Collecting water from around the Malvern Hills is very popular and attracts people from the surrounding area, some of whom travel from as far away as Wales, Birmingham and Bristol. The reason people go to such great lengths is that the water here is very pure. Unlike tap water, it has not been artificially filtered, has no additives and unlike other natural waters, it contains very little dissolved minerals.
The water from various spring sources is tested from time to time and generally seems to be very high quality, although being spring water it is not guaranteed to be sterile. Occasionally the bacteria count gets high enough to warrant concern and A4 paper warning notices are then erected by the relevant spout. Unfortunately these paper signs seem to quickly disappear so to be safe it is recommended that all water collected is boiled before being drunk, as advised where you see a Malvern Hills District Council plastic warning sign.
Malvern Hills District council warning sign
Where does the water come from?
There are several theories about the origin of Malvern water – some people believe that it fell as rain in Scandinavia or even the Urals and travelled deep underground to spring up under the Malvern Hills. Unfortunately the truth is not so fantastic – The Malvern spring water fell as rain on the Malverns. The Malvern Hills consist of very hard rocks which have been shattered in their 600 million years of existence to form a massive network of fractures which can hold a huge amount of water by acting like a giant sponge. The rainfall on the Malvern Hills is thought to be sufficient to account for all the water that runs out of the springs. Because of the hardness of the rock, very few minerals can dissolve into the water. The flow of water from some of the springs does reflect local heavy rainfall six to eight weeks later and some springs dry up to a trickle after a dry spell.
Where to collect Malvern Water
The most popular source of water for collectors is a Hayslad on the West Malvern Road. The flow here is very good all year round and the water here is always icy cold. There is reasonable parking on the other side of the road and plenty of space for organising bottles or whatever you choose to collect in. The only draw back with this site is that sometimes there are long queues, as some people want to collect a lot of water.
Another site that is growing in popularity is Malvhina on Belle Vue Island, Great Malvern, which is supplied from three springs above the town. As a new drinking source installed in 1998, under present legislation the water quality has to be guaranteed so the supply is filtered and sterilised. If you are at all concerned about the safety of drinking the spring water, this is probably your safest option. Unfortunately parking is not easy close by, so be prepared to carry your collected water to the car parks.
This popular source for water collectors and close to easy parking is Evendine spring on Evendine Lane, just off Jubilee Drive, not far from British Camp. Many connoisseurs say the water here has the most pleasant taste of all the springs.
St. Anne’s well
At St Anne’s Well the main spring flows into a fine marble shell-shaped basin from a dolphins head spout in the well room beside the cafe. The water is meant to overflow the basin and run down onto the floor but many well-meaning visitors horrified at the sight of “plug left in – tap left running” dive into the water and wrench out the plug. This basin is locked up when the cafe is closed although you can see it through the railings. Although well worth the effort, this site is a fair uphill walk from town so people tend to collect just enough to sustain them for their walk on up to the Beacon.
Holy Well is steeped in history and has been a famous healing well since the 17th century and was popular at the height of the Water Cure in Victorian times. The Holy Well building can be found by taking a winding drive up Holywell Road above and beyond the Cottage in the Wood. The building is unmistakable when you reach the highest point in the road. Inside is a basin into which water flows. Although the well room and spout are currently in a poor state of repair we hope to help restore them in the next 2 years.
There is a beautiful spot on the hills at the top of Westminster Bank in West Malvern (roughly opposite the church), where a trickle of water flows continually into an old stone trough. Water comes from several springs within the railed off area behind the spout which used to supply most of the houses and schools below. Very patient people do collect water from here.
Near the bottom of the Old Wyche Road is the Lower Wyche Spout, a large curved brick structure from which there is still a small trickle of water, now difficult to collect from. The MSA plan to restore this spout in the next 12 months
Where NOT to collect Malvern Water
Earl Beauchamp fountain
There are several sources where the bacteria counts are consistently high and should therefore be avoided or at least used with great caution. The first is Lord Sandys’ Spout in Spring lane. Although water collecting here is difficult and not recommended, people do still attempt it. The second source is Earl Beauchamp’s Spout in Cowleigh Road (pictured here), which although a prolific flow, is regularly polluted. Also the new Waitrose spout, now named Rose Gully in Back Lane, is also unfortunately very contaminated with ecoli bacteria and so should not be drunk at all
People are occasionally seen collecting water from the newly restored Temperance Fountain on the Worcester Road near the railway bridge. Although the water here is of excellent quality it is, unfortunately, not spring water. When it was recently restored it was connected up to the public water supply.