AUTUMN is a great time of year to explore the Malverns and a few weeks ago we featured a walk around the northern end of the hills.

This week we're tackling the central section, between Wyche Cutting and British Camp.

This is even more varied and attractive, with woodland, scrub and open grassland on the hills; meadows, pasture and more woods around Colwall.

The emphasis is very much on woodland, and it's surprisingly varied. As you take the easy paths which contour round the hills you'll notice frequent changes in the character of the woodland through which you're walking.

The commonest tree on and around the hills is oak, but hawthorn, hazel, holly, birch and rowan are abundant too. Lime and sycamore also occur, and there are beautiful beechwoods on the slopes above Malvern Wells and Upper Welland.

The trees provide shelter for birds, but the one species you're perhaps most likely to notice is one which prefers open country.

This is the stonechat, a sparrow-sized bird which is a winter visitor to the Malverns. Look for it on the open slopes on the east side of the hills. The male is instantly recognisable, with his black face, white collar and orange chest. Stonechats perch on prominent bushes and small trees and individuals seem to enjoy keeping pace with walkers, flitting from bush to bush close to the path.


Head for the lavatory block across the road (B4232) from the Malvern Hills Hotel. There's a signpost here indicating the Worcestershire Way, but don't join this yet. Instead, walk past the lavatories and proceed to a stile where two footpaths are signed.

Take the right-hand one, descending diagonally right at first before turning right along the edge of Herring's Coppice until a gate and stile give access to the wood. At the far side turn right along a lane until you see a footpath on the left. Follow tyre tracks across sheep pasture to Evendine. Cross a stile and immediately turn right towards Spindrift, on the Worcestershire Way.

The Way is easily followed through woods and meadows, eventually meeting the B4218 at Colwall. It continues opposite, initially using the driveway to The Winnings. After passing a row of lime trees go through a gate and past a school. When you come to a junction where the Worcestershire Way turns left, leave it, forking right instead on another path.

After crossing a stile keep straight on by field edges. Before long you'll notice a brook on your right. When this swings right so does the path, heading towards the hills now. After crossing a stile the path bears right towards houses. After another stile it proceeds to a junction where you turn left past Peyton House.

Pass through iron gates to join a tree-lined path which follows a dry, fern-filled stream-bed to a stile. Don't cross this but continue by the stream-bed to another stile then go uphill along the edge of a hazel coppice. At the top of the bank turn right through mixed woodland to another stile, after which the path continues past two houses before swinging right.

Ignore branch paths, staying on the main track which bears right to meet West Malvern Road (B4232). Turn right to the B4218 and go through Wyche Cutting then turn right at the junction with Old Wyche Road on a bridleway which passes Rock Cottage.

The bridleway contours round the eastern slopes of the hills through a landscape of broom, bracken, bramble, gorse and scattered trees, before entering woodland. Eventually it begins to descend. At this point fork right on another path which climbs gently to a T-junction. Turn left.

n At the next junction descend briefly left then turn right on the higher of two parallel paths. Keep straight on at the next junction, a wooden fence now on your left. The path runs through a beechwood: when it forks go to the right (marked by a yellow splodge of paint on a tree).

Keep straight on at three junctions, descending quite steeply at one point, but soon climbing again away from the noisy road below. Before too long you emerge from the trees.

Fork right at the next junction and sharp right at the one after, briefly returning to woodland before gaining the open top of the ridge. Head south again, either along the ridge-top or on a lower path to the right. Either way, it's now a short, easy stroll to Wynds Point and British Camp.


Start: the walk is described from the Malvern Hills Hotel, on the A449 below British Camp (GR764404), but alternative starting points include Colwall and the Wyche.

Length: 5.5 miles/8.8km.

Maps: Harvey Superwalker Malvern Hills, OS Explorer 190, OS Landranger 150.

Terrain: good paths, possibly muddy in places; woodland, scrub, pasture and a short stretch of the ridge-top; plenty of ups and downs but nothing steep.

Stiles: 14.

Parking: British Camp car park opposite the hotel.

Buses: 144 direct from Worcester on Sundays; on weekdays take the 44 to Great Malvern and change to the 675 (buses also serve alternative starting points such as Colwall and the Wyche); Traveline 0870 6082608.

Trains: trains serve Colwall daily, but the footbridge across the railway which provides access to the Worcestershire Way is closed for repair at the time of writing if this is still the case you will need to walk a little way along the main road to join the Worcestershire Way at The Winnings.

Refreshments: Malvern Hills Hotel and snack kiosk by A449 (may be closed weekdays), tea room and pub at the Wyche; pubs and shops at Colwall are also on the route for those taking the train.


This walk has been carefully checked and the directions are believed to be correct at the time of publication. No responsibility is accepted by either the author or publisher for errors or omissions, or for any loss or injury, however caused.