A heritage trail to showcase and preserve Malvern’s rich historic and cultural past has been officially launched.
The completion of the Great Malvern: Route to the Hills was celebrated at an event at Malvern Theatres on Thursday (13 September) attended by dignitaries and those involved in delivering the project.
The audience was treated to a special video tribute exploring parts of the trail as well as the chance to experience the route, which stretches from Great Malvern Railway Station, through the town and on to the hills. It includes a series of large information boards which highlight a particular part of Malvern’s heritage, as well as decorative benches representing various characters connected with Malvern, such as Florence Nightingale and CS Lewis. Building plaques and other street artwork have also been installed and a new entranceway to Priory Park created inspired by the hills.
The project, funded by a £480,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, also provided a number of community activities and volunteering opportunities. Activities delivered over the last three years include room escapes, craft sessions, exhibitions and guided walks. Volunteers have also undertaken research, taken photographs, led workshops and more with people aged from nine months to 93-years-old getting involved. Various guides have also been created to help people of all ages explore and connect with the town’s past.
Katherine Hann, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, told the audience the project had appealed to them because it was different to traditional applications and she praised the community involvement and the lasting legacy the route had created.
The Route to the Hills project has been led by Malvern Hills District Council and nine other organisations.
Cllr David Watkins, Chair of the Route to the Hills Project Board, said: “This project has been eight years in the making and its success is down to the creativity, enthusiasm and determination of all those involved.
“The stunning hillside setting Great Malvern enjoys will always be the star of our story but for too long it was the only story we had to tell. Route to the Hills has given us a chance to shine a light on the splendour of our well-preserved buildings and to reveal something of the lives of the people of Malvern who lived, worked and died here.
“This is our town, this is our heritage, this is our story and we look forward to sharing it with visitors for generations to come.”