Saturday, 4 December 2010

Scenic Saturday - Herefordshire

Number 19 in the series.

The old county of Herefordshire no longer exists: it was amalgamated with neighbouring Worcestershire under the awkward name of Hereford and Worcester. Nevertheless, I intend to treat both those counties as if they still exist.

First, the (almost obligatory) note about pronunciation. Both the letters ‘e' in ‘Hereford' are pronounced and both of them are short ‘e's, so it is not ‘Hearford', nor is it ‘Hairyford' but exactly as the first two syllables of ‘heretic'.

The old county of Herefordshire is basically the western part of the amalgamated county, lying alongside the English/Welsh border. It is probably the most rural of English counties with the small city of Hereford being the old county town. The only other towns of note are also small: Ross-on-Wye, Hay-on-Wye (site of a famous annual book fair), Leominster (pronounced ‘Lemster'), Ledbury, Bromyard and Kington. In some ways the county rivals Kent as the Garden of England as apples (principally used to make cider) and hops are grown here. It also gave its name to the red and white beef cattle.

The River Wye forms part of the border between Herefordshire and Wales and the valley provides particularly pleasant scenery.

The ancient market towns have many black and white half-timbered buildings and our picture this week is of one of them, the King's House, Pembridge.

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