Seeking solace in the hills: why the Malverns are perfect for walking

Asia's Tech News Daily

Photograph: John Greenwood/Alamy

On the western slope of the Malvern Hills, along the border of Worcestershire and Herefordshire, there is a hairpin junction where a small lane leads downhill off the main road into the woods. It is common to see clusters of vehicles here, and if you stop to investigate you’ll find yourself among an ever-changing but faithful coterie, some of whom have travelled many miles. They are gathered around a spout in the side of the hill that gushes a constant stream of water, straight from the ancient rock. This is Evendine spring, one of more than 100 natural springs in the Malvern Hills, and according to the regulars, the finest-tasting of them all. Some of the visitors are drinking from cupped hands, most are filling plastic bottles, and the old lags are hauling multiple jerry cans into their vans. At weekends you may have to wait a while but the mood is always convivial, as if you’ve happened upon a secret society.

‘A scene that could have been from the Alps.’ Photograph: Richard Sheppard/Alamy

I first discovered Evendine spring during the 2020 winter lockdown. Floored by long Covid, I holed up with my husband in a cabin by the River Severn near Hanley Castle, with views of the Malvern Hills to the west. As part of my recovery, I was planning to walk a little further each day with the aim of making it up on to the ridgeline. There were routes to suit any mood or energy level, from twisty wooded trails to stony moorland tracks and even the “99 Steps”, a Victorian-built staircase. Although steep, none of these could be considered long walks, but this was all about tiny steps. The previous winter I had happily hiked across Egypt’s Sinai desert, so there was a certain amount of physical and emotional adjustment to be made to my newfound circumstances – from a life of action and adventure to struggling to walk and breathe. The Malverns seemed like ideal rehab hills – small but perfectly formed, sandwiched between the cities of Worcester and Hereford, running just eight miles north to south, with a maximum elevation of 425 metres.

My seeking solace in these hills was nothing new. There is evidence of human habitation dating back to the iron age, as well as bronze age burial mounds and ancient drovers’ tracks. By the 1850s the fashion for hydrotherapy saw visitors flock to Great Malvern, a classic Victorian spa town in the eastern foothills – all gabled villas and decorative bus shelters. The natural springs were developed into official tourist sites, housed in typically ornate buildings such as St Ann’s Well and Holy Well, which survive today. The town’s healing vibe remains strong: it has morphed into a well-heeled hippy hotspot of organic health food stores and alternative therapies.

Hangman’s Hill. Photograph: Paul Weston/Alamy

But it’s the hills that keep drawing you back. Ever present, looming over the town, urging you to leave the prim Victoriana behind and ascend to higher things, to drink from the springs that flow from the Precambrian rock, and to gaze across the nation from the windswept ridge. Although diminutive in comparison with other British hills, the Malverns have a mountainous feel that belies their humble dimensions, bursting forth, steep and sudden from the otherwise flat, featureless Severn Plain. Approaching from the east is the British equivalent of crossing the midwest prairie and seeing the Rockies looming in the distance. Each week, as I extended my walks by a few minutes, it was this promise of elevation that got me outside, putting one foot in front other, trudging up slopes in all weathers, motivated by some primal urge to stand tall on high ground.

Evendine spring on the western slope of Black Hill. Photograph: Paul Heinrich/Alamy

Approaching from the east is the equivalent of crossing the Midwest prairie and seeing the Rockies in the distance

In pre-Covid times I made annual trips to the Spanish Pyrenees, where one of the great pleasures is to drink from the fuentes, the spring water spouts in the mountain villages. With no foreign travel on the agenda, my Malvern treks became a scaled-down, pandemic-friendly version of these adventures: we’d walk the hills, seeking out the spots where water breaks through the ancient rock. The wells and springs of the Malverns range from nondescript depressions in the ground to pipes sticking out of stone walls to the elaborate Victorian structures and fountains. Some of the sources are easy to find – in the streets, formalised for public use, while others are hidden deep in forested slopes, just a trickle in a dell. Not all flow as freely as Evendine; a few have dried up over the years, or have been sealed off and are identifiable now only by tell-tale clues: an ancient brass tap in a wall or a weed-choked stone trough at the roadside.

My walks were gradually lengthening and my resolve was rewarded when a few days after Christmas (Zoom-heavy, alcohol-free), we awoke to a magical sight: snow had fallen on the Malvern Hills. This would be the day for the ridgeline. Along the sweeping curves of Jubilee Drive, the road that follows the contour of the hills’ western side, the branches of pine trees were bowed, heavy with fresh snow, in a scene that could have passed for the Alps. As I stepped out and started walking, the rare and thrilling crunch underfoot spurred me on. The slopes were alive with sledgers and dog walkers, families and solo hikers, everyone blinking and smiling at one another in the brightness and euphoria of a moment’s reprieve from the horrors of the past year.

Looking down on Great Malvern’s Priory Church. Photograph: Ian Butler Photography/Alamy

The Malverns are a line of 22 hills, including the evocatively named Hangman’s, Tinkers and Perseverance. I chose the latter. Slowly, breathlessly, I made my way up its rocky path, until the ridge appeared in front of me and, with just one more step, like at the raising of a curtain, I found myself before a frosted panorama, pure white, stretching out across the Severn Valley to the distant Cotswolds. Behind me, to the west, the snow-covered Welsh Marches and the Black Mountains, also glistened under the wintry sun. The whole nation was sparkling in every direction.

They say that on a clear day you can see 13 counties and as far as 200 miles from the Malvern ridge. I have returned to this view in every season since – in the spring, when the bluebells and wild garlic carpet the slopes, and in summer when you share the hills with butterflies, a skylark if you’re lucky, and the dedicated hikers doing the “end to end”. Now the days are shorter, but the gold and amber of autumn brings a mellowness to a late-afternoon amble and the holly bushes are already dotted with berries. The Malverns may not be as expansive as the Brecon Beacons or as tickable as Snowdon, but they deliver everything you need from a hill walk: a sense of achievement and a higher perspective on whatever ails you.

They say on a clear day you can see 13 counties and as far as 200 miles from the Malvern ridge

Evendine spring flows all year round and I always make sure to stop by before setting off up the hills; there’s a fundamental pleasure in drinking water straight from the ground, as if tapping into some ancient knowledge. Local lore claims that it started with Saint Oswald, a first-century archbishop of York, who knew of Malvern water’s healing properties and revealed this to a hermit who lived in the hills. Centuries later, in the 1920s, Alfred Watkins, the Herefordshire antiquarian who theorised the idea of leylines, claimed to have discovered a line that connected a number of wells along the Malvern Hills. True or not, a reverence for the waters remains. On my last visit, its merits were being discussed with the language and veneration usually reserved for fine wines or craft beer.

“Hard … but also kind of sweet,” mused one of the jerry canners, who makes regular visits from Bristol. Another theorised that its flavour comes from the limestone that Evendine runs through, the only Malvern spring to do so.

“I won’t drink anything else,” he said. “There’s something magic about it. I don’t know what, but it does you the power of good.”

I fill my bottle and start walking up to the ridge. I think he might be on to something.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


From Taurus to Libra: 4 Addictive zodiac signs you'll always stay hooked on

There could possibly be two reasons that we are not able to forget a person: Firstly, we truly believe that they are the one for us and secondly, we are ... Read more »

IPL Auction: Shreyas Iyer, Yuzi Chahal, David Warner likely to be top draws as 1,214 players register for mega trade

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: India batsman Shreyas Iyer and spinner Yuzvendra Chahal along with Australian batsman David Warner are expected to be the ... Read more »

Second In-Person Quad Meet Could Be Held In May: Report

© Provided by News18 Second In-Person Quad Meet Could Be Held In May: Report The Quad summit will be held in Japan towards May this year but the dates of ... Read more »

Aspirational districts now eliminating barriers to progress: PM

Aspirational districts are now eliminating the barriers to the progress of the country and they have become accelerators for growth instead of impediments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday ... Read more »

Spain holidays: Benidorm named best city in Europe for socially distanced fun

Travel will be on many Britons’ list of things to do this year. While travel restrictions are still in place, it is now easier to jet off overseas without too ... Read more »

Fans Turn Virat Kohli Into ‘Devdas' As They Watch Him Dance After ‘Being Wronged By BCCI'

© Provided by MensXP Virat Kohli is playing his first ODI series ever since he was stripped as the captain of the squad in white-ball cricket.  Based on the videos and ... Read more »

Delhi police arrest 18-year-old from Lucknow in Clubhouse app chat case

© Provided by Hindustan Times The Clubhouse interaction comes to light days after a massive uproar over Bulli Bai app case that listed Muslim women for auction along with their ... Read more »

Myanmar sentences pro-democracy activists Phyo Zeyar Thaw and Kyaw Min Yu to death

© Provided by ABC NEWS Phyo Zeyar Thaw played a charity concert for Burmese Australians in 2019. (Supplied) Two pro-democracy figures in military-ruled Myanmar have been sentenced to death for ... Read more »

Morgan: Development more important than winning

© Getty Eoin Morgan is captaining a 17-man England squad for the five-match T20 international series against West Indies in Barbados England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan says the development of ... Read more »

Russian minister accepts invitation to meet with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

The Russian defence minister has accepted an invitation to meet with UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace amid tensions over Ukraine the PA news agency understands. Mr Wallace extended an invitation ... Read more »

U19 World Cup 2022: When and where to watch India vs Uganda match, live coverage on TV, online

© Provided by Firstpost U19 World Cup 2022: When and where to watch India vs Uganda match, live coverage on TV, online After a glorious 174-run victory over Ireland, the ... Read more »

Bigg Boss 15: Karan Kundrra looks handsome in printed stylish shirts

© Glamsham/Instagram/Twitter Bigg Boss 15: Karan Kundrra looks handsome in printed stylish shirts Bigg Boss 15 heartthrob Karan Kundrra is making girls go crazy with his good looks. Moreover, his ... Read more »

Slain NYPD rookie wanted to improve relations between cops and communities

Officer Jason Rivera detailed in a letter written when he attended the police academy that he knew becoming a police officer “was the career for me.” DCPI The rookie cop ... Read more »

Mpumalanga's best performing pupil showered with gifts, including a car

© Provided by SowetanLive Mpumalanga’s best performer Kgothatso Mphaka from KwaMhlanga secondary school was on Friday gifted with a Toyota Etios and R50,000 in cash. Kgothatso, 18, was also showered ... Read more »

Covid pushes release of 'Mission: Impossible' 7 and 8' to 2023, 2024

© IANS Mission Impossible. Los Angeles, Jan 22 (IANS) The release dates of two films from the Tom Cruise-starrer spy action series: ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ and ‘Mission: Impossible 8’ have ... Read more »

Teaser of Santhanam-starrer 'Agent Kannayiram' garners million views

© IANS Santhanam’s Agent Kannayiram. Chennai, Jan 22 (IANS) The teaser of director Manoj Beedha’s ‘Agent Kannayiram’, which features actors Santhanam, Riya Suman and Sruthi Hariharan in the lead, has ... Read more »

Gulmarg, other places in JK, receive fresh snowfall,

© Provided by The Financial Express The MET Office has forecast widespread light to moderate rain/snow in J-K till Sunday. (Representational image) Gulmarg and other upper reaches of Kashmir received ... Read more »

Palak Tiwari spotted with Ibrahim Ali Khan outside restaurant. What's cooking?

Palak Tiwari and Ibrahim Ali Khan were snapped together leaving a restaurant. Shweta Tiwari’s daughter Palak Tiwari and Saif Ali Khan-Amrita Singh’s son, Ibrahim Ali Khan, were photographed leaving a ... Read more »

Why Packers' Aaron Rodgers will win MVP over Buccaneers' Tom Brady, despite some voter reservations

© Provided by Sporting News Cooper Kupp, Jonathan Taylor and T.J. Watt had terrific seasons, but here’s the truth about their 2021 NFL Most Valuable Player award cases: They never had a ... Read more »

Islanders leaning into scheduling chaos

By now, the Islanders are used to the chaos. Strictly speaking, it doesn’t quite make sense for them to have played 13 games on the road to start the season, ... Read more »

Mumbai: 7 dead, 16 injured after major fire at 20-storey building in Tardeo

© Provided by Firstpost Mumbai: 7 dead, 16 injured after major fire at 20-storey building in Tardeo At least seven persons were killed and 16 others injured in a major ... Read more »

Mom charged for threat of 'gun loaded, ready' if kids masked at school

A Virginia mother has been charged with making a terror threat after she vowed to bring guns to her children’s school if they were made to wear face masks. Amelia ... Read more »

Recoveries outnumber fresh COVID-19 cases in Odisha: Daily infection, positivity dips

© Provided by The Statesman Recoveries outnumber fresh COVID-19 cases in Odisha: Daily infection, positivity dips Odisha on Saturday recorded 8,845 fresh Covid cases, including 927 children below 18 years ... Read more »

Was irritated: Priyanka Gandhi clarifies comment on being Congress's UP CM face

A day after dropping a major hint for the party’s chief ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday clarified that she did not say ... Read more »

Prakash Jha helped me overcome depression, says Indian actor Prashantt Guptha

© Provided by Khaleej Times US-born Prashantt Guptha, originally from a Jaipur family that has been in the gems and jewellery business, has acted in a few Bollywood films (including ... Read more »

Janhvi Kapoor's black one-piece bikini from viral poolside photos costs r₹r11k: Check out the details

Actor Janhvi Kapoor‘s Instagram page is currently serving a fashion lesson on slaying poolside fashion. The star escaped with her friends for a relaxing vacation last weekend. After which, she ... Read more »

‘Put your money on me, you'll double it' — Cassper Nyovest wants Black Coffee to bet on him

© Provided by Times Live Rapper Cassper Nyovest reckons  “grootman” Black Coffee should put his money behind him in the rapper’s upcoming boxing match with actor and musician Anga “NaakMusiq” Makubalo. ... Read more »

Fury as shock photo shows teacher taping mask to young student's face

PARENTS are furious after a shocking photo showed a teacher taping a mask to a young student’s face in a school classroom. The viral photo led to outrage from parents, ... Read more »

Main Chala Out: Salman Khan, Pragya Jaiswal make a lovely pair in Guru Randhawa-Iulia Vantur's love number

© Provided by Pinkvilla Salman Khan never misses a chance to surprise his audience. From film announcements to trailers, pics, and more, the Bajrangi Bhaijaan actor always has something new ... Read more »

'Absolute disaster', 'Get rid' - Many Everton fans flock to early team news before Aston Villa

© Provided by Transfer Tavern Everton, Toffees, Premier League, Fabian Delph Many Everton fans have been flocking to some early team news before their game at home to Aston Villa ... Read more »

Tennis-Cornet makes it a birthday to remember with comeback victory

© Reuters/ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE Australian Open By Sudipto Ganguly MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Alize Cornet celebrated her 32nd birthday by staging a stunning comeback to reach the second week at the ... Read more »

Monkeys on the loose in Danville, Pennsylvania, after truck carrying 100 primates CRASHES on way to lab

MONKEYS were on the loose in Pennsylvania on Friday after a truck carrying 100 primates crashed on its way to a lab. The crash took place on Interstate 80 in ... Read more »

Prince Andrew could ‘lose 24-hour armed security' and bodyguards as he is ‘not working royal'

PRINCE Andrew could lose his 24-hour armed security and bodyguards as he is “not working royal,” it has been claimed. It comes after the Duke of York was stripped of his ... Read more »

Scotland to N Ireland bridge plan cost £900,000 - your views online

Dougie Milne £900K of taxpayers money to state the bleeding obvious. Johnson up to his usual high levels of bumbling incompetence. Sarah Cooper And the wee fact of the trench ... Read more »

It's a baby girl for Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas!

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: Priyanka Chopra and her singer husband Nick Jonas surprised their fans with big news on Friday night by declaring that the duo has ... Read more »

Ana de Armas fans sue Universal Studios for 'Yesterday' promo

© IANS Ana de Armas. Los Angeles, Jan 22 (IANS) Two fans of the Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas, have filed a lawsuit against Universal Studios seeking a settlement of ... Read more »

Highway Code warning over £200 fines and 6 points in new crackdown on drivers

Drivers will soon face tougher new laws when it comes to using a mobile phone behind the wheel. It is already illegal to text or make a phone call, other ... Read more »

There are 6,892 Covid-19 patients hospitalised in SA

© Provided by Times Live The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said in an update that 3,520 new Covid-19 cases had been identified in SA, pushing the total number ... Read more »

Taiwan on COVID alert as domestic Omicron cases spike

© Reuters/ANN WANG A staff gives orders while people receive booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in in Taipei TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s government ordered a tightening of controls on ... Read more »

Shaun Williamson going on karaoke UK tour 'with extra private gigs costing 3k'

Shaun Williamson is going on a karaoke tour credit:Bang Showbiz Shaun Williamson is putting on private gigs for £3,000. The former 'EastEnders' star – who played Barry Evans on the ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic