Natural England - The Malvern Hills (SSSI)

The Malvern Hills (SSSI)

Location and Access Information
Grid reference: SO 766472 to SO 758350

View along the Malvern Hills

The Malvern Hills are situated on the border between Worcestershire and Herefordshire and form a prominent north-south line of hills above the surrounding plain. Located south of Worcester, the Malverns are easily accessible from the town of Great Malvern by the roads that encircle and cross the hills. There are several accessible disused quarries that expose the unique geology of the area. A number of geological trails looking at the landscape and geology of the Malvern area have been produced. These are available from:

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust, Geological Records Centre, University College Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester, WR2 6AJ, UK. Telephone: 01905 855184. Fax: 01905 855132. Email: eht@worc.ac.uk

Details can also be found on the website at: www.earthheritagetrust.orgexternal link

Geological Interest

The dramatic north-south aligned Malvern Hills, which rise out of the surrounding Severn Vale, are largely formed from ancient Precambrian rocks, some of the oldest rocks in England, which date back some 680 million years. The main ridge comprises granites, diorites and volcanic rocks which have been altered over time through heat and pressure. These lie in the core of a complex folded structure which formed during a mountain building period at the end of the Carboniferous, approximately 300 million years ago, when compressive forces thrust the rocks upwards and westwards. Overlying strata were subsequently eroded, leaving old rocks exposed and their hardness and resistance accounts for the prominent ridge today. A small outcrop of Cambrian age (545 - 495 million years ago) rocks occur at the southern end of the Malverns. These comprise quartzites, sandstones and shales which yield fossil brachiopods indicating that they were deposited in a shallow, tropical sea.