Ross-on-Wye for Arts & Crafts
Herefordshire has long been associated with really high-quality art and crafts – boosted by the leading Hereford College of Arts; but also, a culture of creativity – maybe fostered by a slower way of life and surrounded by the beauty and peace of the countryside? In 2023, the Herefordshire Guild of Craftsmen celebrates 70 years; and the annual h.Art festival will be in its 21st year. There is evidence of this culture found in all the market towns, with galleries and exhibitions; as well as rural open studios; hand embroidered/carved interior in a special thatched Arts & Crafts church; and spectacular sculptures throughout the countryside. For those of us who live here, it is easy to take this talent for granted; but visitors from afar are blown away by the skill, quality & diversity of the local artists.
For walkers there is the opportunity to combine fabulous trails with exploring the arts. The highlight of the year on early September (1-10th September 2023) is the h.Art exhibition, with the ability to meet hundreds of individual artists and see an array of artwork across the county in the city and countryside – often in fabulous locations such as manor houses, historic barns, farms, churches and beautiful gardens; and often with a range of artists in any one location. Combining the h.Art map with the Walking in Ross, local walks, gives lots of opportunities to “walk and browse” , or even “walk and buy”. Or using your phone, or an old-fashioned map, plot your own walks between the venues.
A number of these and other venues are also open year-round, or studio visits can be booked. For example, the famous sculptor, Walenty Pytel can be visited with a short diversion from Walk 5 on the walk downloads Local Walks – Welcome to Walking in Ross or following the trail out from Ross along the Rudhall Brook; and the Wobage Galleries with its ancient barns, sits right on the Herefordshire Trail – walkable from Ross with a glorious stretch through the Perrystone Estate, or accessible by the new community bus service, the Daffodil line Buses4us
Something totally different is the modern Canwood Gallery & Sculpture Park with both local and international artists – often really thought-provoking exhibitions; but with a wealth of local walks, or a short drive from Haugh Woods with its rare butterflies, historic geology and wildlife reserves (Herefordshire Wildlife Trust).
In addition, Ross-on-Wye itself is a haven for the creatives. Made in Ross is the flagship shop/exhibition space upstairs in the distinctive old Market Hall; but wander the streets and you will find Gallery 54, Urchins and Living Loom as well as antiques, craft studios and vintage shops – or even art for sale in the tea rooms and pubs. Look out also for exhibitions from the Ross Photographic Society and other groups in St Mary’s Church, which has developed as a community hub and a great place to start walks from and around Ross.
Ross Walkers are Welcome would love to share our delights with you… so come and explore the Arts with us….