hillside past a waymark post (ignore what looks like another of these to your left). Continue in the same direction and when you get to a fence follow it to your left along a grassy track between a field and the wood on your right. Enter the wood through a gate and soon turn right at a junction. Keep right at the next junction and walk down to the road. Turn right. If you look ahead and half right you may (depending on the height of the hedge) be able to see the stone ruins of Snodhill castle on top of a mound.
7 Walk down the road, cross a footbridge by a ford and then follow the road round to the left uphill. Go ahead over the crossroads and very soon turn left down a track (often muddy). Pass through a gate (noting the ingenious use of a tree as a gatepost), then continue along the track through three more gates, crossing a small stream just before the last one. Keep ahead across the field, keeping just to the right of a slight but noticeable slope on your left. Keep below and next to this slope, curving slightly left to reach a bridge over a stream. Once over the bridge, the clear track soon peters out, but walk ahead to reach a gate leading on to a road. Here you have a choice. The shorter route, 8(a), goes down a pleasant lane, reaching Dorstone in about 15 minutes; the longer route, 8(b), is more varied and attractive, but takes longer (30 – 40 minutes) and involves a very steep climb up the lane at the start.
8(a) Turn right and walk down the lane to the village. Turn left to reach the Pandy Inn and the bus stop on the village green. For Hay the bus also stops at the green.
8(b) Turn left and at the junction fork right. The road climbs past a cottage, then a second. Just past the second one, opposite its garage, turn right over four stone slabs, then over a wooden stile. Keep ahead over another stile, then a third. Go through a line of trees and then past the edge of woodland on your right. Keep ahead along the top of the field (do not veer to the left as suggested by a waymark sign). As you approach the trees you will see, slightly to your right, a stile ahead next to a gate. Cross this to follow the permissive route through the wood and leave over another stile. Keep ahead and very slightly to the right before turning left down a steep grassy slope with the village of Dorstone in front of you. Approach the fence to your left and you will soon see a stile ahead. Cross this, turn right and walk down the lane to the village. Turn left to reach the Pandy Inn and the bus stop on the village green. For Hay the bus also stops at the green.
Download the directions for the Vowchurch or Poston Mill to Dorstone Walk as an easy-to-print pdf file