Oh great! it’s Great Malvern (1)

Great Malvern….  it really is great. I know because on this last day of my leave the weather finally cleared and I was able to get there. How do you get there? in my case I bussed to Evesham and then caught the train I would have returned from Oxford with. It continues its journey from Evesham to Pershore, Worcester Shrub Hill, Worcester Foregate, Malvern Link and finally Great Malvern. The line actually continues to Ledbury and Hereford but this train terminates at Great Malvern. It does not make a lot of sense, but I suspect there is some arcane reason behind it all.

(1500 x 409) Approaching Worcester, with the cathedral in the distance

I am starting this post from when I climbed off at my destination but will deal with the station at the end of the post. Exiting the station I headed for Avenue Road which would take me up into the town itself. However, when I checked the traffic to cross I did a double take and headed for the building below instead. 

This beauty was built as the Imperial Hotel and was designed  by famed architect E.W. Elmslie. It opened in 1862 and was apparently connected to the station via a tunnel. The building was taken over  for use as a school by Malvern Girls’ College in 1919 and it is currently known as Malvern St James Girl’s School. Distraction over it was time to head towards town. I had two destinations in mind: the War Memorial and Great Malven Priory. Everything else was incidental. Fortunately I had some sort of map but also found this handy map on an information board near the station.

As you can see it is not a large town and restricted on one side by the steep Malvern Hills.  I was not too sure whether I wanted to tackle those though, it was one of those wait and see things. Theoretically the War Memorial would have been the first item on my agenda as it was situated in front of the Library. The Priory I would do second as it was still a bit early in the day. I had planned for a 3 hour day, although I did have information about a later train if my schedule fell behind

It is literally uphill all the way to town and you can see the hill in the distance. It made Bredon Hill look like a pimple.  Eventually Avenue Road merged with Church Street and I was in an area of very pretty buildings, many of which had lost their original context. 

To get to the library I should have turned right at this intersection but decided to just keep on going till I bumped into a hill. 

That road is steep! I was now on the pavement that bordered the Priory churchyard and not too far from the hill.  

The road curves to the right and runs parallel with the foot of the hill, it is marked as A449 and called Worcester Road.  The images below were all taken in the road.

Holly Mount United Reformed Church

It was time to turn around and see whether I could find the library from one of the gaps in the buildings but that was a waste of time. My intention now was to backtrack to Church Street and then go in the opposite direction towards what is known as Belle Vue Terrace where I saw Sir Edward Elgar looking down at the traffic in Church Street.

He lived in the town for 13 years and established himself as a composer of international stature. I also encountered him in Worcester

Seeing as I was in the area I decided to at least make an effort to “head for the hills”, although it was turning out to be somewhat of a warm and sunny day and that would make extended climbs difficult.

There was a park next to this creeper covered building (Mount Pleasant Hotel), and I headed towards it. 

I was finally able to get a better view of the Priory from here. 

I could only admire the statue of the two buzzards by Walenty Pytel which was unveiled in 2013. It is an awesome piece of art!

And then I was going uphill! (via 99 steps I may add). 

(1500 x 590)

The view was amazing but the slope was getting steeper all the time. Those 99 steps were not even the end of the start!  The path just kept on going upwards. Eventually I came across a small building that called itself St Ann’s Well Cafe. 

Inside the building was a small ornate fountain. Unfortunately a sign on the door read “The water from this spring has failed bacteriological tests and should be boiled before use!”

And that pretty much encapsulates one of the things that Great Malvern is famous for: Spring Water and the “water cure”. “Rainwater filtering through cracks in the rock emerges from over 100 springs around the hills. in 1085, Benedictine Monks founded a Priory here, benefiting from the pure water. Centuries later, a fashionable Victorian water cure made Malvern a magnet for wealthy visitors. Facilities were built as a result which, with the town’s natural charms attracted writers, artists and musicians….” (Text from an information board).  So, the only water I was going to get would be from the bottle that I filled up from my kitchen tap in Tewkesbury! 

Ever upwards!

But by now I was starting to tire. There was no way I could tell how far I still had to go before I hit the top and I was not going to commit myself to more of this so decided to call it quits and head back down the hill, pausing for a look at the view. There are actually very few places where you can see the view from as the hill is quite heavily treed. 

At some point of my descent I came to the road and had the choice of where I wanted to exit the area from and I decided to take St Ann’s Road. 

And then I was almost back where I started and headed towards the War Memorial and library.  I was glad to be out of the hills though. It was a killer! Having said that I am going to start a new post because there are too many images for a single post. Use the arrow to turn the page.

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The library building

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