Geology and archaeology now has its own page.

Also See

Malvern Water

Springs, Wells, Fountains, Well Dressing

Malvern developed massively in the Victorian era around ‘taking the waters’. A key date is 1842, when Drs James Wilson and Gully set up their water cure establishments in Belle Vue, at the centre of town. Two famous Victorian era Charles’ came to Malvern for the water – both Dickens and Darwin, with their respective wives.

Malvern Water was until recently bottled at Colwall by Schweppes (part of Coca Cola). This plant has closed, but you can still get the water for free from the various springs (take note of any warning signs re quality). The reputation of the water was firmly established by J Schweppe & Co. at the Great Exhibition in 1851. There have been other bottlers, going back to the 17th century and the latest is Holywell, at one of the original sites. It is best known for “containing nothing at all” (i.e. high levels of purity).

 Malvern Spa Association has a more comprehensive list of springs etc. plus their location (approx. 70 in the area).

Wells of Malvern is a map from Harvey (see Outdoor Links for contact details), similar to part of their Hills walking map.

Also see under Points of Interest below for our own Google Map/GPX record. Check any notices of water quality if you want to take a drink (and some springs may be ‘dry’, or at least not running). Maintenance of the spouts etc. will depend mainly on landowners (we think), but there may be financial support available e.g. from Malvern Hills AONB.

  • St Ann’s Well (Great Malvern): see cafe entry on Food & Drink.
  • Holy Well (Malvern Wells)
  • Morris Well, Wells Common (Lower Wyche)
  • Temperance Fountain, Worcester Road (Malvern Link)
  • Enigma Fountain plus Malvhina water feature, Belle Vue Terrace (Great Malvern)
  • Jubilee Fountain (Malvern Wells)A well dressed Evendine spring
  • Beauchamp Fountain, Cowleigh Road
  • Evendine Spring, Jubilee Drive
  • Hayslad Spring, West Malvern Road

Cora Weaver has written a number of related books such as The Great Malvern Water Trail; A Short Guide to Malvern as a Spa Town; other titles on Malvern history.

Well dressing competition happens May Day weekend – see Events. Here are some pictures of dressed springs (2002 to  2007). Anyone can apply (to Spa Assoc) to dress a site, on a first come first served basis.

Local BBC pages are worth a look.

A review on London Review of Books of Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey through Britain (paperback pub’d 2000) includes the following: “The hydrotherapy in Malvern cured both Florence Nightingale and, in part, Tennyson, ‘who came after a nervous breakdown, and declared he was “half-cured, half-destroyed” by the place’. Charles Darwin ‘arrived depressed and unable to write, but was so persuaded by the effects of his treatment that he returned three more times’. (Darwin was to have his own douche-bath fed with Malvern water installed at home.)”

Malvern Hills

This well known ridge runs roughly north/south, to the west of Great Malvern, and stretches for 8 miles or more (depending on what you include). William Cobbett, the author of Rural Rides, described the Malvern Hills as “those curious bubblings up”, when staying at Woollas Hall. While the ridge itself is open, and often windy, the lower slopes have a range of woodland and scrub, with quarries to explore (not all are recommended as safe).

Malvern Hills Trust (known as Malvern Hills Conservators up to April 2017) is responsible for management of the Hills plus other green spaces dotted around. The web site has a little info on birds, plants and other wildlife to look out for. The Conservators were set up by Act of Parliament in 1884, pre-dating National Parks in Britain by some way and just 12 years after Yellowstone in the US – four more Malvern Hills Acts of Parliament followed. There was a long struggle to limit the damage done by quarrying, which went on to some extent until the 1970s.

The Trust produced a range of useful leaflets, covering Wildlife highlights, Access paths and a couple of Hill walks. Green spaces and hidden places gives info on some of the land managed by the Conservators around and beyond the Hills. Obtain from MHT office in Grange Road (opposite the Theatre) or the TIC in Church St. Copies are on their Information Boards at particular hill locations (Earnslaw Quarry, Gullet Quarry, Swinyard car park, British Camp). Also may be available as pdf downloads .

The Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty extends beyond the Hills themselves, reaching from Knightwick to Bromsberrow, and from Ledbury to Welland, totalling some 105 square kilometres. As of November 2023, the AONB title has become ‘National Landscape’. See the Malvern Hills National Landscape website for more info, and their themed guides (generally with maps). The publications mentioned on the site are generally in pdf format, but print versions may be available at Malvern Tourist Info centre.

BBC Hereford and Worcester has a good (archived) section on Malvern Hills: Hills, History and H20,

Malvern Chase, to the east of the Hills, was at one time a large area used for hunting by royalty.

  • The Forest and Chase of Malvern by Pamela Hurle, History Press 2007.
  • Malvern Chase: An Episode in the Wars of the Roses and the Battle of Tewkesbury by William Symonds, first published 1880, Capella Archive 1999.

Points of Interest

We’ve compiled GPS data for use with Google Maps etc, recording refreshment stops, springs, bins, car parks, etc. along the Malvern Hills. More to add (e.g. more springs), but see the Google Map or download the GPX (from TrackLogs) file containing waypoints.

Worcester Beacon October

Worcestershire Beacon is the highest point, and has a toposcope showing the various hills, rivers etc. that can be seen on a clear day. The original brass plate from the toposcope is now kept in the Conservators offices, due to an earlier theft.

The café which was near the toposcope burnt down many years ago and has not been replaced.

British Camp (pic) aka Herefordshire Beacon, is the most well known hill with old earthworks, but it isn’t the highest spot. Large car park, bus stop, kiosk with quality ice creams, pub/hotel all at the bottom. Public toilets are just behind the kiosk – the gents used to have a good view, but this is now obscured by frosted glass. Grid ref SO761402.

Other toilet facilities: Wyche Cutting (Wyche Road/Jubilee Drive), West Malvern Road near Brewers Arms/footpath to The Dingle, St Ann’s Well (when café is open).

MalvernTrail info on refreshment facilities on and around the Hills.

Clutters Cave, Broad Down, grid ref SO763394 (pic) – also known as Giants Cave. Just south of British Camp.

Castlemorton Common is a rather different landscape and habitat towards the southern end, near the village of Welland. A Castlemorton Common website was hosted by MHT for the Castlemorton Commons Coordinating Committee, try this link. It covers/covered the commons of Castlemorton, Coombe Green, Shady Bank, and Hollybed – as well as minutes and information for residents there’s good stuff on history, geology and wildlife.

Midsummer Hill has some interesting history and geology – see Geology section below. This is close to Eastnor Deer Park, and through there Eastnor Castle – see ‘West from Malverns’ info page.

Get the map: Worcester and the Malverns, Evesham and Tewkesbury Ordnance Survey Landranger (150). Or the more detailed Explorer map, Malvern Hills and Bredon Hill (190).

The Malverns, Images of England series from NPI Media. Archive photographs documenting life in the Malverns from the 1860s until the 1950s.