SHOBDON ARCHES, SHOBDON HILL WOOD, UPHAMPTON, COVENHOPE
Short: 4.5 miIes (7 km) Allow: 1.5 – 2.5 hrs.
Medium: 5.5 miles (8 km) Allow: 2 – 2.5 hrs.
Long: 6 miles (9.5 km) Allow: 2.5 – 3 hrs.
Easy going – some ascents (350m total). Sometimes mud in parts
“Herefordshire Romanesque”. Built from the remains of a Norman church on the same site, the arches contain several now badly weathered sandstone sculptures. The arches were built as an architectural folly.
© Copyright John Phillips and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
A choice of three lengths of walking through attractive woods – especially in bluebell time: unexpected views; a folly and a church.
Parking:-East from Shobdon on B4362, left turn to lane, signposted Shobdon Arches and Church, next left to car park by side of church OS Grid ref: SO400628
PLEASE NOTE: the route near Covenhope is disputed by local landowners. This is currently under investigation.
(1) (Shobdon Church dates from 1756, built to replace the Norman church by the Viscount Bateman of Shobdon Court.)
Leaving the church proceed northwards up the avenue of trees to the Shobdon Arches. Turn (L) at the Arches and follow the track round to the (R) —sometimes muddy, down to metalled lane. Turn (L) and follow round to (L) passing Uphampton Farm on the (R). Continue ahead until a chicken farm and a bungalow are reached on (L) where, tum (R) and walk northwards towards wood. Proceed through gate at cattle grid and
at first junction, keep (L) passing sheds wide wooden building on (R). Tum (R) after passing through second gate and cattle grid, keeping to track, proceed up incline between trees.
(2) Where road splits into three, take the (L) fork for the medium and longer walks, but go straight ahead for the (shorter) walk, turning (R) at next junction to point (4). For the medium and longer walks continue on (L) fork track ahead. Where this track bears (R) at a bend uphill the views across the open fields and valley look towards Wapley Hill.
(3) Where track tums sharp (R) it can be followed to point (4) for the medium walk but the longer walk leaves this track at this bend by taking the footpath leading off to the (L) to descend downhill and at field corner turn (R) onto cross path. Follow this track noting at approx. 2km the view of the River Lugg. Keep ahead, eventually this track is joined by the two other walk variations coming in from the ridge from the (R).
(4) Continue ahead in same direction slightly downhill, through trees on both sides, leaving the track through a single bar gate. Keep ahead on main road soon bearing (L) then (R), downhill towards Covenhope Farm. At the junction before farm buildings, turn sharp (R). Continue on round passing “The Beeches” on the (R).
(5) Just after passing a further cottage on (R) tum sharp (L) at the power line pole onto path and through single bar gate. Ignore the first path going (R) leading out of open space, and continue ahead round the bend, and after rising out of a dip, turn (R) at S.P path – a stiff climb up through Chaff Wood which leads into a field at the top. Turn (R) and follow close to hedge to corner, where bear (L) keeping close to (RH) hedge to a gate at the side of a cottage. (N.B. Please note that this section up Chaff Wood and that around perimeter fence of “Tom’s Field” is not as yet a Right of Way but, as with most of the route through Shobdon Hill Woods, are technically “Permissive Paths”. Please use them with consideration at all times — to Forestry Commission and Landowners.)
Continue down lane to join “Joiners Cottage” on the (R) and turn (L) onto lane travelling downhill to cross-roads. Turn (R) following the private, access road, back to Shobdon Church and starting point.
Submitted by Norah Morgan