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STOP PRESS 17 MAY 2024 -

In response to the previous news item below, Deborah Fox, Trust CEO, said:

"I feel it is important to take time to understand local concerns. That is why I felt it important to attend the public meetings, even though my offer to speak was declined. The Trust is open to learning about the objectives of local stakeholders. We welcome invitations to speak at upcoming events and I look forward to meeting members of the public at the drop-in events that we will run alongside our public consultation. The proposals are about making the Trust fit for the 21st Century. We need to be able to diversify our income streams, and raise funds in the same way as other charities. Examples might be to charge for selling wood. Current constraints mean we can only ask for a donation."

"The Trust's outdated legislation puts undue onus on levy payers and those using our car parks to cover the costs of managing 3,000 acres with open public access for all. I feel more people outside of the area could be contributing to the upkeep of the Hills and Commons, for example, by joining in fundraising events. Under the proposals, the essential objects of the charity - to preserve public access and to look after the landscape will remain the same but expressed in more modern language. As now, the Trust will not be able to sell off its public land, nor allow, building upon it. There will be no changes to the Trust's power to grant rights of access to adjoining land and no changes to who pays the levy and who can vote in trustee elections."

The Trust's public consultation, details of drop-in events and frequently asked questions are being shared via its website. See https://www.malvernhills.org.uk/governance-changes/

  11 MAY 2024 -

A meeting held in Malvern by Malvern Environmental Protection Group 11 May 2024 enabled the public present to express concerns about the intentions of the MHT to create a new governing Act of Parliament.  As a result many people expressed their views about the Trust seeking to extend their powers and functions as part of a general update of its status. This was seen as potentially derogatory and in due course could jeopardize the key role of long-term conservation and preservation of the unique hills managed by the Trust. The key objectives of the Trust (as determined in historic MHT Acts) are to:


  • Preserve the natural aspect.
  • Protect and manage trees, shrubs, turf and other vegetation.
  • Prevent unlawful digging and quarrying.
  • Keep the Hills open, unenclosed and unbuilt on as open spaces for the recreation and enjoyment of the public.


The running of the Trust's managing Board however is complicated in that it includes co-opted committee members, elected individuals from elsewhere, etc. In the past the Trust leadership has spread its wings and made itself a charity, thus broadening its scope. The Trust however was created as a Conservation Board, not a limited company, charity, Local Authority or any other formal institution. As such is has a responsibility to pursue its objectives within its status. Possible moves to extend its role now cause significant concern, in spite of the Trust claiming their initiative would enhance their ability to meet their long term objectives. We watch this matter progress and hopefully reach a sensible and practical future conclusion.


In the picture Deborah Fox, the newly appointed CEO of the Trust,  meets our Dr Bruce Osborne, author of this news page. Both attended the above meeting.


3- 10 May 2024 - Once again it was the Well Dressing weekend in the Malvern Hills. More than 50 sites sported the most stunning decorations for all to see. Participants include members of local clubs and organisations. The theme in 2024 was "Trees" and when decorated, the springs and wells provide an entertaining excuse to tour the hills, seeing the amusing and picturesque results of people's efforts. The weekend started on Friday 3 May when the dressings are carried out, the following day judging took place. The results of the judging were celebrated in Priory Park Great Malvern on Monday 6th when certificates were presented to the winners at 2pm as part of a family fun day. This included live music as well as other entertaining activities. Pictures of dressed sites below include Weavers Wells 88, named after Cora, and Lower Wyche Spout 46.

Lower Wyche Spout
 Weavers Well
Modern day well decorating in the Malvern Hills was initiated in 1993 by local historian and author Cora Weaver, who wanted to draw attention to Malvern's rich water heritage. 'Well decorating' described what she wanted to promote, and was not to be confused with Derbyshire's more traditional well-dressing.  This initiative resulted from extensive research by Cora and Bruce Osborne about the number and provenance of sites and the publishing of guides culminating in "Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills" (2012) published by Phillimore and authored by Cora and Bruce.
The earliest written evidence of well decorating dates from 1870, when Ryland's Fountain at West Malvern was decorated to celebrate 'the presentation of the Royal Malvern Well for the use of the public forever'. This annual event became bigger and better over the next few years, but eventually died out in the 19th century.
For more details of the history click right:    Malvern Waters, Malvern Springs and Wells

Richard Jefferies (1848 - 1887), a famous Victorian naturalist and writer, became noted for Mulberry Trees and as a result the trees were named "The Tree of Life".
Following in Jefferies footsteps, during the Malvern Festival of 1936, George Bernard Shaw planted a Mulberry Tree in Priory Park Great Malvern to commemorate his 80th birthday. At the planting ceremony he said that he hoped the tree would outlive him. Shaw died in 1950 aged 94 years and the tree was blown over in a storm during the winter of the year 2000. It was discovered that a cutting however had been sent to Malvern, Victoria, Australia and so Cora Weaver and Bruce Osborne set off to rediscover this tree of life. Cuttings were taken from the Australian tree which subsequently survived. In 2009 six healthy cutting were distributed from Malvern, Australia and were sent to Malvern Worldwide as symbolic links with the home town of Great Malvern. One was planted in Priory Park Great Malvern and has survived to date.
For further information on this fascinating story go to:
 Malvern Waters, Malvern Springs and Wells
Richard Jefferies wrote "The Tree of Life" about 1871, but it did not appear in print until three years after his death. It was published in the Scots' Observer on 8 November 1890 under the title of The Mulberry Tree. He also left a Mulberry Tree at his house and museum at Coate in England. Unfortunately the tree was damaged by high winds. The old tree, thought to be about 170 years old at the time, was snapped in two and lost its main branch.  
Priory Park MALVERN
Being blown down is a common problem for mulberry trees. The good news is that Great Malvern's Mulberry Tree has survived the severe storms in England of the winter of 2023/4. See picture left. In the foreground is the plaque laid by the Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells when the tree was first planted.

Malvern Water Source Rediscovered: North Hill Spring.

Having been lost for many decades, recent incidents and investigation have resulted in the rediscovery of a lost water source in the Malvern Hills UK.

Background:  In the Autumn of 2023 a sinkhole appeared on Link Top Common near the end of Moorlands Road. This is on land belonging to the Malvern Hills Trust (Conservators) and lies at the foot of the northern end of the line of hills that form The Malverns. The sink hole comprised a hole about 4 feet deep at the bottom of which was running water. As time progressed it enlarged and it became apparent that the water had previously been contained in a stone pipe of about a foot diameter which had collapsed into pieces. During the wet winter of 2023/4 the flow was substantial.

There is dispute about ownership and maintenance responsibility for the pipeline. What do we know about the location and origin of the water? It is not recorded in Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills (2012) Osborne B and Weaver C., the definitive work on the springs and wells.

There was once a large pond in Moorlands Road. The pipeline runs from the Malvern Hills and perhaps was linked with the pond. 

Worcestershire County Council have claimed that it is a culverted water course in a 450mm vitrified clay pipe. The pipe is marked "Doulton" suggesting a date between 1853 when Doulton was founded and 1901 when it gained Royalty status with a charter.

In 1877 the North Malvern Tank was inaugurated behind the Clock Tower. This would have been fed by a substantial spring. The spring once flowed down the hillside circa 1870 adjacent to the Charles Morris spout. 

The Highways Authority have apparently dyed water going into road drains and it did appear at the sink hole. They have suggested however that their road drainage, albeit appearing  at the sink hole, first connects to a water course prior to running to the sink hole.

Severn Trent Water have indicated that it is not theirs.

Field Visit -   In March 2024 Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver took a look at the sink hole and the angle of the pipe and followed it uphill. It led to the North Hill Quarry, approximately 100m south-east of the Clock Tower. This suggests that the pipe does not emanate from Tank Quarry or thereabouts.
The conclusion as to what happened: when quarrying began at the North Hill Quarry, is that the north-east face of the hill was blasted away. This continued until the mid-20th century. If you look at the terrain today, you can see that quarrying also occurred below ground level - it's very boggy there underfoot. The result being that one or more springs were disturbed and possibly the blasting disturbed an aquifer. The outcome was that the bottom of the quarry filled with water. It had to be drained, so the 450mm pipe was installed to allow quarrying to continue. The pipeline was installed S E across MHT land. Cora and Bruce concluded that the pipe descended from North Hill Quarry, via sink hole and N E across Link Common to the pool at the bottom (now gone).  

This raises a number of questions:

1.Is the water a substantial source of unpolluted Malvern water?

2.If so, could it be utilized as a reliable source for bottling?
 3.Could it be utilized for a decorative feature or for other commercial purposes?

 Malvern water bottled - a past era perhaps to be resurrected.
Dr Bruce E Osborne 

UPDATED 13 May 2024     Tower House, Tadworth, Surrey. KT20 5QY.                                


Malvern Spring Waters flow out from the Malvern Hills in England and trigger abundant life in the surrounding lands, a metaphor for the friendship percolating throughout Malverns worldwide. To discover more about the founding of Great Malvern and the establishment of Malverns across the globe click the banner below. 

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