Acts of Parliament

The Malvern Hills Conservators are governed by five Acts of Parliament 1884 - 1995.

The Malvern Hills Conservators are a body corporate constituted by and deriving their powers from the Malvern Hills Acts. The first Act was passed in 1884 and the most recent in 1995. From the beginning the aim has been to preserve the characteristic landscape of the area and to protect it from encroachments.

The 5 Acts of Parliament:

The Malvern Hills Act 1884

This Act was passed following the concern of a number of local people at the loss of common land caused by major landowners fencing in large areas and gradual encroachment by smaller landowners. The Act provided for the appointment of local people to be the guardians of the Malvern Hills, to be known as the 'Malvern Hills Conservators' and placed approximately 500 acres of land (202 hectares) under their jurisdiction. The Conservators were charged with the following duties, to:

  • Preserve the natural aspect of the land
  • Preserve trees, bushes and turf
  • Preserve the Hills as an open space for the enjoyment of the public
  • Prevent building on the land, enclosure and encroachment
  • Protect commoners' rights.
  • To achieve these objectives they were given powers to:
  • Make byelaws
  • Raise a precept on local parishes to fund management work (1/2d. in the £1) to cover their expenses
  • Acquire other land within a 9 mile radius of Gt. Malvern Priory, provided the Conservators felt it should be preserved as part of, or in connection with the range of the Malvern Hills, or for the purpose of maintaining common rights.
  • Appoint staff to carry out the work.

Read Full Act 1884>>

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The Malvern Hills Act 1909

The previous Act of 1884 had ensured protection of the area. As more land came under the Conservators' management, increased powers were required to manage it effectively and to raise more funds to pay for the work.
This Act gave the Conservators further powers to:

  • Increase the precept to 1d. in the £1.
  • Alter parish representation because of local authority boundary changes
  • To appoint Conservators to represent the County Councils of Herefordshire and Worcestershire and to provide for the Councils to contribute to the funds of the Conservators, provided the money was not obtained by taxing those areas that already paid the Conservators' precept.
  • Replant trees and shrubs where necessary to preserve the natural aspect and the rights of commoners by providing an ongoing supply of wood.
  • Provide seats and shelters

Read Full Act 1909>>

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The Malvern Hills Act 1924

Quarrying had become a major problem because it was threatening the ridge of the Hills in several places. The reason why there was so much quarrying at that time was that the granite rock was hard but could be easily fragmented and crushed, making it ideal for road building.
This was an extremely important Act for the Hills, because it finally gave the Conservators the following further powers to:

  • Prevent further land use for quarrying by the compulsory purchase of land over the following five years
  • Make Byelaws to restrict and regulate existing quarrying operations.
  • Reconstitute the representation on the Board in view of the increased land-holding
  • Hold elections every three years under the same electoral rules used for the election of district councillors.
  • Increase the precept to a sum not exceeding 3d. in the £1.

Read Full Act 1924>>

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The Malvern Hills Act 1930

This Act was needed because of the increased land area and the greater number of visitors. It gave powers to:

  • Construct public conveniences, with the consent of the Secretary of State.
  • Create parking areas and impose car parking charges.
  • Licence up to three refreshment stalls.
  • Make paths and ways.
  • Make Byelaws for visitor management.
  • Fence off dangerous place, such as quarries.
  • Allow exhibitions, circuses and fairs on Malvern Link Common. (The Conveyance to the Conservators of the wastes of the Manor of Malvern in 1925 included a condition that this tradition should continue).
  • Sell or exchange land with the consent of the Secretary of State. This is strictly limited to adjusting, defining and improving boundaries.
  • Dispose of anomalous areas which came to the Board with the wastes of Malvern Manor, including Belle Vue Island, Edith Walk and Back Lane (again with the consent of the Secretary of State).
  • Erect sheds for tools and materials.
  • Grant easements over or under the land for the laying of drains.

Read Full Act 1930>>

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The Malvern Hills Act 1995

As it had been over sixty years since the last Act, in the early 1990s the Conservators felt that another Act was needed to allow them to manage the land in the 21st Century. This Act has given them increased powers to:

  • Purchase or lease buildings off their land and refurbish them for use as offices, information centres and residential accommodation for employees (in the interests of the security of the building). Following this Act the Conservators' office at Manor House was purchased.
  • Dispose of land by sale, exchange or letting. This section of the Act allows the Conservators to buy parcels of land, retain those areas which fall into the criteria for protection under the Acts and dispose of the remainder. The decision has to be made within two years of acquisition and this provision cannot apply to common land or village green.
  • Increase the number of refreshment stalls permitted on their land from three to six.
  • Set aside money, up to 5% out of their annual income from their general fund, to create a fund to purchase further land.
  • Grant easements, both underground for services and over-ground for vehicular access to properties. In considering applications the Conservators must have regard to the effect the work would have on the natural aspect of the Malvern Hills.
  • Impose fines under the Byelaws based on Level 2 on the standard scale (at present £500.00 maximum).
  • Restrict public access to their land, in consultation with other bodies, for a reasonable period to protect ancient monuments, sites of natural beauty, trees and flora and fauna and in the interests of public safety.
  • Regulate horse riding. Areas, apart from public bridleways can be closed to horses to permit the land to recover from excessive use. New places for exercising horses can also be designated and a reasonable charge made for these facilities.
  • Remove placards, abandoned machinery and vehicles and to dispose of them after a specified period.
  • Permit temporary lavatories for special events if the Conservators believe that the number of people attending an event warrants this.

Read Full Act 1995>>

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Although over the years the further Acts have extended the powers of the Conservators to manage the land effectively in response to social change and the increased landholding, their duties as set out in the 1884 Act remain the same.

This web-page has been produced to give a layman's guide to the Acts of Parliament and should not be used as a substitute for the Acts.

Maps of the Conservators' land-holding and further publications about the Conservators and their work, including copies of the Acts, are available from the Conservators' Office,

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