For anyone considering walking the Malverns, my suggestion would generally be to avoid summer, particularly summer weekends. Lovely hills they may be, with that long undulating ridge and contrasting views east and west, but you’ll never have them to yourself. Mid-week in winter is probably as close as they ever come to what could be considered quiet. Probably the best way to walk them is by starting at either Ledbury or Malvern Link railway station, walking the full length of the ridge and returning to the starting point by rail.
I’m always a little wary of saying or writing anything which might be of assistance to nest raiders, so I’ll be vague about the location.
From just below the top of a relatively well-walked hill, situated at the end of an extremely well-walked range, we heard, from the far (and much steeper) side of the valley, the unmistakable call of a peregrine. As luck would have it we then caught sight of one of the birds returning to the nest.
Under normal circumstances it would be the sight of the falcon which would hold my undivided attention, but on this occasion I was at least as taken with the siting of the nest, which was a masterclass in strategic positioning. Whether it was by instinct, experience, some strand of genetic code, or just sheer dumb luck, the birds had chosen probably the optimum spot on the entire range of hills: neither visible, or accessible, from above; protected in all directions by a mix of overgrown vegetation and near-vertical rockface; and with a commanding view of the outer fringes of a small town, complete with its flourishing pigeon population. Somehow I doubt if sheer dumb luck played any part in it.