Many of the houses are timbered or half-timbered, some dating from mediaeval times. The buildings’ black oak beams are exposed on the outside, with white-painted walls between. The numbers of houses surviving in this style in the villages creates a very distinctive impression and differs from building styles outside this area.
It was probably only during the late Victorian age that it become fashionable to finish the buildings in a black and white veneer. In earlier times, the oak would not have been stained, but retained its natural colour and the walls would have reflected the colour of the local clay, generally a pink colour, rather than a white whitewash lime.
A 40-mile circular tourist trail known as the “Black and White Village Trail” was developed in 1987 as a means of encouraging tourists to take a closer look at the Herefordshire villages, heritage and countryside. The trail was developed mainly for travel by car, but it is also possible to make the journey by bicycle. Many coach tours now take in the trail also.
- In pictures: Herefordshire’s black and white villages (ontheluce.com)
- Weobley, Herefordshire (fenyastravels.com)