I chose another cathedral destination for my next destination – Hereford, and once again it was approximately an hour by train from Cardiff. Hereford station is one of those that looked much more impressive from the outside than the from the platform. What a great red brick frontage it has. The station was originally called Barrs Court Railway Station and opened in 1853.
I headed for the cathedral as I was keen to see Mappa Mundi which is the largest medieval map still known to exist. There used to be a larger one in Hanover, Germany but it was destroyed in an Allied WWII bombing which seems rather an unjust way to gain the record. It was indeed fascinating to see and a February morning the ideal time to visit judging by the fact I had the place to myself. The map is 130 centimetres in diameter, large enough to see the detail. A modern depiction of the map nearby helped make things even clearer.
The Mappa Mundi wasn’t the only fascinating thing to see in the cathedral. It also has a chained library. The blurb says ‘The chaining of books was the most widespread and effective security system in European libraries from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, and Hereford Cathedral’s 17th-century Chained Library is the largest to survive with all its chains, rods and locks intact’. Just the sight of the chained books was enough for me – I didn’t have any compulsion to see inside the books, it was just the realisation of the fact of how valuable books were in the past that it was deemed necessary to chain them up. How we take books for granted these days.
Of course there was some geocaching to be done in the middle of the day that took me through parks, through the centre of town and some places a normal day visitor would never have got to see.
What I did stumble upon though and a place that I hadn’t planned to visit was the Museum of Cider. I wouldn’t claim to be the world’s number one cider fan, but if the beer has run out and the weather is hot then I have been known to enjoy a glass or two. What I was more interested in was the mechanics of cider making. I had walked through a few cider orchards last summer and had a couple of friends who were developing a cider orchard in West Wales and was interested in learning about the various stages involved in turning the humble apple into something that makes you fall over.
I found there was plenty in Hereford to entertain me for the day. Well worth a visit.
Date of visit: 22 February 2019
See progress to date: A-Z of Railway Stations