A PICTURESQUE 109-mile walkway which passes through the Malvern Hills is now officially open to the public.

Winding its way from Bridgnorth in Shropshire in the north to Gloucester in the south, the Geopark Way passes through a non-stop mass of fantastic countryside exploring 700 million years of the earth’s history.

The Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark is one of only seven geoparks in the UK.

It covers 1,250 square miles across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Gloucestershire.

The newly-published Geopark Way Trail Guide takes those interested in the walk almost literally by the hand and takes them the full length of the walk, pointing out the highlights of the geology and landscape along the way.

The Geopark Way was devised by the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust and came about as the result of the co-operation and hard work of many contributing groups up and down the 109-mile length of the walk.

Project manager Natalie Watkins said: “The Geopark Way is the climax of the work we have been doing to open up the Geopark to anyone who wants to join us and share the beauty of the area but also the magnificent geological and landscape highlights that are featured along its paths.

“The trail has been split into manageable, comfortable one-day walks, and the trail guide offers useful information on public transport routes, accommodation, amenities along the way and information on other attractions to take in while you’re in the area.

“At a time when more and more people are looking to spend their holidays and leisure time in the UK, the new Geopark Way provides a fascinating option for people who enjoy walking, want to know more about their own country and who find it attractive being close to a wide range of magnificent natural features, enjoying stunning views and quite possibly meeting up with like-minded people and families.”

The new Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark Way Trail Guide is available now for £9.95.

It can be obtained from tourist information centres within the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark or direct from Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust.