Historic Herefordshire Guide

by Ben Johnson

Facts about Herefordshire

Population: 183,000
Famous for: Hereford Cathedral, Malvern Hills
Distance from London: 3 – 4 hours
Local delicacies: Herefordshire Cider Cake
Airports: None (near to Gloucestershire Airport though)
County town: Hereford
Nearby Counties: Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire

Perhaps best known for its cider, this land of rolling hills and quintessentially English countryside is also dotted with a myriad of castles, a throwback to the time when conflict was rife along the Welsh and English borders.

This theme continues as far back as the Anglo-Saxon era, with the massive Offa’s Dyke running through Herefordshire and providing a defensive measure for the Kingdom of Mercia against the Welsh Kingdom of Powys to the west. Even today, Offa’s Dyke can reach almost 20 metres in width and 2½ metres in height.

 

Other notable historic sites in Herefordshire include Hereford Cathedral, a place of Christian worship since the 8th century. The earliest surviving building in the cathedral complex is the 11th century bishop’s chapel, although the majority of the structure dates mainly from the 14th to 16th centuries.

Hereford Cathedral is also home to one of Britain’s finest medieval treasures; the Hereford Mappa Mundi. This is the largest medieval map in the world and dates back to around 1285AD, with Jerusalem being featured at its centre. Great Britain is located at the northwest edge of the map, whilst the Garden of Eden circles the map indicating that it can be found at the edge of the world.

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