St Mary's Church Craswall


Route: Craswall

Area: Herefordshire

Date of walk: 27th July 2022

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.3 miles

Ascent: 600 feet

Weather: Thin cloud, pale skies and hazy views

Today’s walk would take us below the flanks of Black Hill, one of the Black Mountains which form the boundary between England and Wales. There is limited roadside parking beside the Bull’s Head in Craswall. We had hoped to end the walk with refreshments here, but it’s closed on Wednesdays

We followed a narrow lane to a bridge over the infant River Monnow and beyond the bridge visited the grounds of St Mary’s Church, which dates back 800 years. The church stands in a small field which is too rocky to be used for burials. Beyond the church we followed tracks and paths across fields before encountering an obstacle near Whiteoak Farm. A herd of Herefordshire cattle ran towards the gate which we were about to enter, and made it clear that we were not welcome into their domain. They stood staring at us, blocking the gate and protecting a young calf in their midst. An inspection of the OS map revealed no alternative route, and if we wanted to continue the walk we’d have to go off piste. Half an hour later, and after a convoluted detour involving many ungainly manouevres over barbed wire fences and streams, we managed to regain our planned route beyond the field of cows (the official route and mileage is the one shown here, our diversion added a mile to the walk) 

At Abbey Farm we headed west towards Black Hill and after a short road section joined a bridleway known as Three Rivers Ride. The path rose gently to give extensive views over Hay-on-Wye, though it was very hazy today. Beyond Coed Major Farm we reached some remote terrain and joined a path which gently descended back to Craswall via an ancient holloway and a quiet lane

Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

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