I went on the Daffodil Line bus from Ledbury to Ross on a lovely day in late June indulging in the rich colours, views, villages and communities along this beautiful route. All without the need to concentrate on driving myself or worrying about parking when I got to Ross. Bliss.
My son joined me on the route to show me the delights Ross has to offer. And what delights there were! I had expected to spend a couple of hours in this small town, then home. Instead I caught the bus back 4 hours later not having explored everything I wanted to and planning my return trip!
We both had birthday gifts to buy as well as wanting to experience the buildings, walks and views around this historic market town. Straight off the bus and into Crows Feet, a gift and craft shop which set the standard of so many of the small independent shops in and around Ross, all stocking original and often hand-made items not generally found in ‘typical’ gift shops. Present buying started immediately!
Onto to Walker and Walker, a shop specialising in their own ethically designed and made clothes and related products using fabrics sourced from unusual places. They also aim to minimise waste by using every scrap of the fabric. I treated myself to a one off scrunchie made from a scrap of striking Japanese fabric.
On to Weatherspoons for a hearty, tasty and reasonably priced breakfast after our early start.
Then more purchases at Yat Pottery Art & Home – a working pottery and art studio which runs courses for both ceramics and painting and also sells unusual and often unique ceramics and paintings.
Then a chance to buy something for a grandson at the Little Chic, a well-stocked children’s clothing and toy shop.
A little way off the main streets there is a small shopping centre as well as the more usual larger supermarkets. In the shopping centre we found the Urchins Gallery which specialises in showing work from artists in the area often with a wildlife theme, including lots of hedgehogs. Here we learnt that hedgehogs were referred to as urchins prior to the 16th century and that Ross-on-Wye is sometimes referred to as ‘The Land of the Hedgehog’. Hedgehog emblems can be seen in many of the crests and logos throughout the town which even has a Hedgehog trail and annual festival!
A browse around Masons, an independent home décor shop where I bought a very early Christmas present – an unbelievable purchase for this ‘last minute’ Christmas shopper but again, I knew I had found something unusual which might not be stocked elsewhere.
Ross even has a bank and building society – rarities especially in small towns these days but much needed and frequented despite what larger institutions would have us believe.
Gift shopping apart there is so much else on offer. Often almost hidden away down an interesting street or alley are several antique and curio shops and bookshops. And there are so many beautiful, historical buildings.
Close to the centre and market square are coffee shops and pubs. Some overlook the beautiful Wye Valley and river and Pleasure Gardens. Here you can walk along the river and there is more than one children’s playground in the town. Also at the top is the Blake memorial garden which I believe is a community garden. This is a smaller and more secluded garden with many quiet spots with benches. It is well stocked, not a ‘formal garden’ but a lovely collection of shrubs and plants inviting you to sit and soak up their scents and colours.
I would have liked to spend more time walking along the river and exploring other areas surrounding this lovely town and will definitely be returning on the Daffodil Bus for another stress free visit.