Visit Herefordshire launches ‘Watkins Walks’ to celebrate the centenary of ley lines
With some sunshine under our belts and more on the way Visit Herefordshire is announcing further events as part of the centenary of Herefordian Alfred Watkins’ discovery of ley lines as a great way for visitors to enjoy more of the county.
One hundred years on walkers can hike through the same wild, untouched landscape, pausing at the churches, standing stones and hill forts that join these intriguing lines in a series of walks as part of the festival of events.
The bookable guided walks, part of Herefordshire Walking Festival as well as being organised by The British Pilgrimage Trust, vary from a 2.5 mile exploration of the market town of Ledbury to a 40 mile 2-day guided pilgrimage through the Golden Valley. Each walk takes place within a few days of the landmark date of June 30th when in 1921 Alfred Watkins had his extraordinary ley line revelation.
The expert-led walks offer the chance to appreciate the ancient trackways and commemorate the moment Watkins stood on a Herefordshire hillside and it came to him that straight tracks criss-crossed the landscape, connecting ancient and spiritual sites.
While there are set dates for the guided walks this summer each of the walks will be mapped out for those who want to self-guide at any time and the longer trails will be developed to include brilliant places to stay and eat along the way.
There is a wide choice of ‘Watkins Walks’ to choose from here including:
The Old Golden Dore Pilgrimage, 29 & 30 June – Two Day Guided Walk https://www.visitherefordshire.co.uk/twinvalley
To include the centenary date of Watkins’ discovery, take a two-day 20 mile guided walk with Guy Hayward of the British Pilgrimage Trust exploring a section of Herefordshire’s new long-distance trail. Hike through wild, untouched landscapes to ancient ley line landmarks, tracing the River Dore from its source to the point where it meets the Wye. Feel bathed in light as you trek the aptly named Golden Valley, share folkloric tales, enjoy dark skies and stay overnight at Dorstone. Includes all meals on the trail. Price £169pp
Other day walk options include:
Around Ledbury with Alfred Watkins, 21 June at 10am – local authors of Walking the Old Ways of Herefordshire lead a 2.5 mile walk around Ledbury, with copies of Watkins’ original photos dating to between the 1880s and 1930s to look at and talk about along the way. Price: £7.50pp.
Walking with Watkins, 24 June at 2pm – guided 5 mile walk which retraces the walk made by the Woolhope Club, led by Alfred Watkins down lanes to Almeley and Eardisley, calling at three churches, two chapels, the sites of three castles and a range of historical houses. Includes afternoon tea. Price: £10.50.
Alfred Watkins’ Magical Border, 27 June at 10am – 8 mile guided walk around Kington’s border landscape which fascinated Watkins, including a mark stone, prehistoric burial mounds and medieval mottes by way of Hergest Ridge and Hanter Hill. Price: £7.50pp.
In the Steps of Alfred Watkins, 27 June at 2pm – 3 mile guided walk along the ancient trackway from Wilton to Ross, taking in standing crosses and photographs. Price: £7.50pp.
New legacy long distance walking trail
Twin Valley Ley Line Trail – multi day walking trail
Launching later in the summer this 45 mile trail is a panoramic long-distance walking route through Herefordshire’s wild landscapes exploring ancient ley line landmarks and uncovering the opposing natures of two rivers (Dore and Monnow), perhaps the oldest paths of all. Born near each other in the county’s highlands, the rivers meet again 20 miles away. Whilst the golden Dore Valley is bathed in light, the Monnow Valley is a more mysterious, darker borderland. Includes suggested overnight stays and dining in country pubs and B&Bs.
New Watkins Way scenic touring route
In addition, for those who want to use a different mode of transport the new Watkins Way, a 106 mile scenic touring route around the county has also been developed and
can be driven or cycled in sections or a multi-day tour, or ‘leycation’. Those interested can download a handy PDF here with detailed directions and descriptions of each point of interest and the connection back to ley lines starting at Woolhope and finishing in Hereford city.
Sign up for all walks by checking out visitherefordshire.co.uk/Leylines