A staggeringly scenic 154-mile circular trail links five historic Herefordshire market towns, taking in the Wye, crumbling castles, steep hills and blossom filled orchards. Challenge yourself to complete the whole glorious loop or pick a section to amble along at leisure, stopping at cider presses and gorgeous gastropubs to rest and refuel. We’ve got some unique glamping places dotted along the route of the Herefordshire trail from treehouses with outdoor cinemas, to a sleek A-frame cabin and curvaceous wooden pods. Take a look, and start planning your wild hiking weekend.
Sink into the hot tub and gaze out over the Malvern Hills and apple orchards as you reflect on a brilliant day’s walking. Hope House Farm shepherd’s hut is perched in green fields in between Ledbury (the official start and finish of the loop) and Bromyard on a stretch of the Herefordshire trail that crosses deep countryside taking in Coddington Vineyard and passing traditional hop kilns. The hedgerows around the farm are bursting with damsons, blackberries and sloes that you can forage as you hike. For more hearty fare, you can walk to the village for a meal in the pub and picnic supplies. The hut itself is beautifully appointed with a wood burner, proper kitchen and separate shower room complete with a flushing loo and a luxuriously unlimited supply of hot water.
You’ll feel cocooned in a sea of branches and greenery at Oriana, a handmade round tree cabin in the heart of Brook House Woods. The cabin opens out onto a wildflower meadow at the front with a woodland path curving behind it, inviting you to explore the 65 acre site. If you’ve got the energy after a day’s walking there’s plenty to do – leap in the water at Bodenham Lake, play tennis or try a woodworking class with hosts Will and Penny. The Herefordshire Trail crosses the farm so you can get an early start and stride out directly from your front door. Walk the section from Fromes Hills to Edwyn Ralph or Leominster, crossing the river and admiring the view of Wall Hills iron age hillfort. After burning all those calories, head home to whip up a well-earned feast in the Ooni pizza oven and warm up in front of the BBQ firebowl.
If you like a side order of luxury to complement your trail walking, the Rookery Woods is the place to stay. It’s a great choice for couples who have slightly different definitions of the perfect glamping weekend – a dedicated walker and a spa lover would be equally content here. Choose from three incredible treehouses – all with a hot tub and movie projector – that effortlessly set the scene for relaxing, romantic nights in the branches. If you remember to drag yourselves away and hit the Herefordshire trail, you’re close to the section that passes through historic Bromyard with its traditional high street and gorgeous views. It’s a foodie lover’s paradise these days, with a Michelin-star restaurant and a wealth of cafes and tea rooms. Old hop pickers paths lead through the surrounding countryside, and you’ll pass by 16th century Paunton Court and thriving Bishops Frome.
Near book lover’s paradise Hay-on-Wye and the Whitney Bridge section of the Herefordshire Trail, the four luxurious curved pods at Cynefin Retreats have huge sliding glass doors at the front that give uninterrupted views over the countryside. Each pod is light and airy with oodles of outside space, a private hot tub and a fire pit for toasting marshmallows as you stargaze. You can walk on the wild side of the loop here, taking deep paths through Whitney Wood, briefly following the old track of the Hereford, Hay & Brecon Railway and passing through nature reserves where you might see bats, pied flycatchers and rare, white-clawed crayfish. It’s definitely worth a detour to buzzy Hay-on-Wye to browse the bookshops and stroll round the markets.
The beautiful English/Welsh border seems to inspire incredible design. A bit further south from Cynefin Retreats, you’ll find A Frame – an off-grid retreat with pitch perfect style credentials. A lofty tapered ceiling creates space for a king-sized bed on a cosy mezzanine sleep deck reached by ladder, with a sleek modern kitchen tucked underneath. Before you set off to the Herefordshire Trail each morning, take an invigorating outdoor deluge shower to get the blood pumping, then finish each day soaking weary limbs in the wood fired hot tub. From here, the trail passes close to the ruin of Snodhill Castle, taking in steep Dorstone Hill and Merbach Hill Common which has sweeping views over the Wye Valley at more than 1,000 ft above sea level.
With the peaceful banks of the river Wye outside and a colourful Moroccan vibe inside, a stay at Myrtle shepherd’s hut is a feast for the senses. Especially with a window at the foot of the bed that lets the light flood in, along with those gorgeous views, as you sip your morning cuppa. From wild swimming in the river to BBQs on the banks, you’ve got everything you need for a relaxing getaway including hot water, a flushing loo, a kettle, hob and microwave. You can pick up the southern section of the Herefordshire trail at Little Dewchuch, winding through enchanting Athelstan’s Wood and passing the seven-acre lake at Mynde Park. Myrtle is in the heart of the Wye Valley AONB so don’t miss the chance to rent a canoe and admire the scenery from the river if the weather’s good.