Ross-on-Wye: The Land of the Hedgehog

Every village and town seems to have its own traditions, and whilst some are stranger than others, Ross-on-Wye might just take the crown for its long-running fascination with a very cute woodland creature.

As many of you may know, Ross-on-Wye is sometimes referred to by another name – ‘The Land of the Hedgehog’. As a riverside pub and inn with a long history within the area, we thought we’d shed some light on Ross’ association (and obsession) with all things hedgehog!

Hedgehogs are in our history

The very beginnings of the area’s fascination with hedgehogs can be traced back more than 1,500 years. During this period, the Celts invaded Ross-on-Wye and after defeating its settlers renamed the now historic market town ‘Ergyng’.

‘Ergyng’ is translated as ‘Land of the Hedgehog’, and despite being retitled as Arkenfeld by the Saxons, the name stuck. The town was also later named Archenfield or ‘Land of Urchins’. Hedgehogs were referred to as ‘urchins’ prior to the 16th century before receiving the name we know them by today.

Spot the area’s hedgehogs for yourself

Hedgehog emblems can be seen across many of the crests and logos featured throughout the town. Visitors serious about hunting Ross’ hedgehogs should explore the area’s official Hedgehog Trail at St Mary’s Church.

Tourist guide Visit Ross-on-Wye reveals more about the iconic Hedgehog Trail:

“In St Mary’s church, there are hedgehog icons that date back to the seventeenth century on old family crests (Kyrle and Abrahall) up to more recent memorials including the Boar War and WWII. The Hedgehog Trail offers a fascinating glimpse into Ross-on-Wye’s social history.”

The resident hedgehogs that call St Mary’s their home were recently joined by Spike, an eight-foot-tall hedgehog that was unveiled at the 2018 Ross Carnival.

There are also several hedgehog rescue centres throughout Herefordshire and nearby Gloucestershire and Worcestershire to support and visit during your trip.

Celebrate hedgehogs with the locals

In addition to taking in the many hedgehog themed sights, you can also celebrate with the locals courtesy of a number of annual events.

The Hedgehog Festival is the biggest and best local event. It takes place every September to not just celebrate the area’s history and love of hedgehogs but to play a vital role in protecting hedgehogs and their habitats.

Visitors staying with us will be in a prime position to attend the Hedgehog Festival. The event takes place right next to The Hope and Anchor, and there’s so much to enjoy. You can learn more about these fascinating woodland creatures, purchase a range of goodies (including plants to nurture your own natural habitats at home), and create art from the most natural materials.

You can also discover more about creating a hedgehog friendly garden at home and learn hedgehog first aid courtesy of talks and demonstrations from a range of experts.

The event is great fun for all the family, and it’s free to attend meaning you can enjoy a budget-friendly break right here in Ross-on-Wye.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us via the contact details below:

The Hope & Anchor Team

T: 01989 477100