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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

A Six Raven Walk on the Malverns: Wyche to Wynds Point

Or possibly a Four and then Two Of Them Again Raven Walk ... ? Anyhow, it doesn't really matter because we were up on the ridge south of Upper Wyche (whence we had headed north on our previous Malverns walk), ignoring the instructions I'd printed off that suggest you do the lower woodland section of the circular route first, in favour of seeing the sunrise ...
... if, that is, there was going to be one through all the cloud.  

east over Worcestershire

north to Worcestershire Beacon

Oh but in all directions, it was beautiful. 

south to Pinnacle Hill and beyond

west over Herefordshire to Wales

We'd crawled out of bed at 4am, pausing only for a cup of tea ... 

... so breakfast should have been a priority but we just walked for a time, beguiled by the blue, autumnal light. 

Perseverance Hill and Jubilee Hill were already behind us when we stopped on Pinnacle Hill, at the site of what is commonly described as two possible round barrows.

A drooling Ted, who'd spotted a young rabbit up ahead, had to make do with broken off bits of homemade quiche. 

Sounds were magnified in the stillness. The ratchet of a cockerel, the mewling and puking of a buzzard, ravens and crows, the bleating of nearby sheep, a church clock somewhere below us striking seven ... 
... and the yelp of a border collie who's just nuzzled an electrified fence, poor lad.
We were off again. Up ahead, British Camp - somewhere I'm itching to explore - had come into view, although we'd only get tantalising glimpses of it on this visit. 

Looking back the way we came

Over Black Hill

At Wynds Point there was a view of somewhere I did plan to visit later that day, namely Little Malvern Priory, which was looking rather like a Tuscan campanile in the valley below. 

We walked on as far as the road that cuts through the hills at this point, and then retraced our steps. 

Past Wynds Point we took the path that leads down through the woods on the eastern side of the ridge, and soon reached Berington Quarry where we sat on the base of the winding drum and drank what passed for tea in our thermos.
What looked like a family group of four ravens flew overhead - one parent and possibly two youngsters, followed a little later by another adult, the two larger birds conversing with each other across the expanse of excavations.

From then it was 'simply' a matter of finding our way by reversing the instructions given on my downloaded walk. 

'You slaaaaag - '

This involved much use of the word 'counter-intuitive' by the member of the party who wasn't a dog and wasn't in charge of the map. 

Quick, the ring-wraiths are coming!

Two (more) ravens treated us to a fly-past.

Our next stopping point was Holy Well, the most important spring of many in the Malverns. It is the site, so they say, of remarkable historic cures and the present-day production of Holywell Malvern Spring Water. 

A tiny visitor's cubicle told the story of how stalwart locals won the right to use the word Malvern on their bottles as part of their trade name, after Coca-Cola, which closed down production of Malvern Water and tried to sell the site for development into luxury flats, refused permission. 

Onward. The route through the woods mentioned 'bench' and later 'green bench'. Actually, there were lots of benches and most of them were painted green. 

So I checked we were on the right path by turning around to see the waymarks that were behind us ... 

where the path has just split into three

where the path has already passed to the side of a prominent rocky outcrop

... and we found ourselves back where we started, with all the rest of the day ahead. 

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