View walking down from Worcester Beacon

A family walk in the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire

Back in the summer holidays we spent a day exploring the Malvern Hills. This range of hills extends for 15 kilometres across Worcestershire and Herefordshire and offers relatively easy walking for families with older children.

We arrived by train into the town of Great Malvern, having seen glimpses of the hills from our carriage. The station is about 15 minutes walk from the centre of town. It’s worth taking a quick look at its Victorian architecture, tea room and bookshop before you leave. A little twee but it’s lovely to see a station so obviously well cared for.

Great Malvern
Great Malvern

Although I’ve visited the Malvern Hills before I wasn’t entirely sure where to walk. Given the geography of the hills it’s hard to get lost but my natural sense of direction is terrible. Fortunately the tourist office provided a map showing the most popular walk options.

The route on to the hills is via ninety nine steps from the back of Rosebank Gardens which is a couple of minutes walk from the tourist office. We forgot to count how many steps there were but when you think you’ve finished there is a short stretch of uphill road.

Walking up the 99 steps to St Ann's Well, Great Malvern
Walking up the 99 steps to St Ann’s Well, Great Malvern

Our brief uphill exertion provided the perfect excuse to stop for a drink at St Ann’s Well cafe. Great Malvern was once a famous centre of hydrotherapy and visitors were transported up the hill by donkeys to drink the waters from the well. Water still flows from the well today and although there was a sign saying it isn’t currently safe to drink this didn’t deter one visitor who popped in to drink it during our stopover. My daughter was horrified that someone would ignore the notice!

Taking a break on the Malvern Hills
Taking a break on the Malvern Hills

Suitably refreshed we carried on walking towards Worcestershire Beacon. My son decided he needed another rest on a bench despite him being the youngest and probably fittest out of us.

We tackled a final steep stretch up onto the summit. At 425m Worcester Beacon is the highest point in Worcestershire so as you’d expect the views in all directions were amazing. Due to its location and height I’d imagine it’s the most popular destination in the Malvern Hills but even on a sunny summer day it was pleasantly busy rather than overcrowded.

Malvern Hills viewpoint
Malvern Hills viewpoint

It was also a convenient lunch spot particularly as there was a group of paragliders nearby who we hoped would entertain us. However, either the thermals weren’t sufficient or they were having a break too as they lay on their backs on the slope the whole time without taking off. We saw some later in the day though, circling high in the skies above Great Malvern.

Waiting for the paragliders, Malvern Hills
Waiting for the paragliders, Malvern Hills

After posing for the obligatory photo at the toposcope on Worcester Beacon we continued our walk south. We’d already tackled the highest point of the day so we enjoyed an easy downhill stroll towards Wyche Cutting. Whilst it’s possible to walk the full length of the hills in a day we were restricted by our return train time so I decided that from Wyche we’d return back to Great Malvern via a different route.

Summit of Worcestershire Beacon, Malvern Hills
Summit of Worcestershire Beacon, Malvern Hills

Wyche handily provides yet another refreshment stop at the H2O cafe which is part of the Malvern Hills Geocentre. This is a small visitor centre for the Geopark Way, a 109 mile geological route from Bridgnorth to Gloucester.  The visitor information is primarily provided by iPads but there are maps and some printed information available. We were only there for coffee and cake so it was perfect for us but I wouldn’t really visit it as a destination unless you’re planning to walk the actual trail.

Walking the Malvern Hills
Walking the Malvern Hills

Our return route provided a complete change of scenery as it skirted along the edge of the hills through woodland and past Earnslow Lake. This is the site of an old quarry. Tales abound that gold was mined nearby but the only certainty is that granite was once taken from these hills.

The Malvern Hills Conservators have landscaped the old quarry and it’s possible to walk part way around the edge of the lake. All very picturesque until the kids spotted a huge dead fish floating in the water!

Earnslow Pool, Malvern Hills
Earnslow Pool, Malvern Hills

Our path led us back to the cafe at St Ann’s Well. We had a much quicker descent down the 99 steps (which we still forgot to count) and into town. I managed to squeeze in one more cup of coffee before leaving; I think this walk broke a record in terms of number of cafés visited on a half day walk!

More info:

  • I previously linked to a leaflet outlining two walks on the north Malvern Hills  but this no longer appears available and there is no obvious replacement. Instead the website suggests purchasing walk leaflets from the tourist office.
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27 thoughts on “A family walk in the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire”

  1. I love the Malverns! They’re not too far from us, but we only usually manage to get there about once a year (thanks to the kids and their endless sport!). You’ve walked some different parts to where we normally walk, but other photos look very familiar. I think those paragliders are always there!

    1. Ah really? We waited for ages for them to take off. My son was really excited each time one of them looked like they might take off.

  2. Every time we visit Malvern it’s to the Three Counties Showground and we always look up at the hills and say we really must get up there with the children! It’s beautiful up there isn’t it.

  3. What a beautiful walk for you and the kids to have gone on, the view from the top of Worcestershire Beacon is spectacular, although I’m sure it was more breathtaking in real life. It’s great that you got to watch the para-gliders, although it’s a shame they didn’t take off whilst you were at the top. I’m impressed how many cafe’s you managed to visit, that sounds like my sort of walk! Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.

    1. Thanks Sara. It was great to walk back a different route, and it also meant I didn’t have two children complaining about walking uphill again….

  4. Looks like a great walk, on a lovely day. We had similar weather the time I walked some of the Malverns with a boyfriend from uni one summer. Lovely place to get out and about.

  5. What a beautiful day for a walk! Definitely a fantastic day and an excellent amount of cafe stops, can’t pass up a chance for cake! I’m looking forward to getting out on the hills again when our boys are a little older, O at 4 refuses to walk far at all, especially if it’s uphill! I really love hill walks, especially when you get such fantastic views.
    Thanks for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

    1. We had a memorable holiday to Cornwall where our daughter refused to go on any walks, even really short ones. It was a little stressful!

  6. Hi Christine, stunning views, well worth the trek up to the top of the hills! It must be amazing to para-glide from the top! As for drinking copious amounts of coffee; you’ve got to get that energy from somewhere.

    xx

  7. Wow you did well walking that far.
    And that is a lot of cafe stops haha.
    I can’t believe someone drank the water either, especially if it said it wasn’t safe to do so.
    The walk up looks like it was so worth it though, the views are absolutely stunning.
    I love days like this when you go out exploring new walks and views. I hope my daughter loves outdoor walks as much as your little ones do. Thank you so much for linking this to #whatevertheweather. xx

  8. My children would have thought the dead fish the highlight of the whole trip… Love the view over the pointy looking hill!

    I know someone who paraglided off or over all the Lake District Wainwrights in a year. He wrote a book about it. Which is how I discovered that there’s a new attraction for walkers in hilly country since I was shlepping up and down mountains in my teens. How very dare they not live up to their promise here!

    1. Thanks for letting me know Richard. It appears the leaflet has been removed and I cannot find it elsewhere so I’ve updated the post to reflect this.

  9. This sounds fabulous & exactly the sort of thing I am looking for, to fill the last few days of the holidays. How long was the walk & can you remember how long it took you – including all the stops, as they sound great too!

    1. Hi Stephanie – I think we took 4-5 hours with stops and picnic. You could easily change the walk to whatever your time allows though – pop into the tourist office in Great Malvern as they might be able to advise specific routes for you.

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