The Parish

The Bishopstone Group of parishes is situated 8-9 miles to the west of the city of Hereford and covers a total area of 1843 hectares which is predominately rural and agricultural. The five hamlets that make up the group lie in an east-west line along the Wye Valley as shown on the map below. They are bisected by the A438 and bounded on the south by the River Wye. Bishon Common which lies in Bishopstone has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its flora and bird life.

The Group comprises 5 parishes: Bishopstone, Bridge Sollars, Byford, Kenchester and Mansell Gamage. The parishes vary considerably in size and population density; Bishopstone, the largest and most nucleated, has a population of 197, while Bridge Sollers, Mansell Gamage and Byford together total 203. There are no separate figures available for Kenchester, as Herefordshire Council’s Key Statistics put it together with Stretton Sugwas.

Analysis of the 2001 census returns shows that the makeup of the population of the parishes is typical of rural Herefordshire as a whole. There is an antiques centre and a car sales business situated on the A438 at Bridge Sollars, but lack of facilities in the Group means that residents have to travel to Hereford or to other towns and villages for most shops and services. There is a bus service to and from Hereford that serves some of the parishes but buses are few and far between and most travel is by private cars. The Group has no surgery, school, playgroup, post office, community centre or public meeting place. With the aid of a lottery grant a new church conversion took place in St Andrews Church at Bridge Sollars providing a multi-use community centre. This opened its doors in July 2011 but had to close in September 2020.