An easy stage along quiet lanes at the start, past Bredwardine church, crossing the Wye at Bredwardine bridge and passing Brobury House and Gardens. Back on the footpath at Brobury Scar knarled old chestnut trees line the way. Here the Wye has cut deep into the sandstone creating a cliff-type bluff with a 302ft (92m) drop to the river below.
The route follows Monnington Walk, a mile long avenue of Scots pine and yew trees planted in 1623 by James Tomkins of Monnington Court, to celebrate his election as a Member of Parliament. Don't miss Monnington's St. Mary's Church, a time-warp from the Restoration of Charles II in 1679. The route then passes through extensive cider apple orchards, owned by Bulmers of Hereford, to reach Byford.
When Brobury House was built in the 1880s the banks of the Wye provided the perfect site for a terraced Victorian garden. The views across the valley from the gardens take in the beautiful Regency style vicarage where Francis Kilvert lived and Brobury House itself is built on the old vegetable garden of the vicarage. Kilvert is said to have planted the Mulberry found today on the top lawn at Brobury House.
St. Mary’s is a little gem of history, surrounded on 3 sides by water, with no road access and still lit by oil lamps. Uvedale Tomkins of Monnington Court rebuilt the original 13th century church in 1679. His grandfather, James, had been a staunch supporter of the King during the English Civil War, but was hung by the Parliamentarians in 1643. Uvedale repaid the execution of his grandfather by rebuilding the church and erecting a Royal Coat of Arms to celebrate the Restoration of Charles II.
The 600 year old wall paintings here were made around the time that local Herefordshire archers were fighting in France, winning victory for Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt. Uncovered in 1951, the painting on the south wall shows St Margaret with a book and cross. More paintings, discovered in the 1970s on the east wall, show the Virgin Mary, sheltering souls under her cloak while St Michael weighs souls as the devil tries to tip the balance.
It’s a fantastic achievement to walk all 136 miles. Mark the miles by keeping a record of your journey, collecting (digital) passport stamps along the route…MAKE A PASSPORT