May Hill is a distinctive landmark in North Gloucestershire, one I can almost see from home.
It’s summit is about 11 miles away as the crow flies, however the ride route is almost double.
A ride through quiet lanes, along gravel paths rounded out with the steep climb to the top.
Once on the summit the view is a 360 panoramic vista. To the west the Black Mountains are clearly visible, along with other distinctive mountain silhouettes – Sugarloaf & Skirrid are the most easily recognised.
To the east you can see the ribbon that is the River Severn as it meanders up the vale towards Gloucester. On this particular morning it was glistening in the morning sunshine, the big bend at Arlingham is clearly visible.
To the North the Malverns are clearly in view with their rugged profile rising up from the surrounding rolling landscape.
Further northwards Breedon Hill rises like a loaf of bread, another very distinctive profile, another hilltop destination.
To the south the two Severn bridges are visible together with Cotswold escarpment as it winds southward.
This morning’s ride was an early one, out of the door at 7.30. The lanes were quiet, early morning wildlife was in abundance, rabbits, squirrels and disorientated pheasants.
The hedgerows were full of colour, wild flowers everywhere, still a chill in the air- gloves were the order of the day.
Once on the lower slopes of May Hill I gradually climbed in a clockwise direction to a point on the westside, the track to the top is joined.
It’s all rideable, bluebells in abundance, silver birches coming into leaf and wild horses grazing in the shade of the trees.
The summit was reached, I couldn’t see home! It never disappoints, particularly on a sunny blue sky morning, the air was clear, perfect.
Words and pictures – Pete Gosnell