The Malvern Hills rise dramatically from the surrounding pastures to form a beautiful ridge that runs north to south for over eight miles (13 km), splitting the counties of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. Hikes to Worcestershire Beacon tackle the range’s highest point, a sumptuous viewpoint for the nearby Cotswolds and beyond.
Such is the high regard with which the hill is held that the summit is the centre of a veritable spider’s web of paths. There are myriad potential walking routes to Worcestershire Beacon, each worth taking time over. None of the paths are technical, on mostly gentle gradients surrounded by quintessential English countryside.
The panorama grows and grows with each upward step. From the apex it is extensive. It is easy to see why such a prominent summit was used for signal fires in centuries gone by, most notably to warn of the coming Spanish Armada in 1588.
On a clear day, the plateau of the Black Mountains rises to the south west across the Welsh border. Shropshire’s Hills rise in the north west, with the hills of the Cotswolds in the opposite direction. The eye is often drawn south to the River Severn, as it bends and widens on its journey to the sea. You can orientate yourself with the rather grand toposcope that marks the very top of the hill.
Ascents from the 19th century spa town of Great Malvern are a delightful mini adventure. You can set out from one of the many tea rooms, have a gorgeous few hours on the hill and be nursing a drink in the pub just a few hours later. There is all manner of accommodation, whilst train links to London, Birmingham and Bristol mean that a jaunt in the Malverns is more accessible than you might think.
At 1,394 feet (425 m), Worcestershire Beacon is the highest point in the county and a grand viewpoint to boot. Its popularity is such that it is at the centre of a veritable spider's web of paths. As with so many summits in the region, beacon fires have been lit here in days gone by, notably to warn of the coming Spanish Armada in 1588.
On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Black Mountains plateau in South Wales. To the north west, the Shropshire Hills rise in gentle folds. The River Severn winds its way towards the sea to the east and south. A grand toposcope adorns the summit, enabling you to identify the surrounding landmarks.
March 19, 2021
A walk along the spine of the Malverns on a good weather day is a beautiful outing. A busy and popular walking area for a good reason. It is great views and the walking is easy.
January 12, 2021
Worcestershire Beacon, also popularly known as Worcester Beacon, or locally simply as The Beacon, is a hill whose summit at 425 metres (1,394 ft) is the highest point in Worcestershire. It is part of the Malvern Hills which run about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north-south along the Herefordshire- Worcestershire border.
The hills are managed by the Malvern Hills Conservators under five Acts of Parliament of 1884, 1909, 1924, 1930, and 1995 whose aim is to preserve the nature and environment landscape of the area and to protect it from encroachments. The Beacon is highly popular with walkers with its easily reached dense network of footpaths crisscrossing it and the area has been designated by the Countryside Agency as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The steep eastern flank of the hill begins immediately behind Bellevue Terrace, one of the two main shopping streets in the town centre of Great Malvern from where its summit is a brisk 35 – 40 minutes steep walk via St Ann's Well or Happy Valley. It can also be accessed by a short, steep, unpathed climb from Jubilee Drive on the western side, or reached by a more leisurely stroll along the crest of the ridge from a car park near the Wyche Cutting, a mile or so to the south of the town centre.
The Beacon affords an extensive panoramic view that includes the Lickey Hills near Redditch, The Wrekin and past Birmingham to Cannock Chase, as well as much of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, the Welsh border mountains, the Shropshire Hills and across the valleys of the Severn and Avon to the Cotswold Hills. Parts of thirteen counties, the Bristol Channel, and the cathedrals of Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford can be seen.
Running due east from Worcestershire Beacon, the next highest point of land is on the western slope of the Ural Mountains.
The hills are mostly igneous and metamorphic rocks from the late pre-Cambrian, around 600 million years old and the Beacon is part of the watershed that permits the rise of the mineral springs and wells of the famous Malvern water that is bottled commercially on a large scale and sold worldwide, and they were responsible for the development of Malvern from a village to a busy spa town in the early 19th century. Hundreds of millions of years of erosion and glacial passage have given the Beacon and its neighbouring peaks their characteristic smoothly rounded features.
The hill itself appears to mark the northern terminal of the Shire Ditch, or Red Earl's Dyke, which runs north and south of the British Camp along the ridge of the hills. It was created in 1287 by Gilbert de Clare, the Earl of Gloucester, following a boundary dispute with Thomas de Cantilupe, the Bishop of Hereford. Recent research has shown that the Shire Ditch might actually be much older. Indeed, there is some evidence that it may have started life as a prehistoric trackway running from Worcestershire Beacon to Midsummer Hillfort. The hill is also the site of two Bronze Age burials. In 1849 two urns containing bones and ashes were uncovered by Private Harkiss whilst conducting work for the Ordnance Survey and documented by Edwin Lees, a local antiquarian. The remains were attributed to the Middle Bronze Age and are now housed in the British Museum.
The Worcestershire Beacon has historically been used as a location for signalling beacons. In 1588 it formed part of a chain of warning fires which were lit when the Spanish Armada attempted to invade England. Beacon fires were also lit to celebrate national occasions including the end of the Crimean War (1856), the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales (1863), the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria (1887) and Diamond Jubilee (1897) the coronation of George V (1911) and the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (1953). In recent years it has been used as a beacon for special occasions such as the millennium night of 31 December 1999 when a large fire was lit as part of a nationwide network of hill top beacons to celebrate the event. A beacon fire was also lit on the Worcestershire Beacon on 3 June 2002 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II, on 4 June 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. and on 3 June 2022 to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
On the summit is a viewfinder or toposcope, identifying the hills to be seen on a clear day; it was designed by Malvern architect Arthur Troyte Griffith, a friend of Sir Edward Elgar and erected in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. It was stolen in 2000 and replaced by Malvern Hills Conservators the same year. The original was returned to the Conservators in 2001.
During World War II the Beacon was used as a fire lookout point for air raids on Birmingham and Coventry, and in the latter half of the 20th century it was used regularly as a location for a BBC transmitter relay van for covering horse racing and sports events in Worcester.
December 3, 2022
isited from Cardiff and wow what a wonderful place. Came up from the Great Malvern Priory, past Rose Bank Garde the up St Ann's 99 steps the it was a steep climb up to St Ann's well Cafe then it was a 30 minute stroll to the highest point of the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire Beacon. The views werebreathtaking and I went on a very hot and clear day. dgcustomerfirst.win
January 24, 2023
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