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Panks Bridge to Five Bridges


Where are the Bridges?

 

Perhaps it’s not fair to recommend the Panks Bridge (SO 630483) to Five Bridges (656488) walk because the eastern half of the track has largely disappeared beneath a sea of nettles – the sure sign of manure and therefore of cattle on the move, but not easily negotiable outside the winter months without leather chaps.

 

It must have been a toll-evasion route from Leominster to Ledbury avoiding Burley Gate (and the rest) at SO 597473.  From Leominster it almost certainly hit the road east of Ullingswick at Bleak Acre (605497), where, just to back up my theory there lies (lay?) a little pub called The Three Crowns in the middle of nowhere.  No locals within miles, so the customers must have been drovers!

 

Back to Panks Bridge: the track starts promisingly at Little Richley Farm, then it goes from nettles to dog-walking (#1) before becoming nettly again (#2) for almost the rest of the way.  The badgers appreciate it, anyway.

 

The peak of excitement was our attempt to find the remains of "The Harp", a beer house mentioned in the OS, First Series.  Not one brick is left.  Even the 1880’s six-inch shows only Harp Cottage, also vanished without trace (#3 & 4).  But a field away to the NE, at 647473, is a building (divided) with a P for Pump at the front, and it’s right on the track…

 

After the excitement we joined a farm track to Five Bridges and civilisation.  Six bridges in all, and we couldn’t see one of them!


PS  Just discovered another link in the chain: just before WW1, says Ron Shoesmith in The Pubs of Bromyard, Ledbury & East Herefordshire, at Panks Bridge Cottage, was "a short-lived cider house called The Traveller's Rest".
You can't get more itinerant-friendly than that!

Panks Bridge to Five Bridges image 1
Suburbia...
Panks Bridge to Five Bridges image 2
...and nettles...
Panks Bridge to Five Bridges image 3
..leading to The Harp?...
Panks Bridge to Five Bridges image 4
1880's Six-inch
Panks Bridge to Five Bridges image 5
Vicious, but home to badgers.