The Malvern Hills may dominate the scenery, but there is a mixture of cycling country around Malvern. This page should help you get out there and enjoy being on your bike.
- Riding the Malvern Hills, places to park the bike.
- Planning a ride Suggested local cycle routes, wider cycling guides, other bike maps.
- Getting to the start using public transport.
- Venturing further Information for those travelling beyond the immediate area.
- Refreshment stops near the Hills.
- Towns and Villages and other places around the area worth a visit on a bike ride (that can be reached on a day tour), Includes food and drink suggestions in bold.
- Cycling holidays – heart of England, Welsh borders.
- Cycle Shops, Hire, Repair and Online Suppliers.
- The Cycle Malvern website has some info on cycle racks in town (a bit dated).
- The Elgar Connection A famous local cyclist.
- Cycle Time photo album.
- Writing about cycling includes a Miscellany – cycling past, jewellery, mad stuff.
On the Road and Trail
The main Hills paths vary from the odd tarmac ones via reasonably well drained and level to rough, rocky and quite steep. You’ll need to be confident in your brakes and experience for the latter. There can be a lot of walkers, from families with toddlers to serious ramblers, so please be considerate. The southern end of the hills generally has fewer people around, but also less tracks.
The Malvern Hill Conservators (responsible for most of the land) have produced various codes of conduct (walkers, horse riders as well as cyclists), as plasticated green cards, also available on their website as pdfs.
Code for cyclists main points:
only use the bridleways (get a map* or stick to the obvious paths); give way to walkers and horse riders; avoid bunching. They also suggest avoiding busy periods (weekends, especially summer) and slowing down at corners and downhill to avoid accidents. Careless cyclists do have accidents with walkers (we’ve seen ’em) and cause a nuisance to others.
The old and misleading ‘no wheeled vehicles’ signs have been retired, but you may stumble over one or two still out there.
Back on Track (see Bike Shops) has details of 3 off-road routes on the hills (easy, medium and hard) on its website. Some of the paths they mention are small and busy (not sure that they all conform to the Code), particularly at the northern end.
* We suggest OS Explorer 190 (scale 1:25,000), which covers Bredon too, or Harvey’s Malvern Hills Superwalker (1:10,000). See Outdoor Links for more map info.
Cycle parking on the Hills include Sheffield style tubular racks at the following car parks: North Malvern and Tank Quarries (latter by geology trail), Upper Wyche (right at the top), Wynds Point (British Camp, on the left looking from the road). Racks are also available at Swinyard car park, top of Castlemorton Common, at our request – this is a great place to start a walk such as our Three Counties Loop. Download GPX file of bike rack locations.
Local Cycling Routes
Printed maps and guides listed below should be available from relevant Tourist Information Centres (TICs) in Herefordshire or Worcestershire. Link to Malvern TIC.
There isn’t yet much in the way of National Cycle Routes (Sustrans) in the area – see Cycle Malvern routes info for what may be planned for the future.
To give you an idea of the network of roads (and some paths) we enjoy cycling in the area, a whole bunch of GPS logs have been compiled into an outline ride guide graphic. We might provide some annotation in a while, but meanwhile you can enjoy identifying key spots (a clue or two: north west corner is Bromyard, south west is Ross).
- Elgar Ride Variations reprinted Sept 02. Six cycle routes around the Malverns, all but one starting in the town. May now be out of print (Feb 08) – 35p.
- Malverns Off-road Cycling Maps published July 02, £3-50 each. Circular routes on bridleways and quiet lanes – Map 1 has six to the east of the Hills, Map 2 eight to west and north. (None are on the Hills themselves). Produced in partnership with AONB by Colin Palmer aka Offroad Cycling, phone 01531 633500, email: email@example.com
- By Bike in the Foothills of the Malverns A Malvern Hills AONB leaflet (summer 07) available from their website with maps and places of interest for three cycle rides round the area of 15 to 26 miles: Colwall and Cradley, Storridge and Knightwick, British Camp and Bromesberrow. (The suggested fourth ride of joining the 3 together is probably not of interest to most people, but we’ve created our own variation in TrackLogs format, coming to about 52 miles with further suggestions for short cuts.) Downloadable in pdf format as two pages, both of around 5MB. There aren’t any cycling instructions, so do take care turning on or off the few main roads, especially between Eastnor and Ledbury on the British Camp ride.
- A literary trail around the Malverns, from Malvern Hills AONB, designed for car and rather hilly, could be cycled.
- On our Malvern Hills page, we suggest adaptations to the EHT Explore Malvern Hills landscape and geology trail to make it suitable for cycling. A digital version was added March 07.
- A set of leaflets giving ‘Activities from The Showground Malvern’ produced (2007) by Three Counties Showground includes Cycle Ride around the Malvern Lanes and Commons. Available at the showground only, for visitors. 12 to 19 miles, not too hilly (but Castlemorton Common is harder than it looks).
- Cider Cycling Routes – Ledbury. Professionally produced by local cyclists. A pleasant 20 miles circuit (excluding optional detours and short cut) taking in mainly cider related sites, but also other places of interest. Leaflet, 75p, should be available from Ledbury Tourist Information, at Ice Bytes Cafe, 38 The Homend, phone 0844 567 8650. Or download our GPX format file (right click/save as) of the shorter, 17 mile Big Apple ride, version, for use on your hand/bike-held GPS – preview on Google Map (you’ll need to use your browser back button to return here). See our Cider page for info on the majority of attractions en route, plus The Observer travel section did a review October 2005.
- There is also a Cider Cycling Route based around Pembridge – 75p leaflet (incl postage) from a Herefordshire Tourist Information Centre.
- Herefordshire Leisure Cycle Guide (new edition May 2007). With input from same people as cider route, but 6 leisure rides around the county. Mainly easy (5 to 15 miles), with options for a couple of longer ones (30 mile), around Black & White villages or from Colwall, Hereford, Ledbury, Ross on Wye and Leominster. Available online as separate sheets on Herefordshire Council site. Free from TICs or phone 01432 260514.
- Ledbury Loop 17 mile route which can be extended or shortened. Map (by LACF, 50p) also gives information about points of interest and refreshment opportunities along the route. Connected to National Byway (see next section).
- Masefield Trail New 2009. “A 25 mile cycle ride from Ledbury through landscape that inspired the poet John Masefield”. Goes south east of Malvern Hills, skirting the Chartist village of Lowbands ( although no connection to Masefield). MalvernTrail would suggest taking the alternative route to Dymock – the church display on the Dymock Poets is worth half an hour of anybody’s time, plus there are loos and a pub (much better than the pub near Redmarley). £1 from Ledbury TIC.
- Spires and Cycles three routes cover Around Leominster, The Teme Valley (near Tenbury Wells), Cleobury and Clee Hill. 45p each (Herefordshire Tourism).
- Come Cycling Ledbury website.
- Cycling in Worcestershire has seven circular bikes rides, a couple starting from train stations. (Bromsgrove DC for Worcs Tourism). May be out of print. There is also a range of Walk /Cycle maps from the County Council.
- Forest of Dean recreation map is published by Offroad Cycling (see second entry above), showing approved cycling trails and suggested bike routes. The Royal Forest route had a write up in The Guardian (from 2004), March 04.
- There is a Blossom Trail waymarked cycle route in the Evesham area, with the town’s train station as a recommended starting point. Download map (pdf) via Visit Wychavon website. The 20 miles includes a mile or two of busy A road, options via the Lenches, Fladbury.
- 100 mile cycle ride around Worcestershire’s Heritage Garden was also from Wychavon Council, but can’t see it on revised web site, 2006. It can be done in sections: Evesham/Bidford, Hanbury, Kidderminster/Wychbold, Droitwich/Worcester, Bredon.
Bike Ride Guides for the wider area
Come Cycling Ledbury has info on local accommodation, food & drink, biek maps etc. (some overlap with MalvernTrail).
New summer 2015, the main 28 mile Newent Cycling Loop connects with the Ledbury Loop (above), as well as having a couple of shorter 19 mile variations. Starts from Newent, Gloucestershire and features some of MalvernTrail’s favourite spots, such as Lowbands Chartist Cottages, Hartbury Bee Shelter, Kempley Old Church. And a coffee stop at Bromsberrow Community Shop. RECOMMENDED.
CycleTours around Gloucester and Hereford is one of the Philip’s/Ordnance Survey guides, this one including both on and off road routes taking less than a day. £8-99, ISBN 0-540-08198-1. Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Cycling in the Cotswolds 25 cycle tours in the area. Collins, ISBN 0004486803 – out of print?. Buy from Amazon.co.uk.
Cycling in the Cotswolds 18 circular routes. Sigma Press, ISBN 1850583544. Buy from Amazon.co.uk.
Herefordshire Cycle Guide is a free leaflet from Herefordshire Council (revised April 03), available from the local Tourist Info Centres. It has town maps for Ledbury, Bromyard, Ross, Hereford, Leominster and Kington, showing a few recommended routes, cycle shops etc.
The National Byway Route Map: West Midlands (currently entitled Midlands) details the route between Chester and Cirencester, passing through Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. It goes via Ledbury, which has a Loop off.
Cycling in South Wales and the Wye Valley (published 2001 – out of print?) Twenty-five varied cycle rides. HarperCollins, ISBN 0007103751.
Cycling for Pleasure in the Marches 3 leaflets (£1-95 each or £5-50 for the set) covering Western, Eastern and Southern areas of Shropshire and Herefordshire border country. From Shropshire Books – see Publishers page.
See our Outdoor Links page for online and print sources.
Unfortunately the Malvern Hills Hopper (service 244) has been discontinued (was a bus service designed mainly for walkers visiting the Hills but also able to take a couple of bicycles). Check Getting to Malvern for any updates and for other bus services.
Forest of Dean Cycling Association. Concentrating on keeping their forest trail in good repair.
See Pedalaway under Cycle Hire – they put together rides on and off road around Forest of Dean area.
On its ThinkTravel website, Gloucestershire County Council has some cycle maps for around the area, including the countryside.
Canal and River Trust has some info on cycling based on canals and other waterways. This should include Worcester to Birmingham.
Rough Rides Web site has various off-road routes starting near pubs around Kington (Welsh borders), and they seem to keep an eye on the local conditions (e.g. forestry works). Useful local info and links too.
Llanwrtyd Wells is a good base in mid-Wales, accessible by train via the Heart of Wales line. You get the bonus of a scenic rail trip but should book the bike in advance – check bike info page at Arriva Trains Wales web site. A four day mountain bike festival is held here early August – see Green Events.
The official tourism sites are Visit Wales which has suggestions for on and off-road routes and cycling holidays. Mountain Biking Wales. Also see Ride North Wales. North Wales Mountain Bike Association has a page giving advice on getting to their area by train.
Beacons Bus These operate to and around the Brecon Beacons in the summer (late May to early September), and some have trailers taking up to 24 bikes – the Cardiff-Brecon-Abergavenny service. Check the Brecon Beacons Travel site. If our link is out of date, try searching the main Brecon Beacons National Park web site. Other Brecon sites to visit: Cycling in Brecon Beacons National Park and Mountain Biking routes in Brecon Beacons.
Official Travel Shropshire site has info on market towns cycle rides leaflets and more.