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The Gullet Spring, Tank and Quarry

NGR 76164 37994
Site Number: C66
By Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver (C) 2012
Area 7. Southern Hills Springs and Wells
Malvern Hills, England

Location: in Gullet Wood, between Midsummer Hill and Swinyard Hill
Description: a spring, stream and tank.

Approach the site from the car park (grid ref. 765382) on Castlemorton Common.

In the 1850s naturalist Edwin Lees remarked how the valley known as Gullet glen 'between the Holly-Bush and Swin-Yard hills, is deeply excavated by a loud-voiced brook, brawling among mossy fragments of rock, and so shadowed by entangled thickets as to realise poetical description without exaggeration.' 'between the Holly-Bush...' And he went on with an unexaggerated poem:

'A winding stream flowed through this verdant valley,
And pleasant music its sweet waters made,
As with some drooping flower it here did dally;
Or lower down, amid the pebbles play'd;
Then brawl'd along through circling mossy ways,
Here lit by straggling beams, there dark with hanging sprays.'

He also talks of a water-worn ravine, the 'Gullet dingle or "The Gullet" where the water breaks out of its very neck, [which] forms a little glen of loveliness...' [1]

To find the Gullet Spring there are still pebbles, moss and dark hanging sprays and a little glen of loveliness to negotiate. From the car park walk westward up the track to Gullet Quarry. Walk round to the opposite side of the quarry and scramble uphill through Gullet Wood, to the right of and parallel with the main footpath. Look round for the stream; follow its course uphill for about 200 metres and you will see an iron tank in the stream bed. This is a leftover from the quarrying industry, which finally ceased in 1971.[2] The tank held about 10,000 litres and provided a head of water for the quarrying operations below. The spring is a short distance above the tank.

Gullet Quarry was once one of Malvern's major quarries. After operations ceased it became a water basin. Reflecting the general climatic change, over the last 10 years the water levels in Gullett Quarry have varied considerably. The depth ranges from about 2 metres where previously it was 5 metres. This has implications for people attempting to dive into the water from a great height. The quarry has been described as an awe inspiring place, but over the years it has claimed the lives of several young men who have dived from the rocky ledge above the pool into its deep and very cold water. In May 2006 the Conservators closed off the vehicle access in the hope that it would enhance the locality and deter those who feel like a swim.[3]

On the 12 July 2013, the Malvern Gazette carried a front page headed "JUST DAYS AFTER A TEENAGER'S DEATH, AND STILL THEY'RE SWIMMING AND TOMBSTONING AT GULLET". The story was of the latest death of a 17 year old in the waters of the quarry lake when swimming there the previous Saturday. Four people have died there in the last two decades. Hours after the death people were again swimming in the quarry in spite of warning notices and the advice of a Conservator's Warden on site. Inevitably this has led to calls for draconian action to save lives by draining the quarry or fencing it off like the local prison. The solution is a difficult one and revolves around the invincibility that young people feel and the dramatic landscape that makes the quarry such a popular feature of the Malvern Hills..  

1. The Gullet Quarry
2. The streamway and tank in Gullet Wood.

[1] Lees Pictures of Nature (1856), p.104/5,72.
[2] Malvern Hills Conservators 12 page special commemorating 125 years, Malvern Gazette, 30 Oct. 2009, p.vi.
[3] Malvern Gazette, May 19 2006.

The map alongside is a small section of our more comprehensive map of the area. For the complete map together with a description and history of this site see "Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills" (2012).
Click on Website below or the top banner to go to the DISCOVERY TRAIL INDEX of springs and wells.

Website: Click Here



Celebrated Springs of 


A definitive work that is the culmination of 20 years researching the springs and wells of the Malvern Hills, published by Phillimore. This is the ideal explorers guide enabling the reader to discover the location and often the astounding and long forgotten history of over 130 celebrated springs and wells sites around the Malvern Hills. The book is hard back with dust cover, large quarto size with lavish illustrations and extended text. Celebrated Springs contains about 200 illustrations and well researched text over a similar number of pages, together with seven area maps to guide the explorer to the locations around the Malvern Hills. It also includes details on the long history of bottling water in the Malvern Hills.

Written by Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver, this book is available on-line for £15.00 (delivered UK) - click Malvern Bookshop on the green panel top left. Alternatively send a cheque payable to Cora Weaver with your name and address to 4 Hall Green, Malvern, Worcs. WR14 3QX.

Malvern Hills - arguably Britain's original National Park
A Spring, Spout, Fountain or Holy Well Site
Site with Malvern Water
4 SPLASHES - Well Worth Finding
Access On Foot
Free Parking Nearby
Accessible All Year

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