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THE MALVERN HILLS 23

The Malvern Hills 11.6mile walk - 27th May 2013

To drink thy waters store, Lie in bushes Many with ulcers sore; Many with bruises. Who succour find from ill, By money given still Thanks to the Christian will; O praise the Lord. A thousand bottles here, were filled weekly, And many costrils rare, for stomachs sickly; Some were to London sent, Some of them into Kent, Others on to Berwick went, O praise the Lord'
Reverned Edmund Rea
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After a break in the dismal English weather, the bank holiday weekend finally provided us a chance to visit Great Malvern, an area noted for it outstanding natural beauty. Situated in Worcestershire, Great Malvern has its origins with the founding of an 11th century priory. Though historians disagree on the actual founding of the religious community, most argue that the priory arose from a hermitage provided by Edward the Confessor; providing a historical focus for the development of Great Malvern revolving around religious identity. However, from the 17th century onwards the land became increasingly urbanised following the exploitation of its natural beauty as a spa particularly renowned for its natural spring water. The 'Malvern water' as it is commonly referred to, is retained and filtered through hard granite and limestone rock eventually permeating through at an average of 60 litres per minute. Local Legend documented in 1612 by Reverend Edmund Rea held that the water provided curative benefits to general health and vitality to individuals who consumed it. Such was the reputation of Great Malvern, that the water was increasingly commercialised. The bottling and distribution of the water is has been recorded as far back as James 1 reign in 1622 and there is even a plaque dedicated to Charles Darwin, whose daughter stayed there with him to improve her health. The historical past of the area has ensured that it is maintained and respected creating a visually stunning, but challenging walk.
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We parked in the town of Great Malvern which cost only £3 for 23 hours! We began the walk from here by travelling West to the ascent of Malvern Hill which is circled in its entirety by the town. Our first point of reference was Sugarloaf Hill as an elevation of 369 metres. From this we travelled south to the highest point on the ridge being Worcestershire Beacon at 425 metres (1,394 ft) above sea level (OS Grid reference SO768452). This point provided an excellent chance to see the nature beauty the Malvern Hill's is renowned for. We then travelled south with a gradual decrease in elevation to an area where there was a little village which crossed the length of Malvern Hill to connect the Malvern Town from West to East. After travelling further south past Jubilee, Pinnacle and Black hill, which contained consisted elevation, we finally reached the southern part of Malvern Hill. Though we began to travel back north here alongside the Hill, it is possible to keep going South which would get you to Hertfordshire Becon and the British Camp Reservoir which are also said to be of high aesthetic value. We walked back north alongside the breadth of Malvern Hill eventually cutting across it East. This allowed us to pass the stages earlier on in the walk to return back to Great Malvern car park.

The walk overall was 11.6 miles (18km) and took 4 hours and 40 minutes. I would say it was a hard walk due to the changes in elevation and steep gradients. However the physical challenge was made easier by the visual beauty and an area that showed how rural and urban features can blend perfectly.

Osprey ?

On the trip towards the south of the hills, Gail spotted what she thought were Ospreys. They were high in the air but were not Buzzards due to being far to big, also the colour was incorrect to be Red kites they had a lot of white in the feathers. After looking in the book and doing some location research we believe them to be indeed Ospreys but the jury is out ! .

Thanks to Darrel Canvin for writing this article.