Welcome to our first post linked to Tinsmiths 2013 Letterpress Calendar. This month’s subject is Water. Being close to the Malvern Hills on the border of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, with its numerous springs and wells, we have mapped out a short New Year Walk close to one of the purest sources of Malvern Water with suggestions of many other and longer expeditions to be found on the Malvern Hills AONB website.

Taking the Waters at Malvern

The Hills rise dramatically from the Severn Valley and divide the rolling hills of Herefordshire from Worcestershire’s Vale of Evesham. The first record of spring water being bottled in the UK is from 1622, at Holy Well. The well was later used by the Schweppes Company as the source for bottled Malvern Water sold at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Malvern developed markedly from the middle of the nineteenth century when visitors such as Darwin, Tennyson and Florence Nightingale took to the waters. The hills themselves bear obvious signs of human habitation from the earliest times and our walk includes a visit to British Camp on of the most dramatic ironage hill forts in the country. The Malvern Spa Association website is a great source of information, they co-ordinate an annual “Well Dressing” – an event historically held to thank St.Oswald for the efficacy of the water.

Collecting your adam’s ale from “the wild” needs a little thought and the Malvern Spa Association offer advice and reviews of the wells and the water emerging from them. Taking their recommendation of the “connoisseurs” well at Evendine, just off Jubilee Drive, not far from British Camp we suggest a short walk close to Evendine Spring. See map below.

British Camp - Iron Age Hill Fort

British Camp – Iron Age Hill Fort

Tinsmiths’ Gasper – a short puff to get heart and lungs going (30-40 mins)

Running along the Ramparts at British Camp

The Hills offer a great variety of walks from a gentle stroll to reasonably challenging treks, some walks are possible with a buggy and children love the freedom of the wide open spaces. The Malvern Hills Conservators website has details of the many car parks around the Hills, together with details of the ‘Access for All’ trails and much other useful information for getting the most out of any visit to the Malvern Hills. ‘Malvern Hills area of outstanding natural beauty’ website also offers useful information of the area together with some good ‘Discovery Walks’.Our walk is a quick walk around ‘British Camp’ (‘Herefordshire Beacon’), easily achievable in an hour it provides a steep climb to the summit and gentle walk along the ridge and back along the east side of the hill to the car park – enough to take the edge of the under 10s energy levels or make you feel justified in second helpings but not strenuous enough to cause blisters, family rows or aching limbs. This walk can get pretty busy at weekends but once out of the carpark there seems to be plenty of wide open spaces and the monumental beautyof the Iron Age hill fort and the stunning views over the Severn valley to the east and to the west across all of Herefordshire to the Black Mountains in Wales take your breath away.

Take the path from the car park on to the hill (there are three, this is closest to the main road) and take the right fork (marked to British Camp) at the top of the steps/tarmac slope. Follow the path to the top of the camp (the gasping bit) – you’ll see the Severn Valley on your left as you proceed and from the top you can see most of Herefordshire. Look out for Eastnor Castle in the near distance. When you have had your fill carry on in the same direction over Millennium Hill and down steps to a saddle in the hills where several paths cross – there is a small stone circle marking the place. From here turn left and return to the car park via this lower and gently sloping path which follows the contours of the hill. Look out for tower of  Little Malvern Court (14th century prior’s hall) ahead and below – the garden and house are open Wed. & Thurs afternoons in the spring and all day on 17.3.13 and 6.5.13 for fundraising events.

Map showing paths to British Camp

If you would like to finish the expedition by drawing some Malvern Water, head a few yards along Jubilee Drive (B4232) which is just opposite the car park heading along the hills. Evendine Spring is at the “V” of the first lane on your left – Evendine Lane. Happy New Year from all of us at Tinsmiths and look out for our next Calendar post – February’s topic is BREAD.