What makes an ideal lengthy distance stroll? The UK has greater than 1,600 with extra popping up yearly. Some are geographically apparent: ridge strains and riverside rambles that leap off the map. However what about the remainder? Which is able to succeed and turn out to be climbing stalwarts just like the Pennine Manner or Coast-to-Coast? Herefordshire’s newest candidate is the 45-mile Twin Valley Ley Line Path.On 30 June 1921, 100 years in the past, antiquarian Alfred Watkins, a born and bred Herefordian, took a stroll by the Herefordhsire hills and determined he might detect straight strains connecting historic websites and religious landmarks throughout the countryside. He dubbed them ley strains – routes crisscrossing the panorama that our ancestors might need adopted. The archaeological neighborhood was not completely persuaded, however half a century later the counterculture motion picked up the thought. Earlier than lengthy, ley strains have been being interpreted as something from neolithic commerce routes to UFO navigational aids.Bridge over the River Dore, simply past Peterchurch. {Photograph}: Man HaywardAs nicely because the Twin Valley path, there’s a brand new 106-mile driving and biking route, the Watkins Manner, each taking in fort ruins, hillforts, and historic websites dotted alongside ley strains. Centenary celebrations embody a pageant (19 June-3 July) with guided walks, a pilgrimage and workshops; from 19 June-11 September there’s additionally an exhibition at Hereford Museum – Watkins was a pioneering photographer.The whole Twin Valley path, which partly follows two parallel rivers, the Dore and the Monnow, will be completed in three or 4 days. Ranging from the village of Ewyas Harold, 10 miles south-west of Hereford, the path appears to be like like the proper midsummer stroll, however I’ve my very own navigational downside: the place is the trail? Being first on a brand new path has some challenges, similar to a scarcity of signposts (coming quickly!), plus the ravages of a torrential downpour that has torn down a footbridge and turned our map right into a moist dishcloth.“We should always have introduced the laminated,” says Sophie, my accomplice, sheltering below a large oak. “Are we on a ley line?”“Are you feeling some Earth power?” I ask.“No, I’m simply shivering.”Kevin Rushby tackling the floods between Llancillo and Walterstone. {Photograph}: Kevin RushbyWe plough on and are available to a barbed-wire fence behind which stands a obvious bull with testicles the dimensions of spacecraft. We return to the oak and choose up a path that leads, finally, to our first religious waypoint: the Eleventh-century church of Llancillo, rising mysteriously from behind the cloud and a stand of redwood timber. We’re drenched, however the church is dry, and catacomb-quiet. These misplaced and silent chapels will adorn our stroll like “dots on God’s eyelash”, as one poetic church warden tells us.I’ll admit to a frequent sense of disappointment after I enter a Home of God. Not solely is the Almighty absent, however often the dreaded Victorians acquired there first, inserting their clunky woodwork and garish glass. What I would like is beams of mystic mild dancing with ghostly mud, historic carvings and a statue of a knight brandishing a sneering cranium. This clutch of church buildings would offer all of those, and extra.Llancillo was a wonderful begin. Accessible solely on foot, it stands on a ley line recognized by Watkins that leads us on to the subsequent spot, Walterstone church, the place I discover the tomb of a person named Urbane Cheese. The pleasure of this sustains me all the way in which to Longtown and its pub The Crown (doubles from £75 B&B), our first in a single day cease. This amiable inn might function the form of wallpaper that brings the prime minister’s spouse out in hives, however that form of heritage additionally comes with a full-size tub, sufficient scorching water to sink a Johnson, and pints of Wye Valley Brewery’s best Butty Bach.Eleventh-century church of LlancilloNext day is a 21-mile yomp, beginning with one other magnificent church: Llanveynoe, the place two mysterious Saxon crosses are pock-marked with pagan defilements. This place hums with historic resonances. To the west looms the darkish featureless escarpment of the Black Mountain. We stroll north on a bridleway poised on the hillside between the enclosed fields beneath and open wilderness above. With some sunshine breaking by, that is magnificent climbing, all the way in which to Craswall Priory, a Thirteenth-century ruined abbey, then over Cefn Hill (pron. Kevin) and up Merbach Hill (318 metres) for nice views of the Wye Valley. The path now drops to the neolithic tomb of Arthur’s Stone. The large cap stone, at 25 tonnes, was popped into place about 5,000 years in the past, however sadly acquired cracked when King Arthur slew a large whose elbow landed on it.This relic despatched Alfred Watkins into an ecstacy of azimuths and alignments, the tomb being on a number of outdated greenways and lining up with numerous church buildings and distant peaks. The midsummer alignment was pure Watkins, the rising solar slicing by not solely Arthur’s Stone however Cefn Hill, Bredwardine Citadel, a spot often known as the Golden Nicely and a standing stone that had “been moved to make a gatepost”. His 1925 e-book The Previous Straight Observe was the end result of his obsession. The alignments of historic mounds, tumps, hillforts and peaks have been “information past the opportunity of unintentional coincidence”.Our personal alignment was right down to close by Dorstone and the wonderful Pandy Inn B&B (doubles £85, B&B), housed in log cabins and run by the joyfully larger-than-life Magdalena. Anybody on a real pilgrimage might head for the church, which additionally welcomes in a single day stops.On the trail to Merbach Hill. {Photograph}: Kevin RushbyNext day we stroll down what is called the Golden Valley, the valley of the River Dore. Winding by woods and meadows, that is as near bucolic bliss as you may hope for within the twenty first century. A broad inexperienced lane lined with oak and discipline maple results in Saint Margaret’s church, which comprises a uncommon treasure: a surprising rood display carved in about 1520. Faces stare out from its luxurious tangle of vines and oak, maybe of the craftsmen who made it, males born within the center ages, for whom the Battle of Bosworth Subject was nonetheless a speaking level.The following deal with comes rapidly: Bacton Church, the place I lastly get my knight carrying a sneering cranium. The large reward, nonetheless, is a reproduction of the outdated altar fabric: 5 years in the past this was found to be a part of certainly one of Elizabeth I’s clothes, the one massive fragment of her clothes that survives. It was packed off to Hampton Court docket in 2019 for restoration and show. This devoted reproduction is a surprising merchandise, embroidered with sea monsters, jungles and fauna. The crimson colors are from Mexico; the indigo blue is from India. If Shakespeare ever plied the needle, that is what he would conjure.We hike over the village frequent again to Ewyas Harold and the Temple Bar Inn (doubles £90, B&B) the place workmen are swigging jugs of cider. It might need been a scene from the woodcarvings of St Margaret’s church, aside from the hi-vis clothes. This stroll will, I’m sure, survive to turn out to be a nationwide favorite. The journey was supplied by Go to Herefordshire. Baggage transfers (£25 every) have been supplied by Eco Carriers…