The Malvern HillsThe Malvern Hills

The 'Bald Hills' that inspired Elgar.

On the eastern fringe of Herefordshire along the border with Worcestershire lie the Malvern Hills. Visible from many parts of Herefordshire on a clear day, the rocks that form the spine of these hills are at least 600 million years old and stretch from Great Malvern southward for over 8 miles. The name Malvern is of Celtic origin derived from “Moel Bryn” - Bald Hill. The iron age Celts used the Herefordshire Beacon as a natural fortress and the remains of a 32 acre hill fort known as British Camp the earliest parts of which date back to the 3rd century BC can still be seen.

There are six main peaks in the hills the highest of which is the Worcestershire Beacon that rises to almost 1400 feet and on a clear day overlooks 15 counties, the great Cathedrals of Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester are all visible from the summit. Great Malvern has a host of Georgian and Victorian buildings around steep sloping streets probably it's most important attraction is the Great Malvern Priory founded in 1085AD although mainly 15th century it has a collection of stained glass that is only bettered by York Minster, it's north transept window being a gift from Henry VII.

Probably Malvern's most famous son was Edward Elgar who is said to have composed much of his music while walking these hills and is buried at St. Wulstan's churchyard. Today Malvern is still famous for it's spring water that owes it's purity to the hard rocks from which it flows, a million bottles are sold throughout the world every year.