The bus route is one of the oldest in the county and is another in the growing series of scenic bus routes to be launched in the county. It is serviced by Stagecoach and enjoyed its first official run on Tuesday 18th September. Guests took a short break at the Castle Inn, Little Birch for a brief celebratory launch following their scenic bus journey and walk through the countryside.
Herefordshire Council Chairman, Councillor Olwyn Barnett, attended the launch and congratulated those involved in getting the new route up and running. She said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to launch the latest in this series of scenic bus routes and to emphasise just how important bus services are within our county. They provide vital links and often a lifeline, especially for those in rural communities.”
Following in the footsteps of other successful bus route launches in Garway and Hoarwithy last year, a leaflet has been produced with the support of Rail for Herefordshire. The leaflet called The Ross Bus, promotes the use of Bus 32/33 which begins its journey in Hereford city, rises up the Callow, along the slopes of Aconbury Hill to King’s Thorn, through Much Birch, and Wilton, before arriving in Ross-on-Wye.
Aimed at encouraging more visitors to the area, the leaflet also includes routes for two walks, one a four mile walk from Callow to Much Birch and the other a five mile walk from King’s Thorn to Much Birch.
Councillor Russell B. Hamilton, cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “This initiative underlines how with a little creativity sustainable transport, walking for leisure and health, tourism and support for rural businesses can be integrated for the benefit of everyone. We live in a beautiful county and want to make the countryside more accessible to people and walking is great for your health.
“Thanks to Rail for Herefordshire for their support and Richard Taylor, landlord of the Castle Inn, one of the local hostelries featured in the leaflet as a great place to visit, for hosting the launch.
Scenic bus routes previously launched in Garway and Hoarwithy are already providing to be very popular. It is hoped that this new route will be just as successful.
“Linking walks with bus routes gives people the opportunity to have a great day out. As well as enjoying some of our lovely countryside, they can learn something about our history and culture and support local businesses such as pubs and restaurants.”