Eardisland Memorial Walks is a First World War commemoration project, supported in part by a grant provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Its focus is remembrance, emphasising our 13 Fallen soldiers whose names are inscribed on our village War Memorial. Preparation will be complete by Armistice Day 2018, when across this country we will customarily and solemnly intone our belief that these Fallen soldiers gave their tomorrows for our today, and that we will remember them. Indeed we shall.
In November 1916 a letter from a soldier serving in a battalion of the Herefordshire Regiment in Egypt was published in the Hereford Journal. The soldier writes of his longing for the Herefordshire countryside at home and, in particular, how he would give his soul for the chance to wander its paths again.
Here one stays and wonders how it was that he never really appreciated the gloriousness of nature in old England in those never to be forgotten but now seemingly far distant days of peace. “What a contrast!” he murmurs to himself as he recalls the emerald green fields splashed with the dazzling yellow of the buttercups and tells himself he would almost give his soul to wander at will along those paths again. How restful and soothing to the eye the sight of those green meadows would be after gazing day after day at the unbroken stretch of sand.We hope he did have that chance, and continued to wander the paths for many years afterwards. But our 13 young men did not, and so we have designed 13 walks beginning and ending at Eardisland’s War Memorial, named after each of them. The walks have been selected purposefully and we are confident that our soldiers would have used the same paths and lanes before 1914. The fact that we can wander these paths by right, or have the right to own the land through which the walks take us are enshrined in English Law. Had Great Britain and her allies not prevailed and the Armistice terms been determined by her enemies, these legacies, culture and traditions would almost certainly have been extinguished.
Much of the countryside is beautiful, the views in north Herefordshire spectacular and the surrounding villages certainly worth visiting. In these places, we remember every November that our 13 soldiers and more than a million other British and Empire servicemen died while fighting for our country and its future. Today, we can enjoy wandering these Memorial Walks. They offer the prospect of well-being and companionship. We hope that reading the guides will generate some discussion about the soldiers after whom the Memorial Walks are named. And perhaps what we have done with what they gave their lives for.