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^ includes hunting and forestry

^ includes energy and construction

^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding

Many well-known cider producers are based in Herefordshire. These include Weston's cider of Much Marcle, and Bulmer's cider, from Hereford, which produces the UK market leader Strongbow.

Cities, towns and villages

The Market Hall, Ledbury LedburyMarketHouse.JPG
The Market Hall, Ledbury

The major settlements in the county include Hereford, which is the county town and Herefordshire's only city, as well as the towns of Leominster, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Kington and Bromyard.


Most employment in Herefordshire is in agriculture, manufacturing and services. According to Herefordshire Council's online document "worklessness", 10% of people are unemployed in Herefordshire including out-of-work, homeless, ill and disabled and their carers. Cargill Meats and H. P. Bulmers are two of the largest private sector employers, with the Council and NHS being the largest public sector employers.


Westminster Parliamentary

There are two parliamentary constituencies in Herefordshire. As of February 2021, Bill Wiggin represents North Herefordshire and Jesse Norman represents Hereford and South Herefordshire. Both politicians are members of the Conservative Party.


The coat of arms of Herefordshire County Council Arms of Herefordshire County Council.svg
The coat of arms of Herefordshire County Council

The council operates a cabinet-style council and has been independently controlled since 2019. The chairman is Sebastian Bowen and the leader of the council is David Hitchiner.

The cabinet leader is appointed yearly by the full council of 53 councillors. The cabinet leader then picks their deputy and up to eight other councillors to form the executive cabinet. Each cabinet member makes the decisions about the portfolio that they are allocated. [20] Elections to the council are held every four years. Elections are conducted under the FPTP system with the 53 wards returning one councillor each. Elections have been held in 2000, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, with the next election due in 2023.

In the 2019 election, the Conservatives lost control of Herefordshire Council.[ citation needed ]


Herefordshire has a comprehensive education system that also includes several independent schools. [21] Most state secondary schools are for ages 11–16. Providers of further and higher education in the county include Hereford College of Arts, Hereford College of Education, Hereford Sixth Form College, Herefordshire and Ludlow College, Royal National College for the Blind, NMITE and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Group Training Association (HWGTA).


The agricultural economy has changed greatly in recent years[ when? ] within the county. The county is on the western edge of England which has been historically pastoral as opposed to the east which was more arable.[ citation needed ]


Probably Hereford's most famous export is its Hereford beef cattle. Herefords are docile but extremely hardy creatures and these attributes have led to their proliferation across the world, particularly the US, Canada, South America and Australia. The breed is so gentle that a Hereford bull was used as the mascot for Hereford United Football Club for many years, led around the club's Edgar Street ground before major matches.


An illustration from the Herefordshire Pomona, a record of the apple and pear varieties grown in the county in the nineteenth century. N122 w1150 -- Herefordshire Pomona, vol. 2, plate XLV.jpg
An illustration from the Herefordshire Pomona , a record of the apple and pear varieties grown in the county in the nineteenth century.

The county is famous for its apple and pear orchards, and its cider. There are many orchards around the county but not as many as there once were.

In the last few years, soft fruits such as strawberries have become a new and rapidly expanding area of the agricultural economy of the county. One of the main reasons for this was the introduction of the polytunnel or French tunnel. This allows the strawberries to be grown for a far longer season and with a higher quality (with no blemishes from the rain). The strawberries are mainly picked by Eastern European workers who come over for the season and often earn more money than they could working in their own country and with the bonus, for many of them, of learning or improving their English. The polytunnels have been a major issue in the county, as some people see them as a "blot on the landscape". [24]

Although some polytunnel sites are illegal, Herefordshire Council has turned a blind eye in the belief that agriculture must be allowed to innovate; otherwise it will stagnate and the county will suffer. [25]


Previously, most farms in the county had dairy cattle. Due to the cost of investing in new equipment, long hours,[ clarification needed ] BSE, foot-and-mouth disease and mainly falling milk prices, the county's milk production has drastically reduced, with only a few farms still in dairy farming.[ citation needed ]


The county is historically pastoral. The soils are mostly clay, meaning that large scale potato production was very difficult, as tractors were not powerful enough to pull the large machinery required to harvest the crop. Around the early 1990s new technology and more powerful machines overcame this problem. Potato production started to increase, fuelled by a few other key factors: The previously pastoral soils had not had potatoes grown in them; consequently they were not infected with eelworm (Heterodera rostochiensis and Heterodera pallida), which in the east of England had to be sprayed against weekly (a large cost). Also, the clay soil produced an unblemished potato of the highest grade.[ citation needed ]

The intensive nature of the crop meant that potatoes could be grown viably on a given field in only one of every five years. Because potato growers always needed more land than they owned, they rented extra. This demand for rental fields came at a time when the rest of the industry was struggling and in serious decline. The potato farmers' rents of £300–500 per acre (as opposed to normally £80 per acre) were very helpful to many farmers in a difficult period.[ citation needed ]


The flag of the historic county of Herefordshire County Flag Of Herefordshire.svg
The flag of the historic county of Herefordshire

Coat of arms

Herefordshire County Council was granted a coat of arms on 28 February 1946. [26] The arms became obsolete in 1974 on the abolition of the council, but were transferred to the present Herefordshire Council by Order in Council in 1997. [27]

The arms are blazoned as follows:

Gules on a fesse wavy between in chief a lion passant guardant argent and in base a Herefordshire bull's head caboshed proper, a bar wavy azure; and for a Crest on a wreath of the colours a demi lion rampant gules holding in the sinister claw a fleece or; and for Supporters, on the dexter side a lion guardant or gorged with a wreath of hops fructed proper and on the sinister a talbot argent gorged with a collar or charged with three apples proper. [26]

The red colouring ("gules") of the shield is taken from the arms of the City of Hereford. The red colour also represents the red earth of Herefordshire. The silver and blue wave across the centre of the shield represents the River Wye. The lions that form parts of the arms, crest and supporters are also taken from Hereford's arms. The agricultural produce of Herefordshire is represented by the bull's head, fleece, hops and apples. The talbot dog comes from the heraldry of the Talbot family, Marcher Lords of Shrewsbury and also from that of Viscount Hereford.

The Latin motto is: Pulchra terra Dei donum ("This fair land is the gift of God"). [28]

County flower

As part of a competition organised by the charity Plantlife to raise awareness of conservation issues, the public were asked to vote for "county flowers" that they felt best represented their county. Mistletoe was announced as the winning choice for Herefordshire in 2004. [29] The emblem has no official status and has not been widely adopted. Herefordshire Council uses a logo consisting of a green apple. [30]



The county is covered by BBC West Midlands and ITV Central from its studios in Birmingham. Television signals are received from the Ridge Hill TV transmitter located 8.5 miles south east of Hereford. [31]


BBC Local Radio the for county is served by BBC Hereford and Worcester which broadcast from Worcester but also has another studio in Hereford. County-wide radio stations are Free Radio Herefordshire & Worcestershire, Sunshine Radio, Radio Wyvern, Capital Mid-Counties, and Greatest Hits Radio Herefordshire & Worcestershire.


Edgar Street is the home ground of Hereford F.C., the successors to Hereford United, the only club from the county to have ever played in The Football League. Hufc-lwme.jpg
Edgar Street is the home ground of Hereford F.C., the successors to Hereford United, the only club from the county to have ever played in The Football League.

Perhaps the most famous sporting team in Herefordshire is Hereford United football club, who were members of the Football League and played at Edgar Street stadium in the city of Hereford. The club was founded in 1924 on the merger of two local teams – St Martin's and RAOC – and became members of the Birmingham Combination League. [32] The club then made its way upwards to the Southern Football League, finally gaining election to the Football League in 1972 – the same year that the club famously defeated First Division side Newcastle United in an FA Cup tie. Two successive promotions saw the club reach the Second Division in 1978, but two successive relegations followed and saw the club side back into the Fourth Division. [33]

Despite being situated within England, Hereford United have competed in the Welsh Cup on a number of occasions, winning the trophy in 1990. The club suffered relegation from the Football League in 1997 and fell into the Football Conference, [34] not regaining its Football League status until 2006. The club then played in Football League Two – the fourth tier of English football – for six years before once again being relegated out of the Football League at the end of the 2011–12 season. [35] The club was wound up in 2014. A new phoenix club, Hereford F.C. was set up competing in the Midland Football League Premier Division (9th tier) for its first season, 2015–16. [36] The club lost to Morpeth Town at Wembley Stadium on 22 May 2016 in the final of the FA Vase. [37]

Cricket is widely played within the county, and Herefordshire County Cricket Club compete in the Minor Counties Championship, having been elected in 1992 to take Durham's place, when that county joined the First-class structure. The leading club sides in Herefordshire are Brockhampton CC and Eastnor CC, who both compete in the Birmingham and District Premier League, the ECB accredited Premier League for cricket clubs in the West Midlands, and one of the strongest cricket leagues in England. Below that in the cricketing pyramid system 7 other leading Herefordshire clubs compete in the Worcestershire County Cricket League, with the remaining 25 or so cricket clubs within the county competing in the Marches League, or just playing Sunday or mid-week 'friendly' matches.

Places of interest

Hereford Catherdal on River.jpg
Kilpeck, The church of St. Mary and St. David, The magnificent Norman south doorway - - 4625889.jpg
Herefordshire Cattle in Hartlebury.jpg
The River Wye at Hereford, with Hereford Cathedral on the left; the Norman south door of Kilpeck Church; and Hereford cattle
"Pulchra terra Dei donum"
("This fair land is the gift of God")
Herefordshire UK locator map 2010.svg
Coordinates: 52°05′N2°45′W / 52.083°N 2.750°W / 52.083; -2.750
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region West Midlands
Established1 April 1998
Established by Local Government Commission for England
Preceded by Hereford and Worcester
Origin Ancient
Time zone UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police West Mercia Police
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Edward Harley
High Sheriff Patricia Thomas [1] (2020–21)
Area2,180 km2 (840 sq mi)
  Ranked 26th of 48
Population (2021)192,107
  Ranked 45th of 48
Density88/km2 (230/sq mi)
AP Icon.svg Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
UKAL icon.svg Accessible open space
Themepark uk icon.png Amusement/Theme Park
CL icon.svg Castle
Country parks.svg Country Park
EH icon.svg English Heritage
Forestry Commission
HR icon.svg Heritage railway
HH icon.svg Historic House
AP Icon.svg Places of Worship
Museum icon.svg
Museum icon (red).svg
Museum (free/not free)
NTE icon.svg National Trust
Drama-icon.svg Theatre
Zoo icon.jpg Zoo



The M50 motorway near Ledbury and Ross-on-Wye. M50 motorway from Ryton Bridge.jpg
The M50 motorway near Ledbury and Ross-on-Wye.

The M50, one of the first motorways to be built in the United Kingdom, runs through the south of the county and, with the A40 dual carriageway, forms part of the major route linking South Wales with the West Midlands and the north of England. The A49 runs north–south through the county and is a strategic route between North and South Wales as well as catering for local traffic. [38]


The Welsh Marches Line also runs north–south with passenger trains operated by Transport for Wales offering links to Manchester as well as to North and South Wales. Hereford is the western end of the Cotswold Line which runs via Worcester with through services to Oxford and London Paddington (operated by Great Western Railway) and to Birmingham (operated by West Midlands Trains). The rural Heart of Wales Line linking Craven Arms in Shropshire to Llanelli in southwest Wales passes through the extreme north west of Herefordshire with stations at Knighton and Bucknell near the meeting point of the boundaries of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Powys. [39] The majority of passengers between North and South Wales use the Marches line. [40]

Former lines which are now closed were the Ledbury and Gloucester Railway; Ross & Monmouth Railway; Hereford to Hay-on-Wye; Pontrilas to Hay-on-Wye; Hay-on-Wye to Brecon; Leominster to New Radnor; Eardisley to Presteigne; and Leominster to Worcester via Bromyard. Part of the Titley Spur is opened annually by enthusiasts and a steam train is run along the track.

There has long been talk of a new station at Rotherwas, in the south of Hereford.

Arriva Trains Wales service passing the currently closed Pontrilas station on the Welsh Marches Line. Railway at Pontrilas - - 889611.jpg
Arriva Trains Wales service passing the currently closed Pontrilas station on the Welsh Marches Line.


There are no airports with scheduled air transport in Herefordshire. Birmingham Airport, Cardiff Airport and Bristol Airport are the nearest. The RailAir [41] RailAir coach operated by First Berkshire & The Thames Valley provides connections to Heathrow Airport via Reading station or passengers can change at Reading station and then go all the way by train via Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow Airport. Shobdon Aerodrome near Leominster is a centre for general aviation and gliding. Hot air ballooning is also popular with Eastnor Castle being one of the favourite launch sites in the area.


Historically, the rivers Wye, Teme and Lugg were navigable but the wide seasonal variations in water levels mean that few craft larger than canoes and coracles are now used. There are canoe centres at Wye Valley Canoes, Glasbury-on-Wye (in Powys, Wales), the Hereford Youth Service and Kerne Bridge in Ross-on-Wye, as well as rowing clubs in Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.

The early 19th century saw the construction of two canals, The Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal [42] and The Leominster & Stourport Canal [43] but these were never successful and there are now few remains to be seen. The Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal is currently the subject a restoration project, which includes the construction of a new canal basin in Hereford city centre as part of the regeneration of the Edgar Street Grid. The project, however, is being undertaken by a small voluntary group and there is no expected date for any part of the canal to re-open for boating.

Notable people

Classical composer Sir Edward Elgar lived in Hereford from 1904 to 1911. His association with the city is commemorated with this statue. Elgar-Bicycle-Statue-by-Oliver-Dixon.jpg
Classical composer Sir Edward Elgar lived in Hereford from 1904 to 1911. His association with the city is commemorated with this statue.
Roman Catholic martyr St. John Kemble's grave in the Herefordshire village of Welsh Newton. GraveOfStJohnKemble(PhilipHalling)Jan2006.jpg
Roman Catholic martyr St. John Kemble's grave in the Herefordshire village of Welsh Newton.

See also

Related Research Articles

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