20080927-28_Malvern Hills Walk_Some extra stuff

20080927-28 Malvern Hills Walk_Some extra stuff
When :
27 + 28 September 2008
Who : Me and Justine
Where : Malvern, Worcestershire, England
Maps used : 1:10000 scale map “The Malvern Hills sheet-3” British Camp to Chase End Hill, published by The Map Shop, Upton Upon Severn.


If you’ve read my diary post about our little walk on the southern stretch of the Malvern Hills, you might like to know a bit more about them.

If you’d like to read my post, the link below should take you there.



Many years ago, I obtained a set of 3 maps, so long ago I don’t remember where or when. Each map does a section of the range of hills [each covering about 4-5 km north-south]. The maps were published by “The Map Shop, 15 High Street, Upton-upon-Severn”. 

The maps are based on the Ordnance Survey at 1:10000 scale, which I find really odd to walk with, being used to using 1:25000 scale mapping most of the time. At 1:10000 scale, it makes it seem that you’re covering the ground much quicker than you are.

Some (boring) legal stuff :
Appended to the maps are various passages about the geology; the hills themselves; archaeology and local legend. Acknowledgments are printed, most notably to “The Malvern Conservators”, “Mrs. Irene Southall” and of course “The OS” http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/ .

Obviously the OS stuff is subject to Crown Copyright, but I can’t see any copyright notice on the texts or the general publication. I hope I’m not infringing anything, but the following are some extracts from the notes on the set of 3 sheets (I’ve put the extracted texts in italics, to separate them from my writings).

Also I’ve searched “The Map Shop” website http://www.themapshop.co.uk/ and couldn’t find anything to suggest the set of maps is still in publication.

The maps themselves are not dated. As the following includes extracts from the published documents I have brought my weblog page to their attention to ensure I am not infringing any copyright. I’ll withdraw/rewrite in my own words if they have any objections. I have no reason to doubt any of the info’ they published and I have not tried to verify any of it myself, although obviously time can have a bearing on things.

  • The photo’s are all my own work.

The interesting stuff :

The Malvern Hills :
The hills run generally in a north-south alignment, and are approximately twelve kilometres or eight miles long, but at their widest they are only a little over one kilometre or three quarters of a mile across.

The greater part of the Malvern Hills and surrounding commons are under the jurisdiction of the Malvern Hills Conservators, http://www.malvernhills.org.uk/documents/publications/documentsindex.html

Some Main Features on our walk of 27-Sept-2008 :

  • British Camp Pass (car park) = 240m or 787′ this has always been the most important route over the hills.
  • Herefordshire Beacon = 338m or 1111′. The British Camp, one of the most impressive Iron Age Hill Forts.
  • Hangmans Hill = 276m or 905′.
  • Swinyard Hill = 272m or 895′.
  • The Gullet Pass = 204m or 671′
  • The obelisk in Eastnor Park (Deer Park) = approx 230-240m

The views from almost the whole length of the ridge are superb in all directions – northwards towards Shropshire and the Wrekin, eastwards across the Severn Vale and the Vale of Evesham, south to the Cotswolds and the Bristol Channel, and westwards over the Herefordshire patchwork of small fields and coppices to the Black Mountains and the Welsh Borders.

In the area there are many miles of footpaths and bridleways, mainly of definitive status, but including some permissive paths on the Malvern Hills. For the walker, horse rider or cyclist the countryside offers a variety of routes ranging from easy to strenuous, all within an area that is justifiably classed “of outstanding natural beauty.”

A bit on Geology :
Most people who walk anywhere on the ridge of the Malverns are struck by the great difference in the scenery of the lowlands to either side. Worcestershire is a flat plain with the Severn running through it some four miles away. Herefordshire appears as a picturesque jumble of low wooded ridges. The visitor who is intrigued by this contrast and by the dark mass of Granite lying between, realizes that it is a geological puzzle. In a very quick summary, The Malverns are of a very old and extremely hard granite, to the west are shales and limestones, to the east sandstones and marls.

Archaeology :
The hills south of the A449 road contain two fine examples of Iron Age Hill Forts. The most impressive is the British Camp built on the hill known as the Herefordshire Beacon, and forming one of the country’s best “contour forts”, where the natural slope of hill was used to advantage in constructing the defensive ramparts. The site was most probably a fortified hill town built around the third century B.C. and able to support a community of some 2000 people, living in timber and mud houses.

The second hill fort is at the top of Midsummer Hill, and is slightly smaller than the British Camp.

The mediaeval “Shire Ditch” or “Red Earl’s Dyke” runs almost the whole length of the Malvern Hills and was constructed between 1287 and 1291. Gilbert de Clare, the red-headed Earl of Gloucester and then owner of Malvern Chase, is reputed to have had a boundary dispute with the Bishop of Hereford over the limits of their respective hunting forests. The line was finally agreed to run along the top of the hills, whereupon the Earl appears to have built the ditch and fence on his side of the hill in such a position that the Bishop’s deer could easily get over the fence but were unable to jump uphill to get back again. The ditch is still clearly defined for most of its length, and on Raggedstone Hill one of the finest sections is to be found cut out of solid rock.

Local Legend :
South of the Herefordshire Beacon is “Clutters Cave”, a small man-made cave with an unknown history.

Legend has it linked with the fugitives John Oldcastle and Owen Glendower, but it is also said to have been occupied by a hermit – it is unlikely that the mystery will ever be solved.

Places to Visit :
There are plenty of places to visit in the surrounding area and information should be available at the local tourist information centres in Malvern, Ledbury, Bromyard and Worcester : http://www.information-britain.co.uk/ticlist.cfm?county=1 & http://www.information-britain.co.uk/ticlist.cfm?county=1

Apart from our walk over British Camp to Eastnor Park and back to British Camp Pass, two places we visited were :



To go to my Malvern Hills walk diary, please use the link : https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/20080927-28_malvern-hills-elgar-pilgrimage/

My next walk(s) … probably a couple of days in the Lake District, with one of my sisters at the end of October, based in Grasmere.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. I mean my précis and regurgitation of someone else’s writings.


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