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Local Books

We aim to stock a wide range of local interest titles and we are committed to supporting local writers and publishers.

Walking the Old waysWalking the Old ways of Herefordshire by Andy Johnson  (Paperback   £12.95)

The walks in this book have been chosen with the aim of exploring Herefordshire’s past, with each walk passing or visiting a number of features about which some background information is given. These include churches, castle sites, deserted medieval villages, landscaping activity, quarrying, battle sites, dovecotes, hill forts, Iron Age farmsteads, Saxon dykes and ditches, individual farms and buildings, squatter settlements, almshouses, sculpture, burial sites, canals, disused railway lines – to name but a few, and including some that can only be reached on foot.

They have also been chosen to help you explore Herefordshire’s present, to breathe its good air, from south to north, west to east, from quiet river valleys to airy hilltops, from ancient woodland to meadows and fields, from remote moorland to the historic streets of the county’s towns, and of course Hereford itself. The walks range from 2½ to 9½ miles in length, with the majority being between 3½ and 6½ miles. Each walk has a sketch map and detailed directions, together with background information about features en route. The combination of photographs and historical information, together with the index, make this more than simply a book of walks, but also a companion to and celebration of Herefordshire.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

Mappa MundiMappa Mundi by Sarah Arrowsmith  (Paperback   £10.00)

The first chapter of the book tackles some of the questions asked by the many people who visit Hereford Cathedral today to see the Mappa Mundi. Who made the map? Did they think the world was flat? How was it made, and where? The book then shows us the map seen through the eyes of a medieval visitor to the cathedral. It may appear strange to us, with east rather than north at the top, Jerusalem at the centre, and a population of grotesque, semi-human figures and mythical beasts, but – as Sarah Arrowsmith explains – it was intended by its maker to represent a God-centred world view very different from our own. Allowing the book to guide you around the map, you can feel yourself entering the medieval mindset. Perhaps in this medieval world, once you have found Hereford on the map (its image faded from the touches of many pointing fingers), you might trace the route of your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, relating stories of adventures along the way. You could follow the winding trail taken by Moses and the Israelites, or recount another of the many Bible stories the map represents. You might want to impress bystanders with your knowledge of Alexander’s campaigns, or thrill them with tales of encounters with the strange races that dwell in the lands at the edges of the world – the four-eyed Marmini or the Blemmyes with no heads – or the bestiary of exotic, fabled and mythical creatures that riot across the map, from the elephant and the parrot to the unicorn, the griffin and the defecating bonnacon. For the medieval viewer, the lands of the map and their inhabitants carried moral and divine instruction as well as satisfying, or provoking, their curiosity about what lay beyond the horizon.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

 

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West Gloucestershire & Wye Valley Lines: Volume I by Neil Parkhouse (Hardback £25.00)

The verdant and picturesque county of Gloucestershire was once served by a maze of railway lines, most of which have long since been closed. Fortunately, the scenery and differing railway architecture attracted the attention of a number of photographers many of whom, from the late 1950s, began working with colour transparencies in an era when the majority of railway pictures were still being taken on black & white film. Within these pages is assembled a breathtaking array of well over 500 colour images, coupled with maps, tickets, WTT extracts and other ephemera, to paint a picture of the railways of West Gloucestershire and the Wye Valley as they existed over fifty years ago. The aim has been to show the infrastructure – stations, signal boxes, goods yard, engine sheds – which has been lost, as much as the trains and their motive power. Along the way, some of the other locations which were once railway served – such as docks, quarries and industrial works – are also illustrated. Local people will also find much to enjoy here, as the pictures show far more than just the railway, illustrating much of the surrounding area as it used to be. Whilst the period covered is largely 1960-65, the last years of the steam era on British Railways Western Region, the earliest pictures in this volume are some Dufaycolor slides of Tintern station taken in the 1930s. The cut-off date is the mid 1970s, when Gloucester Central station was rebuilt. The railway system of Great Britain, as it was in the 1950s and 60s, now no longer exists and very little of what is shown in these pictures still remains. This, then, is a chance to sit back and remember the railways of West Gloucestershire and the Wye Valley, in the company of some talented photographers who made it their mission to record this vanishing scene, and to enjoy an altogether simpler way of life than we have today. This is colour as it can and should be used, with five more volumes covering the rest of the county to follow.

(Description courtesy of Black Dwarf Lightmoor)

 

Wye Valley : 40 Hill and Riverside Walks by Ben Giles  (Paperback   £6.99)

From the broad riverside meadows of the Herefordshire plain and the soaring limestone cliffs of the lower gorge near Chepstow to the industrial heritage of the Forest of Dean in the east and the far-reaching views of the Trellech plateau in the west, Ben Giles’ 40 circular routes offer a refreshing introduction to the picturesque landscape of the Wye Valley, one of the most varied places in Britain to explore on foot.

(Description courtesy of Pocket Mountains)

 

 

overlooking the WyeOverlooking the Wye (Paperback £7.50)

Visitors have delighted in the landscape of the Wye Valley for centuries. British tourism was born here in the late 1700s, when the Wye Tour became fashionable as a two day boat trip from Ross on Wye to Chepstow. Tourists marvelled at the inspirational views and picturesque ruins, and loved the thick smoke and beating hammers of the ironworks which lined the river and added ‘grandeur’ to the scenery. As one of the earliest areas in Britain to industrialise, the Wye Valley was at the cutting edge of Britain’s industrial development some two hundred years before the Industrial Revolution.

Much of this heritage was forgotten about and culturally overlooked, until the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership ran Overlooking the Wye, a £3 million Lottery funded scheme, to help people understand and enjoy this historic landscape. Through conservation and interpretation works this hidden history was brought back to life. As a legacy of Overlooking the Wye, this book opens a door for you into that past, with stories, paintings, poetry and photographs illustrating the remarkable heritage of the Wye Valley. We hope you are inspired to explore this internationally important protected landscape, which straddles the England-Wales border. You will be continuing a tradition dating back hundreds of years.

(Description courtesy of Black Dwarf)

 

in search of john kyrleIn Search of John Kyrle: The Man of Ross by Jon Hurley  (Paperback £9.95)

Once widely known and highly respected, ask about John Kyrle today and you’d be surprised how many head scratchers, brow wrinklers and shoulder shruggers you’ll encounter. What exactly did Kyrle do to be remembered as the Man of Ross? Why are roads, pubs, cottages, houses and even a country walk still bearing his name? And why has a man who did so much for his community been almost forgotten? It was three centuries ago. How many people, apart from kings, queens and minor dictators with inferiority complexes, live that long in the public consciousness? John Kyrle must have had something about him.

(Description courtesy of Fineleaf)

 

ross on wye revisitedRoss-on-Wye Revisited by Tim Ward  (Paperback  £5)

Tim Ward has been a collector of postcards and photographs of Ross for many years, and this book displays some of his latest acquisitions. They include aerial views of parts of the town, a very early photograph of the churchyard, views of Ross’s quiet streets in the days before they became congested with motor traffic – and of the changes after the heavy lorries arrived. There are dramatic images of floods and storms, and nostalgic ones of pubs (some since demolished) and tea rooms, and of festivals. There are several of military parades, for in the early 1900s Ross was a major training base for the newly formed Territorial Army. There are also photographs of some of the old slums, since cleared away, and of fires and accidents. Tim has spent much time researching the events in the photographs, and through words and the images themselves weaves together a seldom-seen and affectionate history of Ross over the years.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

 

Monmouth

Portrait of Monmouthshire by Nick Jenkins (Hardback £14.99)

In over 140 full-colour images, acclaimed photographer Nick Jenkins explores the ‘old’ county of Monmouthshire and, in doing so, shows the incredible diversity of the region: from valleys dominated by King Coal and the iron and steelv industries to the lush farmlands around Monmouth and Abergavenny to the low lying marshlands to the east and the west of Newport.

(Description courtesy of Halsgrove)

 

 

 

wyeThe Wye Valley Walk (official guide): Chepstow to Powys through an AONB (Ringbound 12.95)

The official guide to backpacking or walking the Wye Valley Walk, 136 miles through the Welsh borders, crossing between Wales and England, from the coast at Chepstow to the slopes of Plynlimon. Easy walking on good paths, passing sites such as Tintern Abbey, Goodrich Castle, Hereford Cathedral and Hay-on-Wye. The Wye Valley Way offers a perfect mix of river and hill walking as it follows the River Wye. The walk leads through a dramatic limestone gorge, dense woodland beneath limestone crags and past peaceful river meadows in some of the most superb scenery in the heart of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the birthplace of tourism and the Picturesque movement. The route passes through historic Tintern, Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye and into the gentler rolling landscape of Herefordshire with black and white villages, famed cider orchards, landscaped parks and fertile agricultural plains into the rugged uplands of Powys. This new official guide describes the whole route in detail, from Chepstow to its source in Hafren Forest, all illustrated with colour photographs and OS map extracts, and also includes a Wye Valley Walk passport, for walkers to collect stamps along the route for a permanent record of their journey.

(Description courtesy of Cicerone Press)

 

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Herefordshire’s River Trade: Craft & Cargo on the Wye & Lugg by Heather Hurley (Paperback £12.95)

The story of the trade on the rivers Wye and Lugg in Herefordshire has never been told in its entirety – until now. Local historian Heather Hurley has delved into barge accounts, the pages of the Hereford Times and Hereford Journal, and the papers of firms and businesses based on or near the banks of the two rivers to produce this account. It covers the type of craft used, the cargoes carried, the families of boat owners, the masters and crew of the boats, accidents on the water, the development of wharves, the hiring of bowhauliers and the advent of the horse towing path. Perhaps most surprising is the extent of boat building along the banks of the Herefordshire Wye, with craft ranging from small ferries to barges and even steam-powered vessels.
But the story is wider than just the rivers and their banks, for it is also about the felling and transporting of timber to supply the shipyards at Plymouth and elsewhere building vessels for the Royal Navy, the need to reduce the price of coal in Hereford, the trade in cider, wine and spirits, and the requirement of lime for agricultural and building purposes. There are also hints of the lifestyles of some of those living near the Wye, indicated by the goods that were ordered and transported by boat.

(Description courtesy of Logaston Press)

 

 

the wye valleyThe Wye Valley by Chris Morris  (Paperback £9.99)

This book of vivid twenty-first century photography celebrates the history and culture of the lower reaches of the River Wye, and its valley. This is not an arbitrary section of the river: rather, famous for its wild landscapes, it has been the destination of countless visitors since the mid eighteenth century, where the leisured classes first enjoyed the concept of organised tourism.

The photographs, amplified by extended captions, follow the river from Backney, just north of Ross, to Chapel Rock, south of Chepstow, where the Wye meets the Severn. Well known for its fishing and as a haven for painters, these subjects re-cur in a random way during the progress down stream. The dramatic landscapes, including the gorge at Symonds Yat, reach a climax at the eerie ruins of Tintern Abbey. Most of the locations featured in the book lie within the ‘Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.

(Description courtesy of Tanner’s yard Press)

 

 

hereIn My Own Time by Richard Dobson  (Paperback £12.99)

Richard Dobson takes a walk around Herefordshire in the footsteps of 19th century author and artist Henry Timmins. In this book Richard, camera in hand, retraces the route taken by that inquisitive Victorian rambler, and in doing so covers, on foot, nearly 2500 miles and goes through three pairs of walking boots.

His account of the journey presents the reader with a personal insight into this places that Timmins visited, and the changes, both in landscape and people, that have taken place over the last century.

(Description courtesy of Fineleaf)

 


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Hereford- Photographic Memories collected by Dorothy Nicolle (Paperback £13.00)

A lavish collection of fine period photographs from the world famous Frith collection is displayed in this fascinating local book capturing a moment in Hereford’s vibrant history. They offer an absorbing portrait of life in the town in years gone by.

 

 

 

 

hereA Week’s Holiday in the Forest of Dean by John Bellows (Paperback £10.00)

This book includes a high quality replica of the very rare first edition of John Bellows’ ‘A Week’s Holiday in the Forest of Dean’. For visitors in the 1880s, “A week’s holiday in the Forest of Dean” was specifically designed to assist their exploration and enjoyment of the district. The pocket sized first edition was published in two formats; as a paperback with brightly coloured covers, which have been used here, and as a hard bound book. As well as printing and publishing the book, Bellows also wrote much of the text. Included was a short account of the Forest’s natural history. The book is packed with information. There are lists that range from places of interest, butterflies and plants, to the thickness of the coal seams and the length of the Severn Railway Bridge measured in feet and inches. And between the lists are pages of wonderful description and illustrations of the Forest in the late Victorian Period. The guidebook begins with a brief history of the Forest surmounted by an engraving of the Great Oak of Newland. Then Bellows recommended an inspection of Gloucester Museum before boarding the railway to reach the Forest. His preferred approach was by rail via Berkeley and thence over the old Severn Railway Bridge, ‘the largest bridge of its kind in Great Britain’ to reach Lydney and then onwards, still by train, into the Forest. A popular destination was the Speech House where ‘…a party may find lunch laid ready for them on arrival if they will hand a card to the Station Master at Lydney, en route, stating their number and requirements’. Thus the visit began and excursions on foot, horse, or by rail might be made to all parts of the district and to Tintern Abbey and the castles of Goodrich and Raglan that lay beyond the Forest.

(Description courtesy of Create Space)

 

hereForest Diaries by Deborah Ferneyhough-Sweet (Paperback £12.99)

Deborah Sweet first fell in love with the wonders of the Forest of Dean and the River Wye on courting visits with her sweetheart, Charlie Ferneyhough, back in the 1970s. Since marrying and raising a family Deborah and Charlie have returned hundreds of times, canoeing down the river on summer days, walking miles down remote forest tracks, picnicking in the snow, watching and studying the rich wildlife and getting to know the very special people who live in this part of the English-Welsh border. Forest Diaries is a delightful tribute to countless happy hours spent in this beautiful and unspoilt part of rural Britain.

(Description courtesy of Memoirs Publishing)