The historic and architectural character of the Malvern Hills and Wychavon Districts Councils has been shaped over many hundred of years. Prehistoric and Romano-British settlement and ceremonial remains are widely distributed and often extensive in the Severn, Avon and Teme valleys, which also contain important palaeoenvironmental deposits. These are juxtaposed with prehistoric hill forts on the higher ground of the Malvern Hills and Bredon Hill. Some early settlements continued to develop through the medieval and post-medieval periods which saw the development of the main market towns, followed by Malvern during the 19th century. Varying influences and uses include market functions, monastic and Church ownership and the later development of spas.
The villages and hamlets are mostly of medieval or earlier origin. Many of them have surviving medieval assets, such as the parish church, moats, ponds and extensive earthworks. All are set within a landscape that is characterised by diverse and important historic field systems, punctuated by ancient and semi-natural woodlands, commons and historic parklands. Dispersed settlements and farmsteads dominate the west of the area, with nucleated villages and clustered farmsteads characteristic of the south-east. The rivers formed important transportation networks, linking with roads and tracks, 18th and 19th century canals and latterly the railways. Designed landscapes include public parks (e.g. Priory Park in Malvern, or Lido Park in Droitwich Spa) and private parks (e.g. Croome Park). As well as landscape interest, these heritage assets have significant architectural and archaeological interest and often contain other monuments and memorials.
For further information about designated and non-designated heritage assets in the Malvern Hills and Wychavon districts, the following sources may be of interest:
- Worcestershire Historic Environment Record
- Conservation Area Appraisals
- Historic Landscape Characterisation Studies
- My Local Area/ SWDP policy maps