Herefordshire is a county that’s offered plenty of inspiration to authors - from Phil Rickman’s exploration of the supernatural elements to be found in the county to John Lewis-Stempel’s celebrations of its natural beauty

Midwinter of the Spirit
Phil Rickman
The second in the series of Merrily Watkins novels which made it on to TV screens. When Merrily is offered the post of Deliverance Consultant for the diocese, she’s in no position to refuse. It starts badly when a body is found in the River Wye, an ancient church is desecrated and signs of evil appear in the cathedral itself.

Lady of Hay
Barbara Erskine
In London, journalist Jo Clifford plans to debunk the belief in past-lives in a hard-hitting magazine piece. But her scepticism is shaken when a hypnotist forces her to relive the experiences of Matilda, Lady of Hay, a noblewoman during the reign of King John.
She realises that eight hundred years on, Matilda’s story of secret passion and unspeakable treachery is about to repeat itself.
Barbara Erskine’s iconic debut novel still delights generations of readers more than 30 years after its first publication.

John Lewis-Stempel
Meadowland gives an unique and intimate account of an English meadow’s life from January to December, together with its biography. It records the passage of the seasons from cowslips in spring to the hay-cutting of summer and grazing in autumn, and includes the biographies of the animals that inhabit the grass and the soil beneath: the badger clan, the fox family, the rabbit warren,the skylark brood and the curlew pair,among others. 
John Lewis-Stempel is the author of a number of books set in his corner of the county, from The Wild Life, in which he lived off the land for 12 months, to The Wood, a biography of Cockshutt Wood.

Hereford Folk Stories
David Phelps
From the Mermaid of Marden to the Mordiford Dragon, from the Tailor of Yarpole to the Treasure of St Weonard’s David Phelps has gathered together 30 folk tales and legends from the deepest corners of Herefordshire reflecting the wit and wisdom of the countryside and its people. 

The Collected Poems of John Masefield
Poet and writer born in Ledbury, and the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until 1967. Among his best known works are the children’s novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights (which has been adapted for a unique festive event celebrating 2Faced Dance’s 20th anniversary), and the poems “The Everlasting Mercy” and “Sea-Fever”.

On the Black Hill
Bruce Chatwin
On the Black Hill is the prize-winning story of identical twin brothers who grow up on a farm in rural Wales and never leave home. They work the land and sleep in the same bed, rarely touched by the advances of the 20th century happening elsewhere. 
The book was later made into a film starring acting brothers Mike and Robert Gwilym as Benjamin and Lewis Jones.

Owen Sheers
Resistance opens in 1944, as the women of a small farming community in the Olchon Valley, just across the Herefordshire border, wake one morning to find that their husbands have disappeared. Shortly afterwards a German patrol arrives in their valley, and heavy snow makes uneasy captives of the women and the soldiers, who slowly grow used to each other. But life will never be the same again in poet Owen Sheer’s debut novel, filmed in 2011, starring Michael Sheen and Andrea Riseborough.

Under the Tump
Oliver Balch
When travel writer Oliver Balch moved to Hay, after living in London and Buenos Aires, he embarked on a journey into the heart of a community, keen to discover how an incomer integrates into the life of Hay - and, indeed, whether they can ever truly belong.
To help in his quest, he turns to Francis Kilvert, the Victorian diarist who captured the rural life of his day. Does anything of Kilvert’s world still exists?
Balch joins in the daily routines and lives of his fellow residents to discover what has changed and what has remained unchanged for centuries.
In an increasingly mobile, urban world, Under the Tump is a timely, honest account of Balch’s attempt to put down roots in a community not yet his own.

The Folklore of Herefordshire
Ella Mary Leather
First published in 1912, Ella Mary Leather was a collector of the local folklore and songs of Herefordshire. Amongst her works is a collaboration with Ralph Vaughan Williams, Twelve Traditional Carols from Herefordshire, and notes to the journal of The Folklore Society

Tales of the Country and The Pheasants Revolt
Brian Viner
Having established a highly successful career as a journalist and critic (the Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Mail), Brian Viner made the difficult decision to leave London. He recorded the  highs and lows of his family’s move to rural Herefordshire in this pair of laugh out loud chronicles of how they adjusted to country life.