Frome Diary

Frome Valley

In total the walk was twenty-nine miles, with Bromyard the only town on route but besides this, on the way to the confluence, there were numerous other areas of interest. In particular there’s the awakening of place names providing context to the landscape, as if surfacing from hidden depths of forgotten topographic language. For example, it had not occurred to us that the River Frome lends its name to Frome’s Hill as well as the hamlets of Bishops Frome, Cannon Frome and Castle Frome. It’s all so obvious but things escape your attention until viewed upon from such an angle.

So the River Frome travels through backcountry and we are struck by how picture perfect the Herefordshire countryside can be, yet some of it is intensely farmed. Even so, it’s still private and provides enough space to lose your-self within. A whole section of valley is taken up by agro farming, which on this occasion due to the red soil and its sheer expanse has its allure. As mentioned churches, vineyards, abandoned buildings, grand houses and so on all find their way into the walk making for a surprising journey through a seemingly forgotten world right here in Herefordshire. To end, the River Frome winds up fairly nondescript where it enters the River Lugg, silent and unnoticed, not a stone’s throw from Hampton Bishop just outside Hereford.

In summary, as you now know, the rivers source is located near Thornbury trickling out of an agricultural pipe adjacent to Manor Farm. Not aesthetically pretty, but interesting none the less, and there is charm to be found in a grotesque looking pig kept within close proximity (Grid Ref: SO 601-618 OS 149). Boar-like, it was unperturbed by our presence grunting around looking for food. Fascinating creature! As mentioned the old Leominster to Bromyard rail station pops out of nowhere, old world in style but now a home, meaning we walk onto it thinking it a rail enthusiast’s dream (Grid Ref: SO 628-565). The occupants were fine. Following on, and just outside Bromyard, we enter an amphitheatre bowl like valley, a kind of, hidden away green and pleasant land occupied by a majestic horse (Grid Ref: SO 635-555).

After a night hunkered down in Bromyard’s cricket pavilion its day two and the A44, then Avebury Lane, passing through a substantial lush valley leading to Acton Beaucamp and Bishops Frome. If you look on the map the contours give away the valley’s existence, which for us is the most iconic part of the trail. These are lazy country lanes where Brookhouse Farm can be seen on route, timeless and stately, and judging from the prominent house and buildings it belongs no doubt to major land-owner’s, but still it’s nice to look at, and you do get a sense of history (Grid Ref: SO 662-525). Close to Acton Beaucamp there’s a vineyard to mosey through, a somewhat surreal and welcome experience. (Grid Ref: SO 669-499).

From the A4103 Worcester Road near Five Bridges and just beyond Bishops Frome (Grid Ref: SO 659-469) to the A417 (Grid Ref: SO 633-434) a few miles down-stream, we cross an extended open space, or what could be described as our planet agro farming world, something alluded to earlier. Beyond this a brief march along the A road and it’s a relaxing jaunt down Watery Lane followed by a break at Yarkhill Church where we were joined by a zany couple and their dog. Good vibes. From this point we made our way to Claston Farm on the A438 following the river’s line to eventually cut through the farm onto the main road, followed by a quick dash to Upper Dormington, where we find an old and abandoned caravan ideal for another brew. Rested, it’s on to Priors Frome close to a favourite backcountry area, then Larport and the rivers’ confluence at the River Lugg (Grid Ref: 561-387), which, barring the enigmatic Lugg Flats, boasts no major geological feature but this is of no real concern as it’s been another eye opener for sure.

Total Distance walked 29 miles height ascended approximately 190 metres.

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