Landscapes for Life
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are some of the UK’s most cherished and outstanding landscapes.
The hedgehog has special significance within the Wye Valley AONB as part of the area covers the ancient kingdom of ‘Ergyng’ (Archenfield), which means ‘Land of Hedgehogs’ and today the hedgehog is the symbol of Ross on Wye. Start looking and you will find this favourite little animal depicted in wood, stone, stained glass and paint in churches and other buildings all over the northern section of the AONB.
Foy Church has a number of stone carvings on memorials to the Abrahall family, as well as a finely modelled carving of the Abrahall heraldic “urchin”(or hedgehog) inside the Church. At Hentland Church a window dedicated to St. Dubricius includes a hedgehog at his feet. At St Mary’s Church in Ross on Wye there is a “hunt the hedgehog trail” with hedgehogs carved into a number of the memorials.
Local legend has it that Archenfielders were ‘prickly’ characters, who were independently minded, adaptable and great warriors, which made them sought after soldiers who were recruited by kings, given special privileges and called ‘Kings-men’.