JOHN Philips of Withington certainly knew a thing or two about cider.

In the poet’s best known work, Cyder, there is a scientific account of the culture of the apple tree and the production of the drink. His fine descriptive passages display knowledge of the best place for the apple to thrive, but one of Herefordshire’s most fruitful enclaves receives only very guarded approval.

About three miles north-north-west of Much Marcle, on the eastern face of Marcle Ridge, a massive landslip, estimated at 60,000 cubic metres, took place over three days starting on the evening of February 17, 1575.

Marcle Hill “shoved its prodigious body forward with a horrible roaring noise”, and kept moving till the 19th, carrying along with it trees, hedges, and cattle.

In its progress it overthrew the chapel of Kynaston and eventually settled in its present position.

A chasm 40 feet deep and about 400 feet long remained where the hill had originally stood.

The massive slip was named The Wonder and full-grown trees, planted on one farm, were carried down the slope to a different property below.

In Victorian times people came from far and wide to view The Wonder.

It is shown on the Ordnance Survey map at grid reference 634 365.

On the ground the site, if not wondrous, can still be seen.

Probably the best place to get a good view it is by the road junction at point six on our route, below, at the end of what we shall call “Landslip Lane”.

The track here was created after The Wonder occurred, and slices through the edge of the landslip.

On your right there is a drop of about three metres to the adjacent field, and on your left is a two-metre high cross-section to the slip, above which is a patch of rough ground on the top of the slip.

In about 1840 during ploughing of the site of the landslip, the bell of Old Kynaston Chapel was unearthed and brought to Sir James Kyrle Money, lord of the manor, who placed it in the tower of Homme House in Much Marcle where it still hangs.

There is now no trace of Kynaston Chapel, but its site is believed to have been just behind the ash tree on the right-hand-side as we proceed uphill from The Wonder to Woolhope Cockshoot.

Part of the chapel’s masonry is built into Hall End Farm buildings further down the same road.

There are almost continual fine views on our undulating route across field and lane.

The landslip also removed a yew tree in Kynaston churchyard and its roots are still visible, more than 400 years later, in the hollow below the deep cutting in the Upper Ludlow rocks at point six.

That’s The Wonder. The wonder of yew.

It’s the wonder of yew Marcle Ridge, Rushall and Marcle Hill THE ROUTE 6½ mile moderate walk with eight stiles.

Fine views across south and east Herefordshire. Ridge, fields, country lanes.

Map: OS Explorer 189, Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.

1. Marcle Ridge Picnic Site. GR 631 346. From car park, walk past notice board up to road junction.

Turn sharp right up seven steps and cross stile into field.

Follow the right edge/hedge gently up, through two gaps, passing the trig point at 231m (on the other side of the fence).

Walk ahead along the ridge through two gates past the TV mast until you drop down seven steps through wooden kissing-gate and two more steps on to a cross track.

Turn left up the wide aggregate track. Keep ahead at cross roads, now surfaced, beyond the primitive 1858 Methodist Chapel to Nuttal Cottage.

2. Nuttal Cottage. Directly opposite, turn left across double stile.

Go ahead through three gates to right of (Nuttal) Farm/orchard. Go ahead through two more gates and another one under construction in April 2012 (hedge is on your right).

Pass through further gate, cross stile, second stile in dip, ahead through a swathe of crops, over stile, and beyond oak tree. At gap, follow road ahead.

3. Noggin. Just beyond barn at far end of farm, turn right across stile.

After a few paces, turn left across stile in front of piggery, then turn immediately right over next one.

Follow top right edge of bank in sloping field (don’t slip).

Go ahead at elbow in front, through gap, along telegraph line and drop a little. Look out for and cross stile above right into crop field. Turn left under double telegraph poles along left edge, down steps with hand rail and turn left along farm track to the road just beyond Pear Tree Cottage.

4. Rushall. Turn left up to crossroads and go straight ahead along road, left of post box. Pass Old Hyde Cottage, then stables and cider press of Hill End Farm. Go straight ahead along aggregate track, bend left at Little Hall, past its own approach drive, and head up the track towards Marcle Hill.

After about 300m you will reach a farm gate on the right.

5. “Landslip Lane”. Turn right through gap by gate along the lane.

Keep ahead at cross track – dinking slightly left – to go along the bottom right edge of plantation.

Where the field edge curves up to left, go down to the right. Just before the gap at the road is the most discernible landmark of The Wonder of 1575.

6. The Wonder. At the road, turn left and trudge up to Woolhope Cockshoot. At the road junction, turn left as if for Woolhope. About 100m beyond Ridge Cottage, bear left up the bridleway drive, but keep to right of the impressive double wooden gates. Now follow Marcle Hill, at first quite steeply up, but levelling off through the trees, with intermittent views to The Malverns left, for one mile.

7. Hooper’s Oak. At Hooper’s Oak, go ahead (left) along the road, with its fine views, half a mile back to the Picnic Place.