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Malvern Hills

Hiking in the Malvern Hills

Hiking

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Photo: Vince O'Sullivan (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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The uniquely beautiful Malvern Hills are a great upthrust of land that divides the counties of Worcestershire and Herefordshire for a full 8 miles (13 km). Walks in the Malvern Hills offersweeping panoramas, superb ridge walking and a sense of airiness usually associated with higher mountainous regions. Within touching distance of the urban sprawl of Birmingham, Malvern is perfect for a revitalising escape to the hills.

The Malverns are extremely prominent from miles around, such is the way that they rise from the flatter countryside around them. Their composition of mostly igneous rock has meant that they have resisted the erosion caused by glaciation and weathering. As if by design, they have been sculpted into the characteristic smoothly rounded hills that are so adored by those who love this region.

This is what makes hikes in the Malvern Hills such a pleasure ­– airy ridge walking on gentle slopes. Their beauty was enough to inspire the works of one of Britain’s greatest composers, Edward Elgar. He grew up in Worcestershire and loved these hills with a passion.


Top 20 best walks and hikes in the Malvern Hills

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    Intermediate
    03:56
    7.84 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,550 ft
    1,550 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
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    2
    Intermediate
    02:39
    5.48 mi
    2.1 mph
    925 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
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  • 3
    Easy
    01:38
    3.25 mi
    2.0 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    4
    Difficult
    06:32
    13.2 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,500 ft
    2,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    5
    Intermediate
    02:03
    3.87 mi
    1.9 mph
    950 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    6
    Easy
    01:07
    2.52 mi
    2.2 mph
    250 ft
    225 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    7
    Easy
    01:51
    3.85 mi
    2.1 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    8
    Difficult
    05:14
    11.0 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,750 ft
    1,750 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    9
    Easy
    01:57
    4.26 mi
    2.2 mph
    475 ft
    475 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    01:28
    2.84 mi
    1.9 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    11
    Intermediate
    02:01
    3.63 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,050 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    12
    Easy
    01:08
    2.68 mi
    2.4 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    13
    Intermediate
    02:10
    4.13 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,025 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    14
    Easy
    01:55
    4.40 mi
    2.3 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    15
    Intermediate
    02:08
    3.82 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    01:31
    2.78 mi
    1.8 mph
    725 ft
    725 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    17
    Easy
    01:38
    3.94 mi
    2.4 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    18
    Easy
    01:17
    2.60 mi
    2.0 mph
    475 ft
    500 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    19
    Intermediate
    01:42
    3.26 mi
    1.9 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    20
    Intermediate
    04:27
    9.28 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View

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More Information

Hiking the main ridge

The best hiking trails in the Malvern Hills explore the main ridge and gentle slopes. Made up of fifteen distinct summits, there are many route permutations, whilst energetic hikers will plan to tackle the ridge in one go.

The views are astounding. Particularly once the hills reach their zenith at the top of the Worcestershire Beacon at 1,394ft (425 m). To the south west, the gentle hills of the Cotswolds roll into the distance, whilst to the west the hills of Herefordshire are backed by distant Welsh mountains. Adorning the summit is a toposcope, which allows you to match the landmarks to their names, as well as a memorial to Queen Victoria and the obligatory trig-pillar.

Plenty to explore

Walks in the Malvern Hills are not just about summits and views, there is also a great deal of historic interest. To the south of the ridge rise Herefordshire Beacon and Midsummer Hill, both the former sites of Iron Age forts. The fort on Herefordshire Beacon, named British Camp, is deservedly popular. It still displays the extensive layered earthworks that make it such a beguiling place to explore. Once you have finished exploring, quaint local cafes and pubs await for well-earned refreshments.

The woods that cling to the lower slopes offer some lovely rambles. Stroll the tree-lined trails, listening to the scrunch of fallen leaves underfoot. In late Spring, take in the vibrant hues of the bluebell displays that can be found here. It is worth noting that after periods of rain or during winter the wooded lower slopes can be quite muddy underfoot. Occasionally during winter, the higher Malverns might catch a dusting of snow for those cosy, short winter days when the sun is low, the sky is huge and the leafless trees cast long shadows.

Accessible adventure and a great base

The spa town of Great Malvern is the ideal base for hikes in the Malvern Hills. Nestled at the foot of the Worcestershire Beacon, from here you are onto the hiking trails in no time at all. Upon returning to the town, its charming cafes, tearooms and pubs await with friendly hospitality. Its railway station links Malvern to London, Birmingham and Bristol, making an escape to these delightful hills easier than you might think.

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