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Cardiganshire, Montgomeryshire
Pumlumon Fawr.jpg
The northern slopes of Pumlumon Fawr
Range: Cambrian Mountains
Summit: 2,467 feet SN789869
52°28’3"N, 3°46’58"W

Plynlimon is a mountain of several peaks which spreads over the boundary of Cardiganshire and Montgomeryshire. Plynlimon the highest point of the Cambrian Mountains, and the highest point in Mid Wales. It is a massif that dominates the countryside of northern Cardiganshire and the borders of Montgomeryshire. Its highest point is Pen Pumlumon Fawr, standing at 2,467 feet.

The name of the massif is Anglicized from the Welsh Pumlumon, meaning "five peaks".

The greatest peaks of Plynlimon are:

  • Pen Pumlumon Fawr, the central peak (Cardiganshire); 2,467 feet.
  • Pen Pumlumon Arwystli (on the border of the two shires); 2,431 feet.
  • Y Garn, the south-westernmost peak (Cardiganshire); 2,244 feet
  • Pen Pumlumon Llygad-bychan, (on the border of the two shires); 2,375 feet
  • Pumlumon Fach, just south of Pen Pumlumon Fawr; 2,192 feet.

Source of rivers

The slopes of Plynlimon are the source of several rivers, amongst them two of the greatest in the land.

The River Severn, Britain's longest river, rises to the north of Pen Pumlumon Arwystli just 13 miles east of Cardigan Bay but 220 miles before it becomes the sea, flowing eastwards, its stream running through the Hafren Forest on the mountain.

The River Wye rises just a little to the south, at the county boundary, east of Pumlumon Fawr.

The River Rheidol, which tumbles over the spectacular scenery of Cardiganshire and in a calmer character enters the sea at Aberystwyth, rises here too, on the other side of the watershed.


The Wildlife Trusts of Wales are working together to improve the habitat as years of drainage have resulted in loss of biodiversity, erosion of the peaty soils structure, and accelerated drainage. Some believe this has contributed significantly to flooding in areas some distance downstream, though this cannot be clearly proved. Like most of the uplands across Wales, intensive land use activities have resulted in a significant loss of biodiversity, with many of the habitats being either lost or degraded to poor condition. Over-grazing of sheep has induced soil compaction, which has resulted in increased flooding of the lowland areas. The Plynlimon area is the largest watershed in Wales and is the source of the rivers Wye, Severn and Rheidol.

The principal land cover within the project area is dominated by a complex mosaic of locally, nationally and internationally important habitats and species, such as dry and wet dwarf-shrub heathland, blanket bog, unimproved acid grassland and a number of oligotrophic lakes. Agriculturally improved grassland, broadleaved woodlands and forestry plantation are also characteristic features of the area.

The Plynlimon area is also important for breeding, wintering and feeding bird fauna particularly Hen Harrier, Merlin, Short-eared owl and Red and Black grouse, and a number of Red Data Book and UK BAP invertebrates.[1]


Folklore says there is a sleeping giant in Plynlimon.

Severn Way

The Severn Way, a long-distance footpath, runs for 210 miles along the River Severn between the mouth of the Severn at Bristol and its source on Plynlimon.


  1. Nuttall, John & Anne (1999). The Mountains of England & Wales - Volume 1: Wales (2nd edition ed.). Milnthorpe: Cicerone. ISBN 1-85284-304-7.

Outside links