Penyard Hill from Ross on Wye is a circular walk over Penyard Hill to the village of Weston under Penyard and return over meadows to Ross. The walk is just over 6 miles long with a leisurely grade, apart from one short steep section.
Thanks to 'Walkers are Welcome' and 'Walking in Ross' we present to you a collection of the best local walks in and around Ross-on-Wye and Herefordshire county. There is a downloadable PDF version of the walk as well as a GPX file - links are provided at the end of the article.
|Start: Park at Fernbank car park.
|Grid Ref: SO 598 231.
|Distance: 6.2 miles.
|Grade: Leisurely but with one short steep section, 10 stiles in total.
1. Leave the car park at the far end onto the Town & Country Trail. After 400 m turn right at the crossroads in the paths and follow the left hedgerow to the top of the field. Go through a steel kissing gate into Merrivale Wood nature reserve. Go half left and take the narrow path uphill. This 200 m section is the only steep part of the walk.
2. Arriving at the top of the wood, go left through a steel kissing gate next to a stone bench. Keeping the fence on your right, continue slightly uphill to cross a stile at the start of Penyard Park. Turn right to follow the main forest track slightly uphill for 300m and take a footpath forking left into the woods at a waymarker post.
3. After 70m the path reaches a steel field gate. Ignore the path to the left and continue straight ahead with the fence on your left. At a significant fork in the path keep left to the fence on your left. Keep to the fence line for about 400m and pass through a steel kissing gate (RR6/4) onto the open meadows of Lawns Farm.
Please keep dogs on a lead from here until clearing Lawns Farm. The meagre remains of Penyard Castle can be sighted at the bottom of the field, but to respect the privacy of the farmland it should not be visited.
Note: It may help route finding to note that the stiles and gates in the parish of Weston under Penyard are uniquely labelled by their footpath number and stile number e.g. WP25/5 – Stile 5 on footpath 25.
4. Keep to the top of the field to pass through a kissing gate (RR6/3) onto a farm track and continue straight ahead on the farm track trough a steel field game with the farm building to your left. Leave the farm at a farm gate and wooden pedestrian gate (RR6/1).
5. Continue downhill on a forest track turning steep downhill after 150m and then turn right after another 80m, ignoring the steel gates on the left. Follow the track, eventually passing through a pedestrian gate (WP14A/2) after about 750m to reach the tarmac road leading downhill to the A40 in Weston under Penyard.
The road passes the lovely St Lawrence Church which is worth a visit, or a rest on the benches on the far side. The benches in the upper graveyard provide wonderful views to May Hill.
6. Carefully cross the A40 into the road opposite. The Weston Cross Inn has a beer garden at the rear and is famed for its pub lunches.
About 130m beyond the pub, turn left at the wooden finger post down a arrow footpath. This short section, marked by blue arrows, is a courtesy diversion around the grounds of “Stonewold”. On re-joining the normal footpath at a steel field gate turn left and go straight ahead through the horse paddock (the electric fence can be opened) and over a stile (WP25/5) into the fields surrounding the Penyard House Hotel.
7. Go straight ahead again through the field and over another stile (WP25/6)1 next to a field gate. The path hugs the fence on the left for about 70m (note the late 16th century Weston Hall on the left) and then goes half-right across the field to join the road at a stile (WP25/7).
8. Turn left down the road for about 100m, over a stile (WP24/1) on the right and to the top of field where the route of the old Gloucester-Ross railway line can still be seen. Cross the stile (WP24/2) into the apple orchard. Turn left and then right, keeping the hedge on your left. Near the top of the orchard, find a stile (WP24/3) in the hedgerow through to a field.
9. Go straight ahead down the field and over a stile (WP22/3) into another field. Go half left and head to a marker post in the far hedgerow to the left of the barns. Turn left, keeping the hedgerow on your right for about 350m (views to Ross and The Skirrid).
At the end of the hedgerow go across the wooden bridge to the field on the right. Turn left and keeping the hedgerow on your left, continue through three fields, over two stiles (WP23/3 and WP23/4) and then through a wooden gate onto a farm track.
10. Cross the track and go through a steel kissing gate slightly to the left to enter the next field. Cross the field, through a wooden kissing gate and across a field down to a wooden bridge.
Bear left around the barn and then diagonally across a field to a stile in the hedgerow. This will take you down a very narrow footpath between two gardens and straight ahead onto a track and an estate road to the Hildersley roundabout on the A40.
11. Carefully cross the road and go left for about 50m
to turn right onto the signposted Town and Country Trail. Keep on the trail to return to the Fernbank car park after 1 mile.
OS © Crown copyright 2020 CS-144256-V6D9W9
Huge thanks to the volunteers from Walking in Ross for providing the guide and photos for this article. Check out their website - walkinginross.co.uk
Visit Escape to the Great Outdoors in Croft Court if you need anything for your walks in and around Ross-on-Wye.