NGR 77513 45927
Site Number: C119
By Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver (C) 2012
Area 1. Malvern Town Centre Springs and Wells
Malvern Hills, England
Location: Belle Vue Island, Great Malvern.
Description: a female figure of stone and bronze set into the Malvern-stone wall; a stone trough with Celtic-style motifs.
This water feature has become an eye-catching town centre attraction. The spout is regularly dressed for the annual well decorating.
The idea of establishing a fountain on Belle Vue Terrace was first suggested by Bruce Osborne's illustration that appeared in Malvern Museum's newsletter of September 1996. Subsequently the proposal was published in the second edition of the Springs Spouts Fountains and Holy Wells of the Malvern Hills (1997) and by the Malvern Gazette.
During the 1990s Malvern Hills District Council extensively refurbished Belle Vue Island and local sculptor Rose Garrard designed the new fountain. A competition was held to name the fountain and it was Christine Bray who suggested the winning entry 'Malvhina'. The new fountain was unveiled on 4 September 1998. The name supposedly originates from a legendary Celtic princess, but is in reality another fanciful Victorian myth. Fanciful also is some of the information on the plaques beside the spout. One suggests that the water comes from aquifers deep underground, but this is not the case. Malvern water begins as rain on the hills. The rain collects in the subsoil and fissures in the rock, then emerges as springs further down the slope. Local schoolchildren in the 1950s were taught that Malvern water travels deep underground from Siberia or Norway. If water had travelled that far it would contain soluble salts and minerals, and have a taste, so it is best to remember that:
'Malvern water, says Dr John Wall Is fam'd for containing just nothing at all.'
In reality the water comes from three springs - in the Rushey Valley, Happy Valley and Ivy Scar Rock. It is then transported in a public collector main that runs across Belle Vue Terrace. From there it is piped through three filters before issuing from the spout as refreshing spring water. The filters consist of a particulate filter to remove any debris, plus UV and activated carbon filters to eliminate any chance of contamination.
Belle Vue Island is an important and eye-catching town centre attraction. Visitors can drink at the fountain and admire its floral livery during the annual May Day well-decorating. They can learn more about the town from the information board; capture the moment on camera standing next to the bronze statue of Sir Edward Elgar, and admire the stunning views over the town and out across the Severn Valley to the Cotswolds. To round off a visit, the terrace is flanked on one side by the Tourist Information Centre and on the other side by Malvern Museum of Local History and the nearby Mount Pleasant Gateway to the Hills offers visitor services for the hills and town.
The Malvhina Fountain is strangely replicated in an artistic work called Beltane: Lady of the Sacred Well. This is by local artist Angie Latham. Beltane is the anglicised name for the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It marked the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Beltane celebrations had largely died out by the mid-20th century, although some of its customs continued and in some places it has been revived as a cultural event. In Malvern it is now the time of Well Decorating celebrations. Since the late 20th century, Celtic neo-pagans and Wiccans have observed Beltane or its derivations as a religious holiday.
Click the image right for more details about the artist and her outstanding work. (image copyright Angie Latham)
1. Malvhina by Wendy Harding.
2. The original idea for a fountain on Belle Vue Terrace by Bruce Osborne, published in Malvern Museum's Newseum September 1996 and the Malvern Gazette the following April.
3. Lady of the Sacred Well.
 Malvern Gazette 11 April 1997.
 Malvern Gazette 21 August 1998.
The map alongside is a small section of our more comprehensive map of the area. For the complete map together with a description and history of this site see "Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills" (2012).
Click on Website below or the top banner to go to the DISCOVERY TRAIL INDEX of springs and wells.
Website: Click HereSUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
Celebrated Springs of
THE MALVERN HILLS
A definitive work that is the culmination of 20 years researching the springs and wells of the Malvern Hills, published by Phillimore. This is the ideal explorers guide enabling the reader to discover the location and often the astounding and long forgotten history of over 130 celebrated springs and wells sites around the Malvern Hills. The book is hard back with dust cover, large quarto size with lavish illustrations and extended text. Celebrated Springs contains about 200 illustrations and well researched text over a similar number of pages, together with seven area maps to guide the explorer to the locations around the Malvern Hills. It also includes details on the long history of bottling water in the Malvern Hills.
Written by Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver, this book is available on-line for £15.00 (delivered UK) - click Malvern Bookshop on the green panel top left. Alternatively send a cheque payable to Cora Weaver with your name and address to 4 Hall Green, Malvern, Worcs. WR14 3QX.
1) TOPOGRAPHICAL LOCATION:
Malvern Hills - arguably Britain's original National Park
Built Up Location
3) INFORMATION CATEGORY:
A Spring, Spout, Fountain or Holy Well Site
4) MALVERN SPRING OR WELL SITE DETAILS:
Site with Malvern Water
5 SPLASHES - Prime 'Must See' Site
5) GENERAL VISITOR INFORMATION:
Access By Road
Access On Foot
Free Public Access
Accessible All Year
Popular Water Collection Point