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At 425 metres, the Malvern Hills are far from being the biggest hills in the country, but set in a relatively flat area this range of hills seems to dominate the landscape and can be seen for miles around. It’s the sort of range that seems to rise straight out of the ground. When viewed from a distance you can see the full length of the range and you can’t help but get the urge to walk from one end to the other. The good news is that you can do exactly that. The Malvern Hills End to End walk is a great route that offers stunning 360 views and can be walked all year round.
The Malvern Hills End to End Walk
At just over 9 miles, the Malvern Hills End to End walk is fairly long and strenuous. Despite the highest point at Worcestershire Beacon being only 425 metres, this walk really does feel like you are getting much higher. The views on a clear day are incredible and you can see as far as the Bristol Channel and the Welsh Mountains.
I’ve walked this route a couple of times, once in winter and once in late spring. Unlike most of the walks that I do, this is a linear route and not a circular one. It’s best enjoyed with a couple of friends and the simplest thing to do is arrange it so that you leave a car at each end. It takes a bit of planning and organising before you start walking but once it’s done you can then just keep walking in one direction and cover the full length of the range.
The route follows a series of ups and downs as it covers each hill in the range in turn. This means that there are plenty of opportunities to get your heart pumping and you’ll end the day really knowing that you’ve been for a good walk. Long sections of the walk are on the open hilltops with plenty of opportunities to take in the views and stop for rest breaks.
When is the Best Time to do the Malvern Hills End to End Walk?
The route is fairly well surfaced and there’s no reason why this walk can’t be done at any time of year, but you really want to try and pick a clear day if you can. It’s the views that make this walk so you really would be missing out if you chose a day when the hilltops are shrouded in clouds.
I walked this route on a cold January day and found it difficult to find the right layering system to keep me at the right temperature. The constant contrast between walking steeply uphill and then being up on exposed hilltops meant an ever-changing condition of being too hot or too cold. It’s something to consider when you’re planning what to wear.
With the exception of a couple of small wooded sections, most of this walk is on open hillside and there is very little in the way of shade. If it’s a hot day you’ll need to be prepared for that.
The Malvern Hills are a popular place for walkers and mountain bikers and can be quite busy on the weekends. But the majority of people will be doing the smaller, circular routes and not the full length, so you’ll still manage to find some solitude in some sections.
The route begins at the southern end of the Malvern Hills and ends, just as you’d expect, at the northern end. Parking at the beginning is in a small layby – use postcode HR8 1SE – so if you’re planning to walk this route on a busy weekend then it’s best to get there early to guarantee a parking space.
The route is relatively easy to follow for the most part, but there are a couple of sections that can cause confusion so using a map or the OS app is recommended.
The full route can be found here on the OS website.
You should allow a minimum of 5 hours for the walk, but longer if you plan on stopping to take lots of photos as I always do, and even longer if you plan on stopping for a coffee along the way.
Conveniently, at about the halfway point where the route drops down and crosses the A449, there is a roadside cafe and toilet facilities. It’s a great place to stop for a coffee and a piece of cake to keep your energy up.
Things to Do Nearby
The Malvern Hills are as popular with mountain bikers as they are with hikers. You could make a weekend of it and tackle the hills on foot one day and by bike the next. There are several routes that cover the hills, from a short 6k route up to a lung-busting 19k route with lots of climbs that are rewarded with fast-flowing downhill sections.