Brockhampton welcomes the 'Herefordshire Bull' trow

The trow inside the workshop, before it heads to Brockhampton

Something rather exciting is coming to the new orchards at Brockhampton in the form of a cargo boat, once built to transfer goods such as cider using the Wye and Severn. Discover it in its final location later this year.

What is a trow?

A trow is a type of cargo boat which would have been used to transport goods to and from Herefordshire along the Wye and Severn. A replica trow known as the ‘Herefordshire Bull’ was built by T Nielson & Co in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. After proudly representing the county of Herefordshire on the seven-mile pageant of one thousand boats, it has now kindly been gifted to Brockhampton by Herefordshire Community Foundation. This trow is the first to be built since the mid-1800s and is a special part of Herefordshire’s history.

The Herefordshire Bull takes pride of place in the Brockhampton orchards.
A shot of the trow in the workshop, before arriving at Brockhampton
The Herefordshire Bull takes pride of place in the Brockhampton orchards.

Trows would travel to and from Herefordshire to Chepstow, Bristol, Gloucester, the Welsh Coast and Ireland. Goods bought back to the Wye Valley included wine, fine cloth, tobacco, tea, shop goods and building stone. Wye trows varied quite considerably in size, larger trows, trading with Bristol were around twenty-three metres long. Being an ornamental boat, the Herefordshire Bull has specially reduced measurements, with a length of eleven metres.

Why Brockhampton?

The orchards new and existing play an incredibly important role in the history, experience and spirit of place at Brockhampton. The first of the new orchards was planted in winter 2019 and can now be explored by visitors, this orchard features five ‘circular rooms’ to be surrounded by lowland meadow. Each ‘room’ features unusual and rare varieties of fruit, specially chosen to tell the story of the history of the eating apple.

The Herefordshire Bull also plays a part in the history of local orchards, once being used to transport cargo such as apples and cider as well as iron, copper, timber, coal and corn. Brockhampton is also renowned for good quality oak, some of the best in the country in fact, the trow is constructed out of oak and it’s historically accurate to presume the wood used would’ve come from a large country estate.

The Herefordshire Bull en-route to it's new home at Brockhampton.
The Herefordshire Bull on the back of a lorry, being transported to Brockhampton on a sunny day in spring.
The Herefordshire Bull en-route to it's new home at Brockhampton.

How do we intend to present the Herefordshire Bull?

The final location for the trow will be in one of the newly planted orchards, near a brook so running water can be heard. The trow will sit on a trailer which will be set into a gentle slope which means the meadow grass surrounding it will be at water level and the boat will appear to be floating on a ‘sea of grass’. ‘Waves’ of hawthorn will be planted to the side of the boat too which will conceal the trailer. There will be a wooden jetty which gives visitors access to the boat, climbing in and out as if it really was sat on water.

When will the Herefordshire bull be in place?

The trow has been delivered to Brockhampton and is temporarily being stored near the visitor car park. Visitors are welcome to come and view the trow but we do ask you do not let your children climb on it just yet. Work will continue over the coming months creating a network of pathways through the orchards and if all things go as they should, the trow should be in place by early summer this year.