Castle GreenHereford
Herefordshire HR1 2NW
Castle Green in the heart of the City of Hereford is a large public park and green space close to the Cathedral precincts. It is encircled by historic old streets and slopes down the hill from Hogg’s Mount to the banks of the River Wye.
The park was once the site of Hereford castle and became open space in 1746. It is within easy walking distance of the Cathedral, High Town and the modern shopping centre.
Although Hereford Castle played an important role in the defence of the city its presence has been almost wiped from the landscape. Of the original pre-Norman motte and bailey, Hogg’s Mount is believed to be part of the motte, and the park a portion of the bailey. Redcliffe Gardens are on the site of the Norman Keep and Castle Pool is a remnant of the medieval moat.
Hereford Castle
After the Welsh destroyed the early Norman motte and bailey in 1055, Hereford Castle was rebuilt in 1070 by William FitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford. During the Middle Ages it hosted many royal visits but was destroyed during the Civil War. The stone ruins were gradually spirited away by the townsfolk and used to build their own dwellings. The resultant green space was used for grazing sheep.
By the 18th century it was a favourite spot to promenade in the afternoon sun, shaded by young lime trees and enjoying the river views.
In 1833 Castle Green was leased to the city council for a period of 200 years. People still remember maypole dancing and the days of the bandstand.
The council is still responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the sporting facilities; however, responsibility for caring for the part and the organising of special events, is in the hands of a local community group called The Friends of Castle Green. A Diary of Forcoming Events is available by going to  Web:  Friends of Castle Green/ Diary of Events
Some of the special features of the park are:
Hogg's Mount
The raised ground known as Hogg's Mount or Hogs Mound, may be the site of the original castle motte. 'Hogra' is Anglo-Saxon for 'mound', which may be an indication that this theory is not too far-fetched.
After a snowfall, this little hill is a popular spot for tobogganing or sliding down the hill on a feed sack. From here there is a view over Mill Street. The Eignbrook stream with two watermills used to be where Mill Street is now. If you descend the steps to Mill Street, turn left and go around the corner you will come to Castle Pool.
If you stay on the top of the rise, turn left and follow The Promenade built in 1746 to the Bowling Green. Beside the Bowling Green hut is a sewer lid. This is where the main sewer was laid in 1886. From here you can see the undulations of the remains of medieval buildings within the bailey.
Castle Pool (HR1 2NU)
If you approach Castle Pool from Hog’s Mount by descending the steps, half way down there are medieval stones in the flower border and a semi-hidden gravestone.
Now an attractive duck pond, Castle Pool once formed part of the moat which surrounded Hereford Castle. William Fitz-Osborn built the 11th century castle to defend the city from Welsh lords such as Owain Glyndwr. The castle has long disappeared, and only the original layout is now visible, with the north and east ramparts around 20 feet high, but the moat remains a scheduled ancient monument of significant importance.
In the corner of Castle Green is the now-defunct pump, which pumped water from the Wye to the Castle Pool. One of Hereford’s old streets, Cantiloupe, runs across the end of Castle Pool.
Nelson's Column
Admiral Horatio Nelson was not only a national hero but visited Herefordshire on a number of occasions and was made a Freeman of the City. In 1809, a public subscription raised funds to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar and erect a column to Nelson’s memory, on Castle Green. Unfortunately there were not enough funds to top it with a statue to the great man, so it is topped with an urn.
However, in 2005 canons were added at the base of the column, marking the Battle of Trafalgar’s bicentenary.
When Nelson's Column was built bones were found from St.Guthlac's Cemetery, proving the existence of a pre-Conquest monastic community on Castle Green.
St Guthlac’s Priory
It had always been known that before Hereford Castle was built, there had been a medieval priory near the Cathedral. It appears that as early as AD550 a monastic community had been founded on Castle Green. Despite the nearby Cathedral’s foundation in AD676, the monastery continued to support its religious order leading to the dedication of the site to St Guthlac, a saint originating in East Anglia. St Guthlac’s Priory and its burial ground remained at Castle Green until about 1144, when it was moved to a new site.
Walk west across the park towards the Cathedral Close and Quay Street where a tiny bit of Hereford Castle can be seen in the self-catering vacation property, Castle Cliffe.
Castle Cliffe (HR1 2NH)
Castle Cliffe, built largely by William Fitz Osbern, started life as the medieval water-gate of Hereford Castle. Its sandstone walls are five feet thick and would have formed a vital part of the castle’s fortifications. In the 13th century, visitors to the castle who were arriving by boat would have used an archway to enter the grounds, and this is still visible on the exterior of Castle Cliffe – now a window. The water-gate has also served time as the city’s Bridewell ( prison) and the castle Governor’s dwelling.  Web:  Castle Cliff
St. Ethelbert's Well
Further up Quay Street, in the wall of St Ethelbert’s House, is a Holy Well. The structure itself is Victorian but the story of its water is ancient. The story is that when Ethelbert the King was killed by King Offa of Mercia in AD794 his body was brought to Hereford for burial. Where the body was placed overnight before entering the city, a spring burst forth out of the ground. The spring water was alleged to cure eye ailments and the spring quickly became linked to the miracle cures occurring at St Ethelbert’s tomb in the Cathedral.
Return down Quay Street to Castle Green and walk east along the river bank to the Victoria Bridge.
Victoria Suspension Footbridge (HR1 2NT)
An attractive Victorian suspension bridge at the end of Mill Street allows pedestrians to cross the River Wye and to access the southern riverbank at Bishop’s Meadow (HR2 7RB).
The Victoria footbridge was built to replace an old ferry and was opened in 1898 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. John Parker designed the bridge and Findlay & Co of Motherwell Glasgow constructed the wrought iron latticework. The suspension bridge consists of two main piers with ornamental steel towers above. The royal arms are displayed on both sides of the centre span and each of the steel arches. The central span is 110 feet. - 33.5 metres.
Technically we are finished with Castle Green, but not with Hereford’s historical remains. Across the footbridge in Bishop’s Meadow are the Civil War ditches and redoubts.
Rowe Ditch
Beside the cycle path in Bishop’s Meadow is evidence of two ditches. One is the 1645 civil war Rowe Ditch and the other a medieval ditch. Also visible to the left is a semi-circular earthwork which was a Civil War gun emplacement. It was a Parliamentary mortar position during the siege of Hereford by Scottish troops in 1645.
There is a lot to enjoy in Castle Green park.
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   01432 234 567
There is no car park in Castle Green but at present there is two-hour parking on the surrounding streets (Mill Street, Cantilupe Street, Castle Street and Nelson Street). We suggest that you check parking restrictions.
Google Maps - Castle Green