Could anywhere be more fitting for outdoor challenges than the Land of Hope and Glory?
This narrow north-south ridge links a series of mini-peaks, including Worcestershire Beacon, Herefordshire Beacon, and the aptly named Perseverance Hill. The flanks are so steep that magnificent views spill for miles into Wales to the west and England to the East.
Malvern itself was home to the composer Edward Elgar, whose Pomp and Circumstance provides the rousing music behind Land of Hope and Glory (the lyrics were written by AC Benson).
Paths and bridleways criss-cross the Malverns for walkers, trail runners and mountain bikers, while road cyclists can feel the burn on roads that go up and over the hills.
If ever there were a destination to run for the sheer joy of it, it’s these hills. A sharp climb leads to the skyline ridge, where excellent paths mean you can lift your eyes from the trail and savour the spellbinding views. If you do feel the need for competition, the seven-mile Beacon Race every October is a testing event with long, steep climbs and some fast descents (worcester-ac.co.uk).
And if the landscape just leaves you wanting to run and run, the Malvern Hills Ultra next May offers distances of 8, 27, 34, 44, 52 and 104 miles. The 52-mile race has over 6,000 feet of ascent (ultrarunningltd.co.uk).
Mountain bike here
Wide trails and closely-packed contour lines make the Malvern Hills a great place for cross-country riding, and the high level bridleways mean bikers can ride unimpeded. Be aware, however, that the high speed and alleged lack of control of some bikers has alarmed walkers and horse riders, leading to a dedicated management plan to promote responsible biking.
Road cycle here
While Tarmac is thankfully absent from the highest hilltops, the roads across this undulating area will still force riders out of the saddle, especially to the west of the Malvern ridge. A number of sportive rides visit the area for the views and the climbs, including the brilliantly named Land of Hops and Glory, which starts and finishes at the Wyre Valley Brewery.
Next year’s event takes place in April (wyevalleybrewery.co.uk/sportive). Later in the year the Malvern Mad-Hatter loops around Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire, never losing sight of the Malvern ridgeline (ukcyclingevents.co.uk).
And in September the Elgar Vintage Ride crosses the hills, with riders in old fashioned gear on vintage bikes (elgarvintageride.co.uk).
Ordnance Survey Landranger 150 and Explorer 190 cover the area.
Plan your visit
The cheapest sleeps are to be found just to the south of the Malvern Hills, where Berrow House Bunkhouse offers beds from £13 per night and camping from £6pppn (berrowhouse.co.uk). In Malvern itself, Puddle Lane B&B tops the Tripadvisor ratings with five stars and double rooms for £70 per night.