Visitors to Malvern can now take a seat on a piece of the past thanks to the latest stage of the Route to the Hills project.

Five new benches have been installed in the town centre with each one featuring a unique bench-end depicting a story or legend linked to Malvern’s history.

Designs include the goat legs and cloven hooves of Mr Tumnus from the Chronicles of Narnia, a reference to Malvern providing the inspiration for CS Lewis’ much-loved children’s books.

Visitors can also discover Florence Nightingale’s beloved cat and writing implements, the wheel of a Morgan car and the shield and axe of Caractacus, the ancient British chieftain who according to folklore made his last stand at British Camp. The legend inspired Elgar to write his Caractacus Cantata.

The benches can be found in Priory Park, Lyttelton Well, Rose Bank Gardens, outside the Post Office and on Belle Vue Island. A small plaque will be fixed to each one at a later date to explain the story behind each design.

The benches are the latest phase of the Route to the Hills project which will create a heritage trail leading from the railway station, through the town and on to the hills. It offers visitors a new way to explore the town and will showcase Malvern’s fascinating heritage through a series of bespoke plaques, signs and creative installations.

The project is funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is being overseen by a partnership of ten key organisations, led by Malvern Hills District Council.

 David Armitage, from Malvern Hills AONB and Route to the Hills project Board member, said: “The benches not only make an attractive and fun addition to the town centre landscape but also provide another way of bringing Malvern’s history out into the open and sharing it with as many people as possible.”

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