Celebration, Education, Recreation: A Park for People

Space to breathe

Mark Hubbard – founder member of Friends of Castle Green and currently a Director – A Space to breathe

I first came to Castle Green when I was about 6 weeks old – I don’t remember it much, it just seems to have always been a part of me.

I have the huge good fortune to have had a great great grandfather who thought owning a bit of history was a great idea. So in 1906 when he retired from his job as manager of Hereford Gas Works, he bought the only part of Hereford Castle still standing and it has been home to various members of my family ever since.

Nearly 60 years later when I arrived for my first visit my Great Aunt Constance had just taken up residence. Con was my favourite relative from a very early age. She was gentle and calm – she always seemed to know just the right thing to say. And her house was amazing!

Castle Cliffe is right on Castle Green with a garden on the banks of the River Wye. It always felt like another world when I visited as a child. It had stood there for so long it seemed to have a life of its own – merged with the parkland that it sat in. When something has been there long enough its very fabric seems imbued with a timelessness that is extremely comforting.

As I grew up, whenever I was in distress, I quickly learnt that a trip to Hereford to stay in Castle Cliffe on Castle Green gave me a sense permanence and safety. It allowed me to relax again. I grew so accustomed to these trips that I almost pre-booked them – the month before my O’levels, just before my A’levels and the Easter before taking my degree finals – each time I felt I could breathe again, enough to get some proper sleep.

35 years later I look back and realise – I was never going to live anywhere else. When you find somewhere you can truly breathe it is impossible to turn your back on it.