The Malvern Hills are a long, narrow ridge of hills rising majestically from the plain in the English counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and a small area of northern Gloucestershire, presenting a skyline unique in Britain.
Surprisingly, this is the first ever book to cover all aspects of the natural history of the Malverns and will appeal to both residents and visitors interested in learning more about this fascinating area. With a Foreword by writer and broadcaster, Brett Westwood, all of the sections are written by local experts and most of the stunning photographs supplied by local photographers. All of these contributions have been voluntary and the funders of the book, the Malvern Hills Trust and the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, have agreed that all profits will be used for wildlife conservation efforts on the hills and commons. The Malvern Hills, composed of some of the oldest rocks in England, stretch 14 km north to south, standing proud above the surrounding landscape. One of the defining features of the area is the surprising number of habitats, representing a combination of hills, commons, woods and urban areas.
A long history of protection and stewardship has ensured these hills and commons have retained their heritage, beauty and unspoilt mosaic of habitats. As a result, many special species are to be found. Highlights include: breeding Redstart and Pied Flycatcher, migrating Snow Bunting and Ring Ouzel, over 30 butterfly species and over 1,000 species of moths. It is home to many rare plants including Spring Cinquefoil and Goblin Gold moss. The hills and commons are rich in an array of colourful waxcap fungi, of which Scarlet, Crimson, Pink, Butter and Orange Waxcaps are the most notable. Mammals are also well represented with the Hazel Dormouse, and particularly bats,with Lesser Horseshoe and Barbastelle the most important species.
"[...] This is the second in a projected series of detailed guides to some of Britain’s best wildlife localities [...] The chapters vary in length, and most of them wade through the plant, animal and fungal world in great detail, starting with ‘the flora’ and ending with birds and mammals [...] All the notable woodlice, or grasshoppers, or waxcap fungi that live here are documented, along with their high-quality colour images. The approach risks losing the big picture amid all the microscopic detail – for this is a tapestry examined stitch by stitch – but the point of this series is to focus on wildlife up close, and especially species likely to be missed unless looked for.[...]"
– Peter Marren, British Wildlife 30(1), October 2018