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May Hill

Picnic Sites and Viewpoints in or near Newent


May Hill is the most familiar landmark for many miles around, with its near circular mound and the crowning clump of trees, and at 275 metres (969 feet) it is the highest point around. On a clear day you can see up to 12 other counties. May Hill has a circular trench (right), 100 metres in diameter, and is said to be an old earthwork from the Iron Age. Within this area is a mound that is said to be a round barrow.

The hill was enclosed by an act of parliament in 1873 and passed into the care of the National Trust in 1935.

The trees atop May Hill date back to ancient times and have been recorded several times throughout history. A local story says that Prince Rupert and some of his Cavaliers took shelter from the trees for a short time during the siege of Gloucestershire in 1643. A clergyman writing 60 years prior to the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887 writes: "May Hill, a conspicuous round-topped hill distinguished by a plantation on the summit". A painting from 1780, around the same time as the clergyman, also shows a clump of trees present on the summit. May Hill was often used as a beacon to ships navigating the River Severn and, consequently, the trees were used for these beacons. Eventually, money was raised to plant new trees to accompany the dwindling numbers on the summit to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. It has been said that from some angles the trees look like a ploughman and his team. John Masefield describes it in his poem "The Everlasting Mercy".


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Situated just off the A40 Gloucester to Ross on Wye road in village of Longhope.

  • Newent
  • Ross-on-Wye