Hollow Ash, situated in South Herefordshire, is half a mile from the border with Wales, and overlooks the beautiful Monnow Valley with views across to The Skirrid Fawr, The Sugarloaf Mountain and the Black Mountains. Close to the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean, and not far from the Malvern Hills and the Brecon Beacons, mountain bikers, canoeists and hillwalkers are spoiled for choice.
South Herefordshire is an area of the Welsh Marches which is sparsely populated but full of history and interesting places to visit, rolling verdant countryside and stunning views. Enjoy walking, cycling or driving along the quiet, hedge-lined lanes and discovering footpaths leading you through woods, along riverbanks, and up some challenging hills.
The Welsh Marches is castle country. There are major castles such as Goodrich, and Raglan and Chepstow over the border in Wales. Ruined castles are dotted along the border; Pembridge Castle, a private residence, can be seen across the fields from our orchard and Skenfrith is within walking distance and opposite a riverside pub.
Here are some of our favourite places:
Garway has a pub situated by the common small, lovely in spring and summer with bluebells and orchids. The simple and beautiful church was founded by the Knights Templar and there is a privately owned Grade 1 listed medieval dovecote adjacent.
Skenfrith, on the bank of the River Monnow, has a ruined castle, a grade 1 listed church and a pub. It’s a special spot for picnicking and wild river swimming.
Grosmont is a pretty village with a castle, a Norman church and a pub. Picnic in the picturesque castle ruins.
Kilpeck Church – an early Romanesque Norman church is famous for its unusual carvings.
Monnow Bridge in Monmouth – the only remaining mediaeval fortified river bridge in Great Britain with its gate tower still standing in place.
Tintern Abbey is a spectacular ruin in the stunning setting of the Wye Valley, but there are many village churches well worth a visit.
Hilltop Birds of Prey Centre – if you want to get close to the birds!
Forest of Dean
The Royal Forest of Dean – one of the surviving ancient woodlands in England and full of industrial archaeology, deer and wild boar, beavers and pine martens!
Symonds Yat Rock – overlooking a spectacular gorge through which the River Wye snakes. There’s an RSPB viewpoint from which to watch Peregrine Falcons.
Cannop Cycle Centre – the perfect starting point for exploring the Forest of Dean, either on level former railway lines or more challenging single track trails.
Monmouth Canoe Centre – hire canoes or kayaks and explore the beauty and tranquillity of the River Wye.
‘The Big Apple’: Celebration of all things cider and apple-related (weekends in May and October ).
Westons Cider offer horse drawn orchard tours in blossom time and guided tours of the cidery.
Garway Hill – spectacular 360 degree panorama with views into seven counties. Lots of birds, butterflies and grazing ponies.
Skirrid Fawr and The Sugar Loaf, two spectacular hill walks near Abergavenny, are part of the Black Mountains and on the eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
The Three Castles Walk takes in Skenfrith, Grosmont and White castles. 18 mile circular walking route.
Other long Distance Footpaths in the vicinity include the Wye Valley Walk, Offa’s Dyke Path, Herefordshire Trail and the Monnow Valley Walk.