Hello hello hello!
Can you believe, dear readers that it’s May already? Days are disappearing like magic and soon half of 2014 will be behind us! Don’t despair – we have many interesting stories to tell and hopefully, you will be paying us a visit loads of times before the year is done.
Recently, we have received a comment from one of our readers. The gentleman complained that since we have moved to Worcester, Herefordshire doesn’t get mentioned on the blog anymore and surely it has been forgotten.
Rita loves proving everybody wrong and today’s issue will be dedicated to the pristine shire that she called home for nearly three years. If she was to publish all materials, stories, anecdotes and pictures regarding Herefordshire she collected over that time, this blog would have to be renamed Hereford Avenue! You can be assured – nothing has been forgotten and Rita is still better informed than the Hereford Times – sorry guys, you know that it is true!
If you haven’t been to Hereford yet, know that you are missing a lot. Herefordshire is one of the most picturesque and unspoilt counties in the United Kingdom and it’s a real shame that the local council doesn’t do anything to promote it. Yes, we have had that discussion in the past, some people are convinced that printing newsletter and updating Facebook page once a day equals to a strong and efficient marketing campaign. We hate to disappoint you folks but it’s not enough to bring tourists and businesses into Hereford. A new shopping center will not help either. But let’s leave the politics aside. Rita’s personal opinion will not change anything so we will save our breath to tell you something that truly matters. Hereford is the summertime is simply gorgeous yet there are special places where the nature is at its most beautiful all year long. The ancient woodland commonly known as The Queenswood is not only a popular relaxing/camping spot among the locals but has been voted as an important place of scenic beauty and natural significance by TripAdvisor and Natural England. Recently two new titles were added to a large collections of awards recognitions already owned by Queenswood: Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
In short, coming to Hereford and not seeing Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum is considered to be a serious faux pas. Mind your manners kids, Herefordians are a proud folk and they hardly ever forgive those who dare to disrespects (and ignore) the natural splendor of the Shire.
The only designated country park in West Midlands consists of 123 acres of semi natural and ancient woodland, 47 acres of tree collection with over 1,200 rare and exotic trees from different parts of our globe, several forested meadows that are the home to many unique and endangered species including rare dormice, polecat and yellow-necked mice, whilst fallows and muntjac deers. Over 190 rare plants and wild flowers have been discovered in Queenswood in recent years, among them very uncommon wood vetch (Vicia sylvatica) and Paris quadrifolia (herb paris) that hasn’t been seen in this part of the UK for a long time! The Queenswood Coronation Fund and Herefordshire Council (both responsible for managing the park) recorded also about eight different species of orchids such as birds nest (neottia nidus-avis), butterfly (platanthera bifolia), early purple (orchis mascula) and common spotted (dactylorhiza fuchsii). You can also see bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), wood anemones (anemone nemorosa), foxgloves (digitalis purpurea), columbine (aquilegia vulgaris), giant bellflower (campanula latifolia) and many, many others.
The Arboretum or collection of rare trees that are not native to England was started in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Launched by Sir Richard Cotterell, Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire and founded from public donations, the collection is considered to be one of the greatest on British soil. It consists of nearly 400 trees including Japanese maple trees, California Redwoods (that can grow up to 100 meters tall!), nearly 40 species of oak, beeches and alders. In 1981, The Arboretum received a gold medal from International Dendrology Society in recognition of the quality and for the number of trees. Each tree in the collection has its own identification card and unique catalog number (. The card is usually located near the tree and contains basic information about the species: country of origin, Latin name, name of tree sponsor and date when it was added to the collection. Some trees have a special Tree Register number included on the card. They are known as “Champion Trees” and are the finest (and the biggest) examples of their own kind that can be found in the UK and Ireland. There are 10 Champion Trees in Queenswood and you can visit them all by following the Champion Tree Trail:
If you’d like to know more about Queenswood fauna and flora, please see the official website at:
More about Natural England sites of Special Scientific Interest:
Detailed history of Queenswood Park, from the first mention in the Doomsday book, to the times of Queen Victoria: https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/media/2708415/Archive%20information%20for%20Queenswood.pdf
Queenswood offers everything you can dream of and it is not just a slogan to sell admission tickets. The entry is free of charge and you don’t have to pay a dime for a spacious parking. There are seven walking and trekking trails of varying difficulties from basic ones that can be completed under one hour to long, complicated routes that take nearly 4 hours to finish. Visitors have access to a picnic area with several barbeque designated places, small family run cafe (the food is delicious and very cheap!), country store that sells ice-creams and drinks, tourist information center, playground area for kids and even a small book store!You can bring your dogs with you under condition that they are well behaved.
Isn’t it a gorgeous place to be? Please come back tomorrow as we are going to show you our favorite trail and an art gallery in the middle of forest!
Till our next meeting,
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz