I am a qualified Blue Badge Tour Guide for Gloucestershire, the Cotswolds, Forest of Dean and Wye Valley, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, The Malvern Hills, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwick, Oxford, Windsor, Bath.
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Exploring May Hill, Gloucestershire
The top knot of trees on top of May Hill
May Hill is such a distinctive landmark for miles around but the nearer you get to it the less of the outline you see. I say that, because I was showing a new radio presenter around the Cotswolds. She had moved to the Forest of Dean six months earlier and had taken many walks over May Hill and interviewed local people there, but when we were driving around the Cotswolds I pointed out May Hill and her surprise at its distinctiveness made me realise that it is best viewed from a long way away and once seen, never forgotten.
If you want to climb May Hill, it isn't easy to find. To get there turn right off the A40 Gloucester to Ross-on-Wye Road towards Clifford Mense passing the Glasshouse on the way. Turn left by the Yew Tree Pub and drive half way up the hill and there is a small car park on the right.
Marcle Ridge with transmitter mast
in the middle of the picture
From the car park you get glorious views across the Herefordshire countryside. You can see the Ridge Hill transmitter at Marcle Ridge straight ahead. Then over to the left, the Welsh borders and the Black Mountains. On a clear day you can see a conical hill called The Sugar Loaf which is in the Brecon Beacons near to the town of Abergavenny. You can also see a promontory called Hay Bluff, a great wedge at the northern end of the Welsh Mountains which is close to Hay on Wye. Way over to the right are the Malvern Hills which act as the boundary between Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
The western side of the Malvern Hills
The lower slopes of May Hill are wooded, then as you get nearer the summit there's grassland and gorse bushes. A herd of ponies graze the hill which stops the vegetation taking over. There is the distinctive clump of trees at the summit and information as to when and why the trees were planted there. The taller trees were planted in 1887 to mark the Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, the younger trees were planted in 1977 to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee.
The view from the other side of the hill is across the Severn Plain with the Cotswold escarpment in the distance. The lower reaches of the River Severn cuts through the middle of the view with the great horse shoe bend around Arlingham and it takes its very zig zag route towards the bridges which are sadly out of sight. You can probably just see the wetlands at Slimbridge.
Hello, I am Anne Bartlett, I am the owner of Tour & Explore and I enjoy blogging about my glorious home county of Gloucestershire.
I am a qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guide, teacher and lecturer and I take private groups on guided coach tours around the region and share my knowledge and stories with them. My interest in the area has lead to invitations to broadcast on television and radio. You may even catch me telling a story live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Saturday Breakfast show.
This area is beautiful and has a wonderful history and heritage. I want the groups that I take out and about to enjoy it, have a great holiday and experience the best possible sightseeing tours, and return home having had a truely memorable time.