An­thony Bridge’s Malverns

Worces­ter­shire

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents -

Many artists have fallen in love with the Malverns, in­clud­ing Antony Bridge, a pop­u­lar lo­cal artist. Born and still based in this part of the coun­try, Antony heads out into the land­scape with his easel in all weath­ers; a plein-air painter who cap­tures the ma­jes­tic hills in sun, rain and storms. His paint­ings re­flect a per­sonal pas­sion for na­ture, colour and light, and he uses a lim­ited pal­ette to cre­ate en­er­getic, colour­ful oil paint­ings of the Malverns that make you want to dis­cover the place your­self.

1 EARLY DE­TOUR

Start at Bri­tish Camp car park op­po­site the Malvern Hills Ho­tel near Lit­tle Malvern. You can get here by bus from Great Malvern – take the 44B or 481 to­wards Led­bury from Church Street, get­ting off op­po­site the kiosk (you’ll see the ho­tel on the right). Or, if you don’t mind adding some miles to the route, it takes about an hour to walk here from Great Malvern train sta­tion.

The first part of the walk is a loop of Bri­tish Camp, or Here­ford­shire Beacon. Go through the wooden gate half­way down the car park and fol­low the path along the east­ern side of the hill. Ig­nore the trail and steps to the right, stick­ing with the lower path as it emerges from the trees with lovely views of Bri­tish Camp Reser­voir to your left.

About 500m be­yond the reser­voir, take a path to the right link­ing the lower trail with the main ridge path and fol­low signs for Bri­tish Camp (Here­ford­shire Beacon).

2 BRI­TISH CAMP

Bri­tish Camp is an Iron Age hill fort, thought to have been built in the 2nd cen­tury BC and you can still see the man-made na­ture of the hill.

The path takes you up some steps on a zigzag­ging route to the top. Take a mo­ment to en­joy the view, then con­tinue back down to the car park.

To carry on with the walk, cross the main road and fol­low Ju­bilee Drive be­hind the ho­tel. A foot­path leads off to the right and emerges soon af­ter at Black Hill car park.

3 ALONG THE RIDGE

Carry on along the main path to­wards the top of the next hill. Con­tinue on the ridge un­til you get to Wy­che Cut­ting, with Great Malvern vis­i­ble to the right and Worces­ter­shire Beacon up ahead. There are some steep climbs – in­clud­ing 357m-high Pin­na­cle Hill. It’s quite a slog when it’s hot, but it’s well worth tak­ing a pic­nic to eat while you en­joy the views.

On a clear day, look west to the Here­ford­shire hills and the rugged Black Moun­tains. And keep an eye out for grayling and small heath but­ter­flies, adders, green wood­peck­ers, har­vest mice, meadow pip­its and, in spring, marsh or­chids.

At Wych Cut­ting, the path de­scends to the road. Turn right and, just be­fore The Wych Inn, take a sec­ond right on to Old Wy­che Road. This soon turns into Lower Wy­che Road, which takes you into Great Malvern.

4 DOWN TOWN

Great Malvern is a lovely place to spend an af­ter­noon, with its shops, cafés and gal­leries. That’s if you can re­sist the call of the signs say­ing ‘To the Hills’, tempt­ing you to tackle the next, more stren­u­ous sec­tion.

Where to see the art: Antony Bridge is the artist in res­i­dence at the nearby Na­tional Trust prop­erty, Croome Park. Find out more at antony­bridge.co.uk

Antony Bridge’s Malvern Morn­ing Sun­rise casts the fa­mil­iar hills (inset) in an un­usual new light

Emily Gravenor is a Warwickshire-born travel writer who lives in Brighton.

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