Golden Valley (Herefordshire)

The Golden Valley is the name given to the valley of the River Dore in western Herefordshire, England. The valley is a picturesque area of gently rolling countryside. It lies in the lee of the Black Mountains, Wales.

The main villages are Dorstone, Peterchurch, Abbey Dore and Ewyas Harold.

Origin of the name

The name Golden Valley probably derives from a confusion of the name of the River Dore with the French d'or, meaning 'of gold'. The Normans might have confused the Welsh word dŵr, meaning 'water', with 'd'or'. A similar situation occurred with the Duero/Douro river in Iberia (Spain and Portugal) where the Romance languages adopted the original Celtic name and changed the meaning to the similar-sounding precious metal.

Historic Attractions

Arthur's Stone, Herefordshire,[1] located just outside the village of Dorstone, is a chamber tomb from the Neolithic Period, and dates from some time between 3700 and 2700 BC. Arthur's Stone is Herefordshire's oldest man-made structure.

Dore Abbey[2] is a former mediaeval Cistercian monastery that during the summer offers a programme of musical concerts. It was built between 1175 and 1220 and restored in the 1630s.

Nearby is Bacton Church with the monument to Blanche Parry - she was close to Queen Elizabeth I for 56 years. This monument, securely dated before November 1578, is the earliest depiction anywhere of Queen Elizabeth I as an icon, as 'Gloriana'. It pre-dates the paintings showing this theme. Bacton Church also has rare 1914-1918, World War I, medal ribbons depicted in stone on several memorial wall plaques.

The diaries of Francis Kilvert extol the beauty of the local landscape of English river valleys sheltered by the Black Mountains between Hay on Wye and Hereford and it is Bredwardine where he is buried. Kilvert was Rector at St Andrew's church, Bredwardine until his early death in 1879.

Ewyas Harold Castle is an early Norman motte and bailey castle and St Michael's church, Ewyas Harold contains a 13th-century or 14th-century effigy of a lady holding a heart in the palm of her hand.

The last remaining toll bridge in Herefordshire at Whitney-on-Wye leads to Hay-on-Wye, the world-renowned second-hand book town. This border town has tiny streets and 30 bookshops.

Owain Glyndŵr is said to have spent his final years after his disappearance following the eventual failure of his rebellion against King Henry IV in hiding under an alternative identity with his daughter, Alys Scudamore, previously known as Alys ferch Owain Glyndŵr, and her husband, a Herefordshire Scudamore, namely Sir John Scudamore in the Golden Valley.

Recent Times

The Golden Valley featured in the 1993 film Shadowlands in both a painting and as an actual location. C.S. Lewis, the film's protagonist, owned a painting of a valley which to him, as a child, appeared to be heaven.

At the southern end of the Golden Valley in the village of Ewyas Harold is a llama farm. The owners of Golden Valley Llamas take people on llama trekking expeditions around the area. An item about the Golden Valley Llama herd appeared on the BBC regional news Midlands Today on 9 December 2009. BBC Countryfile also covered the Golden Valley Llamas herd on 24 March 2013


During 2008 the Golden Valley saw the construction of the National Grid’s 196 km natural gas pipeline from Felindre to Tirley. The pipeline increases the volume of gas which can be transported from the new LNG terminals at Milford Haven to the rest of the UK.


External links

Coordinates: 52°00′58″N 2°55′37″W / 52.016°N 2.927°W / 52.016; -2.927

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