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. malverntrail.co.uk
The Malvern Hills has been classed as an Area Of Natural Beauty since 1959. The 105 square km stretch of hills encompasses parts of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire and is protected for its natural beauty and excessive biodiversity. Thanks to a huge range of habitats, the hills are home to many different species of flora and fauna and they provide a popular walking destination for visitors of all levels and abilities.
The woodland and hedgerows, open grassland, rivers and streams, provide ideal habitat for a number of species. Keep your eyes open for birds of prey as you’re walking, especially Peregrine Falcons which are most often spotted over the wet woodland. The area also protects key species of bat and butterfly (the High Brown Fritillary), the Great Crested Newt and various plant species.
The Malvern Hills are enjoyed for their unspoiled and dramatic scenery. The popular Discovery Walks are a set of seven that explore various areas of the Hills, taking in points of interest along the way.
A strong tradition of cider making in Herefordshire has led to the formation of the Cider Trail, a cycling route that just skims the Area Of Natural Beauty and takes you past many cider related attractions such as a range of producers, a museum and tasting opportunities.
Great Malvern is the historic centre with a priory that dates from the 11th century, but the Hills too display a wide range of heritage with Iron Age hill forts and Bronze Age burial grounds to see. Listed buildings include the magnificent Eastnor Castle which is located toward the southern corner of the Area Of Natural Beuty and there is, of course, a number of springs producing the famous Malvern water. St. Ann’s Well and Holy Well are both popular springs and you can find St. Ann’s Well in Great Malvern located in a building that dates from 1815.