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1. From the road head uphill and walk approximately 200m to a waymark post and steps on your right. Walk up the steps and follow the metal fence on your right.
2. Go through the metal gate and into our orchard and follow the footpath pointer’. It is a great place for wildlife with old perry pear and apple trees. Walk through the orchard and you will see a stile into another orchard. Note the wildflower field margins we’ve added to support wildlife. Continue with the hedge on your left and look out for the veteran oak tree in the hedgerow.
3. Just before the end of the orchard you will see an old willow pollard. This is another important veteran tree providing a home for a variety of species.
4. Cross into the field and directly opposite you will see a gate to a road (Watery Lane). Turn left onto the road and then right into another orchard, signposted on your right.
5. Continue following the footpath through a couple of traditional orchards before emerging into a younger, ‘bush orchard’. Walk ahead through the gaps in the trees to the opposite side.
6. At the far end of the orchard you emerge into a field. Turn diagonally left and head for the far left of the field.
7. Once at the far side of the field turn left following the gravel track with the hedge to your right.
8. The path crosses a stile and continues with the hedge on your left. Continue for approximately 100m before crossing a bridge and stile on your left. Continue across the field with the hedge on your left to the opposite side.
9. Continue straight ahead down a darker tunnel of trees. The woodland to your left is an older orchard showing you what can happen if the trees are left to go wild. When you emerge there is a house on your right and a tree plantation on your left. Walk straight up the track for 500m.
10. At the end of the lane turn right onto the road, around an uphill bend.
11. After approx 200m, the road sweeps up and round to the right, but take the left hand turn and follow this lane uphill for a further 300m.
12. At the waymark post on your right go through the gate and walk along the right hand side of the orchard. At the far end follow the fence as it turns steeply uphill for a short distance to a stile on your right.
13. Walk up the left hand of the meadow. This is a species rich grassland that is great for insects and other wildlife. Towards the top look back for beautiful views of the Malvern Hills and towards Ledbury.
14. At the top of the field cross over the stile and walk across a narrow bird cover crop into the field. Turn diagonally left heading to the left of a green metal farm building. As you approach the opposite side you are looking for a wooden stile in the hedge 50m to the left of the metal gate.
15. Turn right and walk up the lane for 200m before taking a track on your left immediately before the white building. Continue for 200m.
16. When you get to the black gates of Little Puckmore go around the left hand side of the gates and walk into a field.
17. Continue through the field with the hedge on your left. Once you get to a sharp right turn in the hedge look out for a stile in the hedge on your left.
18. Walk ahead with the hedge on your left (and some more great views of the Malvern Hills) for about 100m.
19. Look for a stile on your right and cross it onto a track next to a contemporary built house.
20. Walk down the track. For a short way to a waymark post on the left and take the footpath that goes straight down through a field, passing close to a group of oak trees in the middle of the field.
21. When you reach the road, walk downhill for 400m, back to Westons Cider Mill and the start point. Time for some well deserved refreshments and a rest!
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust is the largest membership-based wildlife organisation in the county, dedicated to inspiring people about wildlife, acting as a wildlife champion and creating wildlife havens.
To find out more or become a member please go to www.herefordshirewt.org
Veteran trees are an important part of the Herefordshire landscape and an even more important resource for wildlife. These ancient trees provide habitats for a range of species and are particularly important for bats, fungi and invertebrates. This is because they usually have dead wood and cavities.
Our Cider Mill orchards have a wealth of veteran trees with three visible in the car park alone. Keep a lookout for ancient oaks and willows whilst on this walk.
Many of the orchards you will see at the Cider Mill and farm are described as traditional orchards. Typically a traditional orchard contains larger, older trees with bigger gaps in between them. They can be very good for wildlife because the old trees have holes and deadwood for animals to live in and the grassland in between can often be rich in wildflowers. Some orchard trees, particularly perry pears can live to a great age and are an important part of Herefordshire’s landscape and history as one of the most important fruit producing regions in the country.
Many of the UK’s farmland birds have declined in recent years and the song of the skylark and yellowhammer have diminished from much of the country. Even the sparrow, once very common, has sharply declined. By creating field margins the Westons farm is providing food to help these birds through the Winter. Sitting in the garden at the ‘Cider Mill Visitor Centre’ you are surrounded by sparrows, using the nestboxes ‘that have been installed’ on the surrounding buildings. The company also take part in a regular bird survey which shows how effect the farm, orchards and wetlands are for wildlife.
The Westons team have created wildflower field margins. These put on spectacular displays of colour in the spring and autumn. They are very important for many species and on a warm day you will see butterflies and bumblebees feeding and foraging on the blossoms. You’ll also hear grasshoppers and crickets chirping in the long grasses. The margins also provide homes for small mammals and are a favoured hunting ground for owls and other predators.
These field margins provide a home for the pollinators needed to pollinate the fruit trees to help the cider apples to grow and eventually become refreshing cider.
The Hedgerows on the Westons Farm are allowed to grow thick and tall. Hedgerows are hugely important for wildlife, providing nesting sites, refuge and food for birds and pollen and nectar for many insect species. Bats use them to navigate by and they provide important connections between woodlands and orchards, helping wildlife to move through the countryside.