Everyone needs a break from the usual routine from time to time and walking is no different. I write a lot about the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains but every once in a while, I like to travel further afield to try some other well-known routes. They are famous for a reason and it’s usually for the challenge, the scenery and the memories.
The Malvern Hills is one of these locations. Situated across the three counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, it is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as well as being associated with culture and history. The entire length stretches for approximately eight miles but there are plenty of shorter circular routes available that will capture the best of what the area has to offer.
So, with all of this in mind, I thought the Malvern Hills would be worth a visit and it didn’t disappoint! The route I followed was one of the most challenging walks I have ever done covering ten miles and including eight peaks.
Beginning in the car park opposite the Malvern Hills Hotel and Restaurant, immediately there is a steep climb to the summit of the Herefordshire Beacon. Also known as the British Camp, the Iron Age hill fort was carved out of the mountain approximately 2,000 years ago creating earthworks which are still clearly visible.
The route continues over Millennium Hill before descending down a stony path towards a pink cottage and eventually reaching St Wulston’s Church in Little Malvern. Here you will find the grave of Sir Edward Elgar, one of Britain’s greatest composers.
Heading back towards the hills, the path climbs through an area of woodland to reach Wyche Cutting. This is where the real challenge begins!
The route ascends to the summit of Summer Hill before continuing up to the Worcestershire Beacon. At 425m (1,394 ft), this is the highest point in the Malvern Hills. The views in all directions are remarkable.
From this point, it is almost a straight route back to the British Camp car park. The good thing about this walk is that there are plenty of opportunities to include more summits but there are also well-defined paths around the base of the hills to give the option of staying lower if you choose to.
As I had travelled a distance to walk in the Malvern Hills, I was determined to reach all the summits on this particular route. This included Perseverance Hill, Jubilee Hill, Pinnacle Hill and Black Hill before descending back to the car park.
This truly is an epic walk! There is the possibility of adding even more hills to the route but on this occasion, the ten miles and eight peaks had already provided an excellent opportunity to see the best of the Malvern Hills. I thoroughly recommend this area and I will definitely be returning to climb the remaining summits.
A version of this article first appeared in ‘Bwrdd’ – The Newsletter for Mensa Cymru, January 2020.
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