UK Mountains Walking, Mountaineering and Equipment Reviews
Bredon Hill Training day

OK, so Bredon Hill at 299m it is not the highest mountain I've ever climbed, in fact given that it is 981 feet and the de facto definition of a mountain is higher than 1000 feet then it is a hill, although by hill standards it is a big one, being just 19 feet short of being a proper grown up.

Either way, for a Friday afternoon it would do nicely. My starting point was the delightful village of Beckford just off the busy A46. It was a gloriously warm day as I headed off up the narrow lane that lead to the bridleway that would take me high up on the hill. Walking up in the silence I enjoyed the solitude, looking out of the ever expanding countryside. Being on the South side of the hill, it was Gloucestershire rather than Worcestershire that came into view, looking out over Nottingham Hill and Cleeve Hill in the distance. Views across to the Malvern Hills would not come into view until the summit plateau.

The Tower on Bredon Hill

As my route took me in the direction of the tower on the summit I passed a friendly farmer in his huge field sprayer, no doubt, like me, enjoying the countryside and the fine weather. Of course no self-respecting path could go in a straight line and sure enough I veered to the right but gained height until eventually arriving at the East-West Path that would take me right onto the plateau itself. Mostly flat until the final gate when the path went sharply upwards and onto the main plateau which is an ancient hill fort dating back over 2000 years called Kemerton Camp. The tower is much more recent, dating back to the late 1700s built as a summer house and in fact, if one were to stand on the top (which you can't) then you would be standing on ground over the magic 1000 feet. Luckily or not, depending on your point of view, hills cannot become mountains due to man made structures so it is still a hill. Rather sadly it is now a mobile phone base, so no excuse for not getting a signal up here!

My return journey was the reverse of the route up giving me a total journey distance of a shade over 14km.

Malvern Hills Training day

The Malvern Hills can be an easy walk or a tough walk depending on your starting point, route and number of hills tackled. Of course, I started at the foot of probably the steepest climb at North Hill, tackled every one up to and including Midsummer hill and back again. A total journey distance of just over 15 miles in around six hours of walking.

North Hill is not the highest, but from the North Malvern Road up the side of the old quarry it is probably the steepest sustained climb. Eventually the main path is reached which would take the walker via a gentle incline to the foot of the Malvern beacon, which is the highest. For me, straight on to the col, then turn left to summit at 397m, followed by a descent and second ascent to Sugar Loaf, often overlooked by walkers heading for the beacon which stands at 425m and is the highest point in Worcestershire but a lowly 6655th highest in the UK. It commands excellent views though stretching to Shropshire and the Black Mountains to the West, Bredon Hill and Cleeve Hill to the East and the huge expanse of the Severn Valley below.

Downward from here to the Wyche Cutting Road crossing - one of two that I encountered during the day, then up the other side to bag several others on the way to the British Camp, including Summer Hill, Jubilee Hill, Pinnacle Hill and Black Hill. Just before ascending the Camp, I diverted to a natural spring to resupply with water. There are a number of natural springs around if one knows where to look (I do!) so there is no need to carry an excessive amount of water.

British Camp is an ancient hill fort and can be walked up via the tarmac path or, like me, traverse around looking for a really steep way up!

From here I dropped into Eastnor Park and walked along some of the Landrover trials area before heading back up onto Midsummer Hill where I declared lunch. Excellent views of Castlemorton Common kept me amused until it was time to retrace the steps back to North Hill and the final descent.

An excellent day out in fine weather with some testing climbing, fabulous views and at times, some nice peace and quiet.

Severn Way, Oldbury to Frampton


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