Malvern Hills National Landscape
The Malvern Hills National Landscape is a land of contrasts, like England in miniature. A spine of high hills runs north to south, offering magnificent, panoramic views over ridges, rolling hills and fields to the west and the flat Severn Valley to the east. Wildflower meadows, orchards, parklands and ancient woodlands are all to be found here.
This is an area of remarkable geology showing clear evidence of how the oldest hills in England were formed and distorted by colliding continents, millions of years ago. Hill forts, boundary ditches and tumuli have been dug into these hills by our ancestors. Lapping around the base of the hills are estates also steeped in historical time, from those like Little Malvern Court that date back to the monasteries, through to a great, late Regency castle at Eastnor. All have left an imprint of their activities on this varied and ancient landscape.
View of ridge from Croome
Large areas of common land have survived the Enclosures in this landscape, as has the special wildlife they support, now protected as one of the largest Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the West Midlands. All this is today under the care of the second oldest conservation organisation in the country, The Malvern Hills Trust. Rare and endangered species have found refuge throughout the area, from white clawed crayfish, adders, fritillary butterflies and a great variety of plants that flourish on the varied geology and soils which are found here.
The area is widely known for its pure, spring water, from which sprang an eighteenth century tourist trade of ‘taking the waters’ and walking the hills, for health and wellbeing. It was a magnet to the fashionable and to artists. George Bernard Shaw, Elizabeth Barret Browning, William Langland, Edward Elgar and JRR Tolkein all found inspiration in this special landscape. Today the area continues to support the health and enjoyment of visitors and locals, offering the chance to explore a rich cultural and environmental heritage, to enjoy stunning scenery and amazing views and to cycle and walk through some of England’s most beautiful countryside.