Malvern Hills

England, West, United Kingdom

William Mackesy’s account of this walk

I walked the length of the hills, south to north, on a warm, damp September day in 2018.

We parked in the centre of Great Malvern, and took a taxi south (£20) to Hollybush, where the A438 crosses a gap in the southern peterings-out of the hills. 

A steepish climb gets us straight up, through a belt of woodland, to the bare top of Midsummer Hill, and fine views in all directions, the pretty Eastnor Castle estate to the east calling for special attention – although, with thick, low cloud and an approaching shower, all is coated on gloomy light. And we are in a hill fort, a good one: it is very much that sort of walk. 

 We drop to a junction, and climb gently on a wooded track through lovely woods, curving north-east to make a steep puff to the open top of Hangman's Hill for more huge views - if only: it is raining now and we are in thick cloud. We trudge on along the marvellously flat, narrow, steep-sided ridge to the remarkable British Camp hill fort, one of the finest I have seen, on 338m Herefordshire Beacon. This is a fascinating site, dating to the third century BC, with deep defensive ditches on the slopes, and interlocking bastions at its gates. This is a great picnic place on a reasonable day. The cloud clears enough for us to see back along the impressively deep western ditch. We then drop steeply to another road crossing at Wynds Point, where we pop into the pub for a jar while it rains outside. 

Climbing steeply up the hill to the north, we are on the narrow ridge again. The rain has cleared and cloud lifted; this is marvellous walking on the level, softly winding ridgetop, which climbs gently to 357m Pinnacle Hill. We eat our lunch, gazing over the wooded ridges of Herefordshire to the long whaleback of Hatterall Ridge, the westernmost bastion of the Black Mountains and the border with Wales. Offa's Dyke is up there. It is now a pretty day, with slanting light, even patches of blue sky.

Then we are swinging for a kilometre or so along the unbelievable near-straight ridge-top to Perseverance Hill. This is fantabulous walking, in a really unique landscape. We drop to a final road at Upper Wyche, then begin to long haul up the beautiful bare ridge-top to 425m Worcestershire Beacon, the high point of the ridge and right above Great Malvern stretched along the eastern hillside, with the harmonious beauty of the priory church at its heart. BEAUTEEEEEE!

A direct and steep descent down the surfaced path to St Ann's Well and straight into the town centre to revel in the very different beauties of the church.

About 12km in 4hrs 20.

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