Overnighted at at B&B at Gladestry on the historic Anglo-Welsh border.
A good breakfast in the dining room and an extra slice of cake for good measure. It was going to be a long walk today. A blustery wind forecast for today. We followed the road down to Gladestry and walked through the quiet village. Just the Royal Oak Inn, a school and the Post Office. There was a narrow steep path which led us out onto the open moorland turf of Hergest Ridge.
The sun joined the wind in accompanying us over this short springy turf as we ascended the ridge feeling on top of the world. I felt a few spots of rain, but could not see where they came from. This delightful section of turf was three miles (5km) in length. Near the centre of the ridge the curving tracks of a former racecourse were visible. We met a few day walkers, clad in warm clothing to ward off the fresh wind. The path left the spongy turf and joined up with a road which led past the Hergest Croft Gardens. They were not yet open so we didn’t tarry as there was much distance to cover today.
On the way into Kington, we visited St Mary’s, another fine church with an interesting stained glass window. The church tower was once a place of refuge for parishioners. It had no windows and its walls were 6ft thick. Inside the church is the 15th century tomb of Thomas and Ellen Vaughan of nearby Hergest Court. Ellen was nicknamed ‘Ellen the Terrible’ after she dressed up as a man to infiltrate an archery competition where she shot an arrow through the chest of the man she believed had killed her brother.
Vaughan Thomas was a commander in the 1469 battle of Banbury who was captured and beheaded. His ghost returned to the Marches and after some time was exorcised into a small snuff bottle. It was accidentally released a century later and now haunts the Marches in the form of a large black dog. This legend was the inspiration for Arthur Conan-Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles”.
Down the road, past The Square near The Swan Inn and onto the main road. It was time for lunch. An interesting café named the Chocolate Box beckoned. Since tonight’s B&B didn’t provide evening meals, we had our main meal here and would buy some rolls for tonight.
Replete, we retraced our way back to The Square, found the signpost for the path and followed the path past Crooked Well, a pretty area of neat cottages bordering Back Brook. After crossing the busy A44, the path climbed steeply to Bradnor Green and Kington golf course, the highest in Britain.
We continued on to Discoed.