From the hilltops to the banks of the River Severn, the lands cared for by Malvern Hills Trust are covered by a variety of different habitats that make an attractive backdrop for people and a home for wildlife.

In the last hundred years grasslands have dominated and photographs of the ‘bald hills’ are easy to come by. Today woodlands cover much more of the area making up about a third of the land cover typically at the foot of the Hills and in ancient woodlands such as Park Wood. Above the trees on the mid slopes, work is underway to increase the mosaic of scrub, grass, rock and bracken known as ‘ffridd’ in Wales. This is very characteristic of the Hills and is full of wildlife such as Stonechat, Adder and Small Copper butterfly.

The hilltops and open commons are open, acid grasslands maintained by livestock grazing. In places these grasslands have an element of heath with Bilberry and Common Heather present. They are rare across the country and are protected by two Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

In 2018 Malvern Common was designated as a SSSI in recognition of the fantastic hay meadow here that are full of orchids in summer.

Other habitats include wildflower meadows, ponds, mire, bog, quarries and orchards. All are carefully managed with a focus on those rarer habitats. All land under the care of the Malvern Hills Trust was surveyed in 2013 to identify the habitats present.

Habitat survey (2013) report (PDF)

Habitat survey (2013) maps (PDF)

Malvern Coppicing and MHT Parkwood altered low res.jpg

Traditional Woodland Management

Traditional woodland management, including coppicing, is an important way to conserve a diverse woodland habitat full of life. 

In Park Wood on the western slopes of the Malvern Hills, we're working in partnership with Malvern Coppicing to continue to manage it in a way to benefit the woodland wildlife. 

Coppicing is a low impact traditional method of managing woodlands that provides a mosaic of diverse and valuable wildlife habitats.

Dormice, spotted flycatcher and woodland flora will all benefit from this intervention.

Removing hazel on rotation within the woodland allows light to reach the woodland floor and encourages wildflowers to flourish.

Read our information sheet on the practice and benefits of coppicing at Park Wood.