High Street Pembridge showing black and white timberframed house

The Black & White Village Trail

The Black and White Villages of North West Herefordshire and the market towns of Leominster and Kington contain hundreds of timber framed buildings, many of great age. Their churches, too, remind us of the long history of this area, containing records of people and events going back to Domesday and beyond.

The Black and White Village Trail is a 40 mile circular trail set out in a  clockwise direction. The trail begins and finishes in Leominster, however you may join at any point. The route is signposted throughout with brown and white tourist signs.

With the opportunity to visit villages, pubs, cafes and points of interest along the way, the route will provide an enjoyable day’s excursion at any time of the year.

The route is suitable to explore by car, coach or by bike.

Leominster Information Centre produces a leaflet showing you the route with directions. Leaflets are free of charge and can be obtained by visiting us at 11 Corn Square. You can also request a copy by calling 01568 616460 or click here to email us.

Alternatively, you can download a PDF copy of the leaflet by clicking here


Eardisland with black and white building with river arrow and Swan

You will pass through the following towns and villages whilst following the Black and White Village Trail:

  • Leominster
  • Dilwyn
  • Weobley
  • Sarnesfield
  • Kinnersley
  • Eardisley
  • Kington
  • Lyonshall
  • Pembridge
  • Eardisland

Although not officially on the trail itself, the village of Kingsland is well worth a visit. Kingsland is located between Eardisland and Leominster on the latter part of the trail.

West End Farm Pembridge 02

About Timber-framed Buildings

Many of the houses and buildings along the Black and White Village Trail are timber-framed – this is, the framework of the house is built from green (unseasoned) oak and the panels are infilled with lath – woven strips of wood and wattle daubled with plaster, clay, straw or animal dung. Occasionally, panels would be infilled with brick. The timber would be left natural and the panels had limewash applied, often with natural pigments. Many of the buildings on the trail were built during the 16th and 17th centuries, some date back even further – in Leominster some date back to the 1400s.

The idea of decorating timber-framed houses by painting the beams black and the panels white is a recent one, becoming fashionable in the late 18th century. However, in the 18th century when stucco and stone finishes became fashionable, many of these timber-framed houses had their timbers plastered over. In the mid 19th century the trend for exposed timber came back and many of these buildings had their plaster coverings removed.

The practice of painting the beams black and the panels white, in part to emphasise the intricate patterns of the timer frame, became established. Recently fashions have changed again and some of these buildings have had paint removed from beams to reveal the natural colouring of the weathered wood, while the panels are limewashed in soft earth tones.