Malvern Hills AONB

Grittlesend, Malvern Hills AONB, England
Grittlesend, Malvern Hills AONB ©

Malvern Hills – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is located in the counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire in the West Midlands in England. The area has been designated a AONB since back in 1959, the area covers 105 square kilometres making it one of the more compact AONBs located in England. The Malvern Hills are located approx 58.5% in Herefordshire, 35.8% in Worcestershire and 5.7% in Gloucestershire. The area is well known for its scenic countryside, contrasting landscapes, woodland, biodiversity, wildlife and habitats.

The local population of approx 12,200 live mainly in villages and hamlets located across the countryside. The AONB covers an area in the West Midlands in an area between Worcester, Leominster, Hereford and Tewkesbury. The area is of national importance for nature conservation and includes of Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI), National Character Areas and Regionally Important Geological & Geomorphological Sites. The area is known for its peace and tranquillity providing some of the best scenery and landscapes in the West Midlands.

Among the key features in the area are the grasslands, hill tops, woodlands and scattered settlements. The rich historic environment includes Iron Age Hill Forts including British Camp and Midsummer Hill, Bronze Age burial grounds including at Colwall and Mathon, Conservation Areas including Malvern Wells and Eastnor. Parks and landscaped gardens of national historic interest including Eastnor Castle and Hope End. The areas special qualities include the natural scenic beauty, rural nature of the area, expansive sweeping views across the AONB, peace and tranquillity.

The main industries in the AONB include farming and agriculture. The area has long established itself as a firm favourite for visitors, it is popular for day trips, short breaks and longer trips. There are a number of scenic villages and small towns located in the AONB including Tetford, Tealby and Binbrook. Main settlements located close by include the cities of Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford and the town of Tewkesbury.

The area is popular for horse riding, hand gliding, orienteering, fishing, kite flying, wildlife watching, day trippers, walking and cycling with a range of routes and trails to explore. Visitors can enjoy the scenic setting, the great outdoors and the peace and tranquillity.

Quick Facts

Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty:

Year of Designation: 1959

Population: 12,200 (approx)

Size in square kilometres: 105

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs): 15
Regionally Important Geological & Geomorphological Sites (RIGS): 41
Highest Elevation: Worcestershire Beacon at 425 metres (1,394 feet)
Main Settlements close by: Worcester, Hereford, Tewkesbury and Gloucester.
Located in: Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.


The Malvern Hills AONB is located the West Midlands in England covering parts of the counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. The AONB provides a place where visitors can enjoy a scenic country retreat close to the heart of he English Midlands with impressive views and beautiful landscapes away from the traffic and congestion of the towns and cities. The AONB area is relatively sparsely populated compared to some other AONBs and the surrounding areas in the West Midlands. The area includes a number of charming small villages and hamlets that are full of history and culture.

The Malvern Hills have a long history and are of national importance for its landscape, ecology and geology. Within the actual AONB area there are no large cities or towns in common with several other AONBs, there are a number of smaller villages and settlements. Local cities including Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford provide convenient places from which visitors can tour the Malvern Hills AONB. The commercial development in the AONB area has been limited in order t protect the special qualities of the area ensuring visitors can enjoy the unspoilt rural countryside and landscapes.

The location in the West Midlands in England means the AONB is centrally located in England making it assessable from across the east & east midlands, northern England and southern England & Wales. From Leeds the area is 3 hours by car, from Liverpool and Manchester it is 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours, from Birmingham it is approx 1 hour away. From Cardiff it is 1 hour 15 minutes by car and from London and much of southern England it is 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes away.

Tourist Information Centres are located at various locations close by to the Malvern Hills. The TICs are based in Malvern, Tenbury Wells, Upton Upon Severn, Worcester, Tewkesbury, Ledbury and Evesham located close by to the Malvern Hills. The visitor centres provides visitors with information, help, advice and tips on the AONB area and the surrounding areas in the West Midlands. Each of the centres has knowledgeable staff that can provide useful local knowledge on local attractions, places of interest, things to see and do, along with local advice and tips. A visit to the tourist information centres provides a good first port of call for visitors helping to better plan and organise trips in and around the local area.

Local Accommodation includes a choice of historic and contemporary hotels, B & B’s, Guest Houses, Self Catering houses, holiday homes and cottages. Local accommodation is available in the villages of Malvern Wells and Colwall. There is accommodation available in the nearby towns of Malvern, Ledbury and Tewkesbury. Cities located in the area include Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford, provide good access to local facilities and accommodation from which to explore the AONB and the surrounding local areas in the West Midlands.

Within the Malvern Hills AONB visitors can explore a number of charming, small historic towns, villages and hamlets that retain their character and historic charm. History and tradition have been well preserved in many of the towns and villages providing visitors with an insight in to local culture. When exploring the local towns and villages visitors will find a number of local attractions and places of interest.

Local Towns & Villages include Great Malvern a town located approx 10 miles south west of Worcester on the edge of the Malvern Hills AONB. The town has a rich history and is a spa town due its springs and become a popular spa town retreat for both the Georgians and the Victorians. As the town grew in size and popularity there were a number of impressive buildings that were established many of which can still be seen in the largely Victorian town.

Local attractions include St Ann's Well, the building dates back to the 19th century and includes a Sicilian marble spout and basin along with the St Ann's Well Cafe. The cafe serves a range of vegetarian and vegan cakes, snacks and meals along with teas, coffees and snacks. Visitors can enjoy some refreshments at the cafe whilst enjoy the scenic setting on the eastern slopes of the Malvern Hills.

Great Malvern Priory is a historic Anglican church located in Malvern, the Grade I listed building is a great example of English medieval architecture and includes one of the largest displays of 15th century stained glass in England. The church is in active use with regular services taking place. The church is known for its medieval floor and wall tiles large Norman pillars and the famous east window.

Malvern Museum is located inside the historic Priory Gatehouse building in Great Malvern that dates back to the 15th century. Inside visitors can see five exhibition rooms that include the Medieval Room, the Water Cure Room, the Victorian Room, the Twentieth Century Room and the Upstairs Gallery. The rooms include a range of collections, exhibitions and artefacts charting and showcasing local history, culture and heritage. The Twentieth Century Room includes exhibitions looking at Malvern across World War I and World War II. There are a number of audio guides available and a number of activities for the whole family to enjoy helping to bring the past back to life.

Upton upon Severn is located 7 miles to the east of Great Malvern, located on the River Severn. Historically the town was a port and the only river crossing in the area for many miles, used by river craft to carry goods to and from the agricultural areas surrounding the river. On the east bank there is a marina and the town includes a number of charming old buildings including several dating back to the 17th century. The town includes a choice of places to east and drink there are a number of traditional pubs that serve both food and drinks.

Local attractions include a range of events each ear including Water, Blues, Folk and Jazz festivals. Upon Bridge is the only River Severn crossing for a number of miles around, the original Upton Bridge was famous for its association with Oliver Cromwell's soldiers crossing the bridge en route to victory in the Battle of Worcester in the English Civil War.

Upon Tourist Information & Heritage Centre is located inside the oldest building in Upton dating back to the 13th century, inside visitors can see displays that showcase the growth and development in the town over the years and the involvement in the English Civil War. There are display panels, audio-visual displays, a time line and a desk for young children to learn more. The tourist information centre includes a range of useful information, tips, help and advice on exploring he town and the local area. In the grounds of the Old Church also referred to as the 'Pepperpot' is a bust of Sir William Tennant, the Beachmaster at Dunkirk and the Old Market Cross War Memorial.

Tenbury Wells is located 23 miles north west of Great Malvern in Worcestershire. The market town is located on the banks of the River Terne, the high street includes close to 100 mainly independent businesses offering a wide range of goods and services including bookshop, gift shops, ironmongers and a choice of specialist stores. There are a choice of eating and drinking establishments including traditional pubs, cafes and restaurants serving a choice of cuisines. The market own holds its main market on Tuesdays with smaller markets also held on Fridays and Saturdays.

Local Attractions include St Mary's Church that is known for its Norman Tower and inside there are a number of monuments including the Acton Tombs and the shaft of the Anglo Saxon Cross that have been well preserved. Visitors taking a stroll around the market town will find a number of historic listed buildings and a number of Georgian buildings that include unusual decorations. The town includes several buildings that date back to the 17th century including buildings that are half timbered and a number of pubs.

The Regal Cinema dates back to 1937, viewed as a prime example of art deco cinemas, it has benefited from a refurbishment and restoration and now includes modern equipment and facilities. The Tenbury Museum is located on Cross Street inside a Victorian building, inside visitors with find a number of exhibits, artefacts, exhibitions and collections charting the social history and heritage of Tenbury Wells and the surrounding area.

Eastnor Castle is located 9 miles south of Great Malvern in the south of the AONB. The Georgian castle dates back to the 19th century enjoying a dramatic setting and is a Grade I listed building. Home of the Harvey-Bathurst family for several generations, visitors can see the house, grounds and park. Inside the house highlights include The Great Hall, the impressive State Dining Room, the Gothic Drawing Room and imposing Staircase Hall. Visitors can see the Knight's Maze and the Arboretum know for its scenic beauty and tree sizes.

The castle hosts a number of events through the year including musical events, family events, jousting and fireworks. The Castle Tea Room is a place where visitors can enjoy hot and cold drinks and snacks including light lunches and refreshing afternoon teas. The Castle Gift Shop includes a range of gifts, souvenirs and mementos.

Walking is a popular activity in the AONB and the surrounding areas, there are a number of popular walks in the area for visitors to try. The Malvern Hills includes a choice of landscapes and terrain, with a number of footpaths and bridleways offering both shorter and longer walks for walkers of all abilities. The walks include The Discovery Walks offering walkers an insight in to local history, landscape and features of local interest, locations include Malvern Wells, Colwell ad British Camp.

Cycling provides both a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to explore the Malvern Hills AONB. There are a number of quiet lanes and bridleways making the area suitable for cycling. There are a number of country lanes that pass through a range of landscapes in the AONB including wooded hills and rolling farmland. The area includes a number of on road and off road cycle routes where visitors can explore local culture, heritage and get up and close with nature and local attractions.

Visitors to the Malvern Hills AONB in the West Midlands in England will find a quiet haven with open spaces, rolling hills, scenic countryside and landscapes. There are a number of historic small local towns, villages and hamlets to discover along with charming market towns located close by. The area is known for its rural character, peace and tranquillity making for a scenic retreat.

How to Get There

Malvern Hills AONB is accessible by both car and public transport.

By Car:

The spa town of Malvern in Worcestershire is located next to the AONB area and provides a convenient located from which to explore the area with a choice of accommodation and local amenities. Located approx 135 miles from central London. From London, take the A4, then the M4 up to junction 15. At junction 15 take the exit for the A419, then take the A417. Continue on the A417 until the exit for the M5 'The Midlands'. Continue on the M5 until junction 8 and take the exit for the M50. At junction 1 of the M50 exit on the A38 towards Malvern. From the A38 take the ext for the A4104, then take the B4211 that goes to Malvern. The approx journey time is 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours 15 minutes depending on traffic and time of day.

By Train:

The train station at Great Malvern has regular services from London Paddington station. The approx journey time is 2 hours 35 minutes to 2 hours 50 minutes hours depending on time of day, service and connections.

By Bus/Coach:

There are regular buses available from London Victoria Coach station to Great Malvern via Birmingham. The approx journey time is approx 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours depending on time of day, connections and traffic. Coach services to Great Malvern are provided by services are provided by National Express.

Contact Details

Malvern Hills AONB
Manor House
Grange Road
WR14 3EY

Telephone: +44 (0)1684 560616

Website: Malvern Hills AONB


For Local Search and Directions see: Malvern Hills (AONB) Map

Tips & Other Considerations

The weather and climate can be unpredictable, there can be elements of all four seasons in one day. Ensure you check the weather forecast before you travel and have the correct clothing and footwear including comfortable walking shoes, fleece, raincoat and umbrella.

Follow travel advice and remain alert, vigilant and aware of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to the Malvern Hills AONB ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Use the journey planner for door to door directions. Check traffic updates before you travel.

If you are looking for car parking in and around the AONB, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are unclear, it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.

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