Wherever one goes, there will not be a mile that is visually unrewarding.” Sir Nikolaus Pevsner was clearly impressed, and today’s visitors will also find delights at every turn in the rolling landscape, the pretty villages and the charming market towns. Herefordshire had few natural resources, so the industrial scars that spoil many counties are mercifully absent; the beauty and peace remain relatively intact, and motorists will generally find traffic-free roads. Apples and hops are the traditional crops of Herefordshire, and the cider industry is still a thriving one. The days when almost every farm produced its own cider are long gone, but many of the old mills are preserved on the farms or in museums. Large areas (over9,500 acres) of the county are given over to cider orchards, and 63 million gallons of cider are produced here each year - well over half the UK total. The Cider Museum in Hereford is a good starting point for taking the Cider Route, which tours the Herefordshire countryside and includes more than a dozen cider-makers.
In western Herefordshire perry is something of a speciality, It is made in a similar way to cider but with pears instead of apples. Hops have been cultivated in the county since the 16th century and once Herefordshire provided late summer work for thousands of pickers, mainly from the Black Country and south Wales. The industry is considerably smaller now, and mechanisation has greatly reduced the need for manual labour.
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