THE Worcestershire Way runs through the west of the county, from Bewdley to Great Malvern. This walk from Great Malvern includes the last few miles of the Way, joining it in apple orchards near Crumpton Hill and following it through the northern part of the Malvern Hills and then down to Great Malvern.
The Way takes a very easy route through the hills, avoiding summits as it skirts round End Hill, Table Hill, North Hill and Sugarloaf Hill, using good-quality paths and tracks such as Lady Howard de Walden’s Drive.
The final descent to Great Malvern is via St Ann’s Well and Rosebank Gardens, arriving in town near the top of Church Street. The route is attractively waymarked with stone direction markers. These are a huge improvement over the plastic discs used elsewhere, but their very subtlety means you’ll have to look that bit harder to find them.
However, the route is never really in doubt. In any case, you can alter it in any way you wish: choose an even easier walk on lower paths, for instance, or maybe a tougher walk over the tops. One of the great things about the Malvern Hills is that the walking possibilities are endless.
FACTFILE:- Start: Church Street/Victoria Road junction, Great Malvern, grid ref SO778460 (alternative starting points include Malvern Link station and Cowleigh Road).
Length: 7½ miles/12km.
Maps: OS Explorer 190 or OS Landranger 150. The Malvern Walking and Cycling Map is also good. It’s produced by the county council and available free of charge, if you can find a copy.
Great Malvern tourist information centre may have some.
Terrain: Mostly short turf, moderately hilly in places; also arable fields, woodland, orchards and residential streets.
Footpaths: Mostly excellent.
Parking: There are car parks on Victoria Road, at the junctions with Church Street and Como Road.
There is also one on Cowleigh Road, by the Beauchamp fountain.
Public transport: Very frequent buses and trains from Worcester; buses stop on Church Street, near Victoria Road, and at Malvern Link, including Howsell Road.
gov.uk/bustimetables or Traveline 0871 2002233
1 Walk along Victoria Road to a crossroad then turn right on Como Road. Turn left at the end of the road, past Malvern Hills College, then take a footpath on the right. Pass to the right of Malvern Youth Centre and walk across two fields, bearing left in the second towards the far left corner. Go through a hedge gap and follow the railway embankment until you can pass under the railway.
2 Bear left on a fenced and hedged path. Turn left after it enters a field, following a well-trodden route to a hedge gap. Proceed along a tree-lined path to join a street. Bear right across a green then continue in much the same direction along a fenced and hedged path between houses and fields. Ignore branching paths and pass a school. Meeting another street, keep straight on for 150m then take a footpath on the left, after number 85. This leads to Link Common.
3 Take any route of your choice.
For the most direct route, don’t cross the railway but bear right to meet Worcester Road near the far (north-east) corner of the common and cross to Howsell Road (next to Malvern fire station). Walk 150m to a bus stop (44A) opposite the entrance to Malvern Link train station, and descend steps on the right. Follow a path to a street, turn left and walk to Church Road. Cross over, turn left, pass under the railway then take a footpath on the right. Keep straight on at all junctions, eventually walking along the edge of a large arable field.
4 Approaching Lower Howsell Road, look for a waymarked junction and turn left, diagonally across the field, heading towards the hills which rise to the north of the Malverns. Keep on in the same direction at a field corner, walking along the edge of the next field with a hedge on your right. Maintain this same direction through subsequent fields to reach a residential street. Walk to a junction and turn left, then immediately right (basically straight on, in other words) to reach a T-junction. Turn right, then fork left at Grit Lane, following Tanhouse Lane to a T-junction (B4503).
5 Turn right, then shortly cross over to take Westward Road.
Walk to a T-junction, turn left on Beverley Way then immediately right on Sandpiper Crescent. Take a footpath on the left after number 11. The path crosses Whippets Brook and skirts a former MoD site, eventually coming to a junction where you should go straight on to enter a field. There is no waymarking here so look for a large, hollow, pollarded poplar tree just before the junction, and two concrete posts (only one of which is upright) just after the junction.
When you enter the field you should be able to go obliquely across to a stile at the far side but, at the time of writing, the path has not been reinstated after ploughing.
Most walkers use the left-hand edge and then turn right in the corner.
6 After crossing the stile, follow the left-hand edge of a pasture until a gate gives access to an orchard. Walk along its left-hand edge and you’ll soon see the logo of the Worcestershire Way. Follow the waymarked route to Cowleigh Road (B4219), turn left past Earl Beauchamp’s Fountain and then climb steps to Old Hollow. Turn right and soon left, up more steps to West Malvern Road (B4232). Turn right, finding access to the hills near the Lamb Inn. Follow the Worcestershire Way back to Great Malvern.