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Herefordshire ( ) is a historic and ceremonial county in the West Midlands region of Englandmarker. It also forms a unitary district known as the County of Herefordshire. It borders the English ceremonial counties of Shropshiremarker to the north, Worcestershire to the east, Gloucestershiremarker to the southeast, and the Welshmarker preserved counties of Gwent to the south west and Powysmarker to the west. Herefordmarker is a cathedral city and is the county town; with a population of approximately 50,000 inhabitants it is also the largest settlement.

The county is one of the most rural and sparsely populated in England, with a population density of 82/km² (212/sq mi). The land use is predominantly agricultural and the county is well known for its fruit and cider production, and the Hereford cattle breed.


From 1974 to 1998, Herefordshire was part of the former non-metropolitan county of Hereford and Worcester.

Herefordshire was reconstituted both as a new district (effective 19 July 1996) and as a new county (coextensive with the area of the aforementioned district) (effective 1 April 1998) by Statutory Instrument as defined in The Hereford and Worcester (Structural, Boundary and Electoral Changes) Order 1996. This Order established Herefordshire as a unitary authority on the 1st April 1998, combining county and district functions into a single council. Herefordshire is also commonly called a unitary district, but this is not official nomenclature. Herefordshire is officially known as a unitary authority for local government purposes.It is governed by Herefordshire Council which was created in 1998 with the new unitary district that absorbed the previous administrative areas of Leominstermarker District Council, South Herefordshire District Council, Hereford City Council, parts of Hereford-Worcester County Council, and parts of Malvern Hills District Council.

The Lieutenancies Act 1997 made Herefordshire a ceremonial county, covering the exact area of the unitary district.


Herefordshire is one of the 39 historic counties of England.

In 1974 it was merged with neighbouring Worcestershire to form the relatively short-lived Hereford and Worcester administrative county. Within this, Herefordshire was covered by the local government districts of South Herefordshiremarker, Herefordmarker, and part of Malvern Hills and Leominstermarker districts.

The current ceremonial county and unitary district have broadly the same borders as the pre-1974 historic county.

Cities, towns and villages

The major settlements in the county include Herefordmarker, which is the county town and Herefordshire's only city, as well as the towns of Leominstermarker, Ledburymarker, Ross-on-Wyemarker, Kingtonmarker and Bromyardmarker.

See also :Category:Towns in Herefordshire and :Category:Villages in Herefordshire.


The Council is Conservative and the Chairman is Cllr John Stone, the Cabinet Leader for Herefordshire is Cllr Roger Phillips, the Herefordshire Youth Council is and has been running now for 4 Years the Chairman is Ricky Barlow, who also is Chairman of the Ross on Wye Youth Forum.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Herefordshire at current basic prices published by the Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 1,622 218 567 836
2000 1,885 155 643 1,087
2003 2,216 185 708 1,323

 includes hunting and forestry

 includes energy and construction

 includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

 Components may not sum to totals due to rounding

A well known company in Herefordshire is Bulmer's cider, based in central Hereford, with its UK market leader Strongbow.


Herefordshire has a comprehensive education system with seven independent schools. Most state schools are from 11-16. Sixth form provision is limited.

Colleges of further and higher education


The agricultural economy has changed massively in recent years within the county. The county is on the western side of Englandmarker which has been historically pastoral as opposed to the east which was more arable.


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


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 allowed the strawberries to be grown for a far longer season and at a higher quality (with no blemishes from the rain). The strawberries are mainly picked by Eastern European workers who come over for the season to earn some money, more than they could working in their country of origin and with the bonus, for many of them, of learning or improving their English fluency. The polytunnels have been a major issue in the county, as some people see them as a "blot on the landscape".

Although some polytunnel sites are technically illegal, Herefordshire Councilmarker has chosen to ignore legal ruling in the belief that if agriculture is to survive, then it must be allowed to innovate; otherwise, the industry will stagnate and the county will suffer.


There was a time when the majority of farms in the county would have had dairy cattle for milk production. The cost of investing in new equipment, long hours, BSE, foot-and-mouth disease and mainly the falling milk prices have meant that the milk production has drastically reduced, with only a few farms still in dairy farming.


As mentioned above, 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. 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.


Coat of arms

Herefordshire County Council was granted a coat of arms on February 28, 1946. 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.

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.

The red colouring of the shield is taken form 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 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 or This fair land is the gift of God.

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. The emblem has no official status, and has not been widely adopted. Herefordshire Council uses a logo consisting of a green apple.

Places of interest



The M50marker, one of the first motorways to be built in the UKmarker, runs through the south of the county and, with the A40 dual carriageway, forms part of the major route linking South Walesmarker with Gloucester, Oxford and London

The hilly nature of the terrain in Mid Walesmarker means that the main ground transport links between North Walesmarker and South Walesmarker run through Herefordshire. The other trunk roads in Herefordshire, the A49 and the A465, form part of these north–south routes as well as catering for local traffic. These are single-carriageway roads and mean that travelling through the county is often slow. In 2006, Asda supermarkets opened a controversial supermarket scheme connecting to this small roundabout on a flood plain. This project has large flood defences and the roundabout has been replaced by traffic lights and the road level raised as part of the project.


The Welsh Marches Railway Line also runs north–south with passenger trains operated by Arriva Trains Wales offering links to Manchestermarker as well as to North and South Wales. Hereford is the western end of the Cotswold Line which runs via Worcestermarker with through services to Oxfordmarker and Londonmarker (operated by First Great Western) and to Birminghammarker (operated by London Midland).

Former routes which are now closed were Ledburymarker to Gloucestermarker; Herefordmarker to Ross-on-Wyemarker and onward to Gloucestermarker and Monmouthmarker; Hereford to Hay-on-Wyemarker; Pontrilasmarker to Hay-on-Wye; Leominstermarker to New Radnormarker; Eardisleymarker to Presteignemarker; and Leominstermarker to Worcestermarker via Bromyardmarker.


There are no airports with scheduled air services in Herefordshire. Birminghammarker, Cardiffmarker and Bristolmarker international airports are the nearest. The RailAir coach operated by First Great Western provides connections to London Heathrowmarker via Reading stationmarker.Shobdon Aerodromemarker near Leominster is a centre for general aviation and gliding. Hot air ballooning is also popular with Eastnor Castlemarker being one of the favourite launch sites in the area.


Historically, the rivers Wye 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 The Boat House, Glasbury-on-Wye (in Powysmarker, Wales), the Hereford Youth Service and Kerne Bridge in Ross-on-Wyemarker, as well as a rowing club in Hereford.

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

Notable people


  1. The Hereford and Worcester (Structural, Boundary and Electoral Changes) Order 1996
  2. Members of Parliament by county or unitary authority
  3. Official Hereford Council website. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  4. (pp.240-253).
  5. CPC - Press
  6. Geoffrey Briggs, Civic and Corporate Heraldry, London, 1971
  7. The Local Authorities (Armorial Bearings) (No. 2) Order 1997,, accessed October 31, 2007
  8. C Wilfrid Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry of England and Wales, 2nd edition, London, 1953
  9. UK counties choose floral emblems, BBC News online, accessed October 31, 2007
  10. Herefordshire Council Homepage, accessed October 31, 2007
  11. Welcome to
  12. Hereford & Gloucester Canal
  13. Leominster & Stourport Canal

External links

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