Having the Malvern Hills on our doorstep is a privilege. Growing up in the area, I never appreciated how beautiful it was. Even as an adult, I’d walk and run on the Malvern Hills without really understanding how lucky I was. I think the turning point for me was when I started to notice the Malverns topping lists of walks with the wow factor and best places in the UK to see the sunrise.
So with the advantage of years of exploring, here are my favourite Malvern Hills walks. Grab a map before you start and make use of your phone’s sat-nav if you need to. I’ll update this post with more walks in the future, so if there’s a particular area you’d like me to cover then please do leave a comment. If you’d like to know about other things to do in the area, head to my post about the best West Midlands family days out.
Malvern Hills pub crawl
There’s nothing better than spending a sunny day walking from pub to pub through beautiful countryside. And alongside the Malvern Hills, there are some great pubs. So, the first of my Malvern Hills walks is a pub crawl. This is a full day’s walk at a relaxed pace with plenty of stops to fuel up. It’s dog friendly too, all the places mentioned will welcome your pooch either indoors or outdoors.
I’d suggest starting at the Nag’s Head, which is by far the most popular pub in Malvern. They serve great pub food and a multitude of real ales. It’s not right on the hills, but it’s a relatively short walk from there to get onto the hills themselves.
Park on the road outside the pub and head upwards to start your walk. If you go up to the right, you can get onto the hills at the North Quarry car park. Head up into the hills from there and keep following the path until you come to St Anne’s Well. This is a sweet little café that is ideal for lunch with lots of veggie and vegan options. For a quicker route to St Anne’s Well, you can go up and left from the Nag’s Head and into town. From the top of town, you turn right at the Unicorn pub and head upwards. Take the left hand fork in the road and when that turns into a path, keep heading upwards. Both the Unicorn and the Red Lion are worth a stop if you have time to fit in an extra drink.
From St Anne’s Well, if you stand facing the building you’ll see a path on your left. Take that path and keep going along it. At some point you’ll go down a steep hill that brings you onto the road. Instead of staying on the road, go straight up the hill opposite the one you’ve gone down to stay on the path. If you turn right and then left here, there’s a beautiful little lake. Head back to the main track to go to Earnslaw car park, which is where you want to go onto the road.
Keep following the road up and you’ll come to the Wyche Inn on your right hand side. This serves cheap and cheerful pub grub and has a lovely beer garden with views over Worcestershire.
When you’ve finished at the Wyche Inn, go through the Wyche cutting and up Beacon Road which is on the right. This will bring you back up onto the hills and you can go up and over the top of the Worcestershire Beacon. When you go down the other side of the hill, you’ll come to a stone circle with direction points marked on it.
From there, if you stand with the beacon behind you and look down to your left, there is a steep path down the side of the hill. At the bottom of it, you’ll find the Brewer’s Arms pub. This is another lovely small pub serving good pub food and with a lovely big beer garden.
After you’ve finished at the Brewer’s Arms, you have two options. The first is to head back up onto the road from the pub and go left to walk back to the Nag’s Head. Alternatively, go back up the side of the hill and look at the direction stone to point you back to St Anne’s Well. From there you can follow the same path you took up to that point at the beginning of your walk.
Herefordshire Beacon to Eastnor Obelisk walk
Walking from the Herefordshire Beacon, otherwise known as the British Camp, to the Obelisk at Eastnor will take between two and two and a half hours. The walk starts at the British Camp car park. There are no facilities en route, so make the most of the wonderful Sally’s Place coffee shop in the shack opposite the car park. They cater for quite literally everyone, even selling breakfast for dogs for 50p. There are public toilets just around the corner from Sally’s Place.
From the car park, take the lower of the two paths going up towards the Herefordshire Beacon. Follow this path until it forks, then take the left-hand fork. The path veers around to the right and past the Giant’s Cave. Don’t be fooled by the name, it’s only just big enough for people to fit in, giants would have no chance!
Soon afterwards, you’ll see the large obelisk monument in the distance. Keep going in the direction you are heading in until you find a path off to the right that goes into the woods. This will join a more defined track, which takes you down to the bottom of the hill on which the obelisk stands. From there, if you take the left-hand path beside the hill, it will take you up to the monument. Retrace your steps to walk back to the car park.
Walking the Worcestershire Beacon
If you’re in the mood for conquering a big hill but you’re pushed for time, the next of my Malvern Hills walks is ideal. I’d put aside at least 45 minutes for the most direct route, but you may be able to do it quicker. Drive up to the Beacon Road car park, which is the furthest you can get up the hill in a vehicle. From there, you’ll see a path taking you up the Worcestershire Beacon.
You can either stick to the well-defined path, or go onto the ridge and walk straight up the side of the hill. The ridge is a little rocky and can be slippery underfoot, whereas the main path provides a good surface most of the way up to the top.
At the summit, you’ll see the Diamond Jubilee Topscope, which will help you to identify the hills you can see. The view from up there is incredible on a clear day.
From there, you can either head back down to the car park the way you came or walk down the other side of the Beacon. If you go down the other side of the Beacon, When you get to the direction stone further down the hill, you can either go right towards St Anne’s Well or go left straight down the side of the steep hill to get to the Brewer’s Arms. Head back towards the Beacon to regain the tourist track that will take you back to Beacon Road Car park.
Walking the Herefordshire Beacon
The next of my Malvern Hills walks is the Herefordshire Beacon. Much like walking straight up the Worcestershire Beacon, this is an invigorating walk that doesn’t require much of a time commitment. In fact, you could probably make it up to the top and back down in half an hour if you kept up a good pace. Refreshments are available at Sally’s Place coffee shop opposite the car park and public toilets are just around the corner from Sally’s Place.
Park at the British Camp car park and take the path at the edge of the car park nearest to the road. Keep following this path and you’ll soon be able to see the ramparts at the top of the Herefordshire Beacon. If in doubt, keep going up!
Whilst there’s no landmark or Toposcope at the top of the Herefordshire Beacon, it is no less impressive. In fact, it is one of the most awaesome examples of an Iron-Age hill fort that you can see in the UK. The view from the top is stunning, particularly when you look along to see the rest of the Malvern Hills stretching out before you.
To descend the Herefordshire Beacon, you can either go back down the way you came up, or take one of the paths on the side of the hill that go in the direction you’ve come from. Some paths give a spectacular view of the now disused reservoir at the foot of the British Camp.
Exploring North Hill
If you’re looking for a strenuous walk with fewer people around, I’d suggest exploring my favourite spot on the Malverns. There’s a clocktower on West Malvern Road, behind which is an incredibly steep track upwards. You can park at the North Quarry or Tank Quarry car park, or alternatively there is some on-road parking available near to the clocktower.
Find the clocktower itself and walk around it towards the hills. There are a few different paths when you leave the clocktower, but they all lead the same way – straight up the side of the hill. You’ll think you’ve gone wrong because walking up here is a real challenge. But keep going, it’s worth it.
There’s no real right or wrong path from here. If you get to the very top of the hill and go right, you can keep going to the end of the hills and eventually make your way down to the road. If you go to the top and turn left, you can meet up with the gravel tourist track. This takes you in the direction of the Worcestershire Beacon. Alternatively, you can take a well-defined spiral path off to the left which will bring you back down onto the tourist track further down. From there, turn right to go towards St Anne’s Well Cafe, or turn left to go back towards the car parks and clock tower.
This particular walk is all about exploring, taking as long as you like and going as far as you want to go. Just be aware of your own time constraints and have a GPS device on you to help get back to the start if you get disorientated.