Nikki Squires, co-author of guide book - the Wild Guide to Central England, shares her favourite wild places to visit in Herefordshire and its borders - from riverside to hilltop, from castles to caves ... and ancient trees.

Backney Common, River Wye

Ancient common land and pasture border a tight meander of the Wye with a large shingle and sand beach shelving to a generous pool. From the A49 just west of Ross-on Wye, turn signed Backney at crossroads. After two miles, follow no-through road right to Foy and car park right after 200m. Adjacent is a track to meadows. Continue one third mile upstream for beach.

Longtown Castle

This well-preserved, peaceful and interesting little castle was built on a Roman fort, still visible as a much larger square embankment straddling the road. EH, free. Signed off road through Longtown, HR2 0LE. Parking 100m N and opp.

Mordiford Bridge, river Lugg

A relaxing swim under the old bridge towards some gentle rapids. Explore upriver folloiwng the Wye Valley Way or down river to join the confluence with the Wye. From Mordiford follow Wallflower Row/B224 west just over the bridge and park in laybt beyond parapets. Cross road and follow path down to pebble beach.

Dymock Woods

A pretty and extensive ancient woodland noted for its spectacular spring flowers, especially its wild daffodils, but flora- and fauna-rich all year round. Miles of peaceful trails to discover. Leave B1425 at Dymock (GL18 2AZ), signed Kempley on Kempley Rd, turn L after bridge, signed Oxenhall, past Western Way Chapel, then R at fork signed Normansland. Follow this 1½ miles to the woods.s. Various lay-bys and wide turnings, park carefully (51.9573, -2.4548).

St Peter’s Yew

A beautiful, ancient yew with a girth of 7.24m, estimated to be one of the oldest in the country at over 2,000 years. Hub Café inside church offers delicious, home-made cake. On B4348 heading N through Peterchurch (HR2 0RS) church is signed L down turning by Boughton Arms.

Much Marcle Yew and Church

Thought to be at least 1,500 years old, this hollow yew tree has a bench inside to sit on. Sweet in the grounds of the 13th century St Bartholomew’s Church, which has beautiful carved tombs from several centuries, including one made of wood. In Much Marcle follow B4024 south for one-third of a mile from the A449. Church is signed right. Make the most of a day out and book a tour of the Cider Mill at Westons Cider.

St Mary’s Church, Kempley

An exceptional Norman church showcasing some of the best preserved medieval paintings in Britain and the oldest timber roof of any building in Britain. English Heritage. Free entry. Signed left off B4215, one mile north of Dymock.

Higgins Well

Legend tells of a landowner who was fed up with locals trespassing, so filled in his well, only for it to spring up into his front room, compelling him to re-open it. Take a look in the pretty Victorian church too, with its decorative ironwork and Norman font. From Kingsthorne, head SE to Little Birch Church on Mesne Lane, turning right to park at the church. Walk north on the track opposite the turning into the church. The well is at the bend of the stream.

Garway Hill Common

Enjoy the wonderful, ever-changing 360 degree panoramas over five counties of England and Wales from the summit, as well as views of the deer park at Kentchurch Court. Signed north from west of Garway. Immediately after bend with fork back right to St Weonards, take bumpy lane uphill left and follow down to common entrance with car park at end.

The Arches, Shobdon

Arched remains of a fine Romanesque church of the famed Herefordshire School, relocated to the top of an old tree-lined avenue as a folly in the 18th century. From B4362 W of Shobdon, turn signed Uphampton, and follow for a little over over a mile to park opposite triple gates at Uphampton Farm and follow footpath sign R just beyond.

Laugh Lady Well, Brampton Bryan

A holy well with a brick surround and lid, into which young people would drop a pin and away the gurgle to tell them their wish had been granted. Ruined castle opens just once a year, in early August, the estate park is worth exploring and is home to some magnificent trees. Park in Brampton Bryan, just off A4113. Take the left fork at village green, opposite historic yew hedge. Follow private road/bridleway and head straight on to the well to the right at base of the hill.

Credenhill Park Wood

Follow the well-marked paths uphill through the elder, oak and yew woodland and clamber over the rock sculpture in the shape of the Iron Age hillfort. Sling a hammock between two trees and while away an hour or two in total tranquillity. Boots advisable for some paths. On the A480 heading E through Credenhill, take left signed Credenhill Park Wood. Car park, 250m on the left.

Titterstone Clee Hill

At 533m, Titterstone Clee Hill is one of the highest Shropshire Hills and wonderful views abound, but the most fun can be had exploring the remnants left from industrial quarrying. Mined for its dark carboniferous dolerite, you can enter the empty ruins and search for the remnants of the ancient hill fort. On A4117 from Cleehill dir Ludlow. Titterstone Clee summit is signed R through Dhustone. Turn onto Dhustone Lane and follow for half a mile to car park near top of hill.

Robert’s Hill Old Cider Mill, Edvin Loach

Atmospheric old ruins set beside the river, perfect for a picnic and a paddle. Take the B4203 NW from Bromyard for 1.75 miles and turn left, signed Edvin Loach. Park on the left on a sharp right hand bend. Follow round the bend past ruins to gate. Paddle across the river.

About the book

Wild Guide Central England is published by Wild Things Publishing