Abberley & Malvern Hills Geopark – Beauty Spot
Malvern Hills, WR14
Malvern Hills provides the natural border between Worcestershire & Herefordshire offering walking & horse riding routes & excellent jumping off point for hang gliders.
The Malvern Hills are the largest area of open common land in the West Midlands over 3000 acres of open space, providing good walking and wildlife viewing, it also offers horse riding routes & excellent jumping off point for hang gliders.
The Malvern Hills are a 15km range of ancient rocks made up of a complex assemblage of crystalline igneous and metamorphic rocks (granite) of pre-Cambrian age (at least 650 million years old). The soils on the ridge top are thin and support little more than short wiry grasses, providing ideal walking conditions and stunning views. Lower down the soils are stony but thicker and support gorse, bramble and bracken interspersed with silver birch, mountain ash, hawthorn, sycamore and oak. The trees are stunted at higher levels but grow thick and lush in the valley bottoms.
The Hills divide the Counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire with the rolling hills and fields of Herefordshire to the West and the flatter plains of the Severn Valley to the East. Much of the drama and beauty of the Hills arise from the way they dramatically rise out of this landscape. Another feature of the Hills are the many springs and fountains which flow from outlets all around them – of particular note are St Ann’s Well and Holy Well.
The Hills are protected under Acts of Parliament (originally passed in 1884 and subsequently amended in 1909, 1924, 1930 and 1995). Although now protected, our ancestors were not so caring and exploited the stone in the hills. As a result there are a number of old quarries dotted around the hills, all of which are now well weathered and form an integral part of the overall landscape.
The highest point on the Hills is the Worcestershire Beacon (425m) with North Hill (397m) and the British Camp Hill (Herefordshire Beacon – 338m) the other highest points. In total there are some 20 named hills comprising the complete range. The entire length of the Hills are open to the public and are criss-crossed with about 160km (100 miles) of bridleways and footpaths. Dogs are allowed on the hills and can be let off lead so long as they are well behaved. Cycling is allowed on bridleways only.