Well, you have been ever so good! So as promised at the end of Wye Walk – Part Two, I shall take you for a short stroll up river.
This part of the river is by the hamlet of Breinton, this is from the old English, Bruntone, meaning “village near a flowing stream”. There is a spring here, hence the name Breinton Springs. You can walk here from the footpath by the Old Bridge mentioned in the previous post, or you can drive and park in the National Trust car park. This is situated next to St Michael’s Church, originally built in the 13th century, but restored in the 19th century. The undulating orchard next to it is thought to be the site of a buried medieval village.
The spring itself is a little underwhelming, having been buried under a landslip, but the views across the river of the apple orchards in spring are uplifting. The scent of apple blossom wafts in the gentle breeze as the swans gracefully glide down the river.
This being Hereford, it is not long before you find yourself in a field of cattle languidly chewing the cud, staring back at you, full of curiosity amongst the buttercups.
The rather grand house in the distance is Belmont House. This is a 1790 grade II listed building, the former residence of Francis Wegg-Prosser. He is also responsible for the building of Belmont Abbey to house Benedictine monks in 1859. In recent years it has been a hotel and golf lodge, although I believe that it now lies empty.
Walking away from the river we come to Breinton Wood. This is a small strip of ancient woodland, full of bluebells at this time of the year.
As well as summing up all that Hereford is famous for; cattle and cider apples, Breinton has long been an important area for botanists. It is rich in wildlife from bats to badgers and swimming moles to great crested newts. The less shy animals on display are these horses in the orchard next to the church, I presume they are moved once the apples fruit! These old apple trees also have some interesting lichen growing on their branches.