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Pen Pumlumon Fawr
Pumlumon Fawr.jpg
The northern slopes of Pumlumon Fawr
Highest point
Elevation 752 m (2,467 ft)
Prominence 526 m (1,726 ft)
Parent peak Pen y Fan
Listing Marilyn, Hewitt, Council top, Nuttall
Coordinates 52°28′03″N3°46′58″W / 52.4675°N 3.7828°W / 52.4675; -3.7828 Coordinates: 52°28′03″N3°46′58″W / 52.4675°N 3.7828°W / 52.4675; -3.7828
English translationfive tops, five beacons
Language of name Welsh
PronunciationWelsh:  [ˈpɛn pɪmˈlɪmɔn ˈvauɾ]
Location Ceredigion, Wales
Parent range Cambrian Mountains
OS grid SN789869
Topo map OS Landranger 135
Listed summits of Plynlimon
NameGrid refHeightStatus
Pen Pumlumon Arwystli SN815877 741 m Hewitt, Nuttall
Pen Pumlumon Llygad-bychan SN799871 727 m Hewitt, Nuttall
Y Garn SN775851 684 m Hewitt, Nuttall
Pumlumon Fach SN787874 664 m Nuttall
Pumlumon Cwmbiga SN830899 620 mDeleted Nuttall
Carnfachbugeilyn SN826903 622 mUnclassified

Pumlumon (historically anglicised in various ways including Plynlimon, Plinlimon and Plinlimmon) is the highest point of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales (taking a restricted definition of the Cambrian Mountains, excluding Snowdonia, the Berwyns and the Brecon Beacons), and the highest point in Mid Wales. It is a massif that dominates the surrounding countryside and is the highest point (county top) of Ceredigion (both the modern council area, and the historic county, also known as Cardiganshire).


The highest point of the massif itself is Pen Pumlumon Fawr, which is 752 metres (2,467 ft) above ordnance datum. Its other important peaks are Pen Pumlumon Arwystli, Y Garn, Pen Pumlumon Llygad-bychan and Pumlumon Fach.

The longest river in Britain, the River Severn, has its source on the mountain, as do the rivers Wye and Rheidol.

Folklore says there is a sleeping giant in Pumlumon.


Plynlimon is anglicized from the Welsh name Pumlumon, [1] which is thought to mean "five tops" or "five beacons". [1] [2] The first element is Old Welsh pimp, meaning "five" (Modern Welsh pump), [2] and the second is llumon, "beacon", [2] an element whose Brittonic equivalent underlies the Scottish hill-names Lomond Hills and Ben Lomond. [2] [3]


The Pumlumon area is the largest watershed in Wales and is the source of the rivers Wye, Severn and Rheidol. Since 2007 the Wildlife Trusts of Wales have been working to improve the habitat as a "living landscape" project. This watershed area has been affected by loss of biodiversity, erosion of the peaty soils' structure, and accelerated drainage. [4] Some believe the drainage issues have 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 many habitats being either lost or degraded. Over-grazing of sheep has induced soil compaction, which has resulted in increased flooding of the lowland areas. 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 Pumlumon 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. [5] The red kite also frequents the area. Golden Plovers have declined by 92% since 1992. [6]

Severn Way

The Severn Way runs for 210 miles (337 km) along the River Severn between the mouth of the Severn at Bristol, England, and its source at Plynlumon, Wales.

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Cambrian Mountains Series of mountain ranges in Wales

The Cambrian Mountains are a series of mountain ranges in Wales. The term Cambrian Mountains used to apply to most of the upland of Wales. Since the 1950s, its application has become increasingly localised to the geographically homogeneous Mid Wales uplands, known in Welsh as Elenydd, which extend from Pumlumon to Radnor Forest in the east and Mynydd Mallaen to the south. This barren and sparsely populated 'wilderness' has been referred to as the Desert of Wales. The area includes the sources of the River Severn and River Wye and was unsuccessfully proposed as a national park in the 1960s and 1970s. The highest point of the range is Plynlimon, at 2,467 feet (752 m).

Mid Wales is the central region of Wales. The Mid Wales Regional Committee of the Senedd covered the unitary authority areas of Ceredigion and Powys and the area of Gwynedd that had previously been the district of Meirionnydd. A similar definition is used by the BBC. The Wales Spatial Plan defines a region known as "Central Wales" which covers Ceredigion and Powys. If Mid Wales is classed as Ceredigion and Powys, the area would be 6,962 square kilometres (2,688 sq mi).

River Ystwyth River in Wales

The River Ystwyth is a river in Ceredigion, Wales. The length of the main river is 20.5 miles (33.0 km). Its catchment area covers 75 square miles (190 km2). Its source is a number of streams that include the Afon Diliw, located on the west slopes of Plynlimon on the border of Ceredigion and Powys in the Cambrian Mountains. The Ystwyth flows westwards before its confluence with the Afon Rheidol and the estuary at Aberystwyth to drain into Cardigan Bay.

Afon Rheidol

The Afon Rheidol is a river in Ceredigion, Wales, 19 miles (31 km) in length. The source is Plynlimon, the largest watershed in Wales with a catchment area covering 73 square miles (189 km2). Receiving an average annual rainfall of 40 inches (1015 mm) Plynlimon is the source of both the Wye and the Severn.

Black Mountains, Wales Region of hills in Wales and England

The Black Mountains are a group of hills spread across parts of Powys and Monmouthshire in southeast Wales, and extending across the England–Wales border into Herefordshire. They are the easternmost of the four ranges of hills that comprise the Brecon Beacons National Park, and are frequently confused with the westernmost, which is known as the Black Mountain. The Black Mountains may be roughly defined as those hills contained within a triangle defined by the towns of Abergavenny in the southeast, Hay-on-Wye in the north and the village of Llangors in the west. Other gateway towns to the Black Mountains include Talgarth and Crickhowell. The range of hills is well known to walkers and ramblers for the ease of access and views from the many ridge trails, such as that on the Black Hill (Herefordshire) at the eastern edge of the massif.

Hafren Forest

Hafren Forest lies north-west of Llanidloes, an ancient market town in Mid Wales.

Pen Pumlumon Llygad-bychan is a subsidiary summit of Pen Pumlumon Fawr and the third highest summit on the Plynlimon massif, a part of the Cambrian Mountains in the county of Ceredigion, Wales. It is not named on Ordnance Survey walking maps.

Pumlumon Fach

Pumlumon Fach is a top of Pen Pumlumon Fawr on the Plynlimon massif, a part of the Cambrian Mountains in the county of Ceredigion, Wales. It lies on small ridge heading north-west from the summit of Pen Pumlumon Fawr.

Y Garn (Plynlimon)

Y Garn is a subsidiary summit of Pen Pumlumon Fawr and the fourth highest peak on the Plynlimon massif, a part of the Cambrian Mountains in the county of Ceredigion, Wales.

Pen Pumlumon Arwystli is the second highest summit on the Plynlimon massif, a part of the Cambrian Mountains in the county of Ceredigion, Wales.

Cambrian Way Long distance footpath in Wales

The Cambrian Way, initially an unofficial long distance footpath in Wales running from Cardiff to Conwy, was officially recognised in 2019. Primarily a mountain walk, it runs over many of the highest and most scenically beautiful areas of Wales. It was pioneered in the 1960s and 1970s by walker Tony Drake, who later produced a guidebook of the walk.

Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) is a wildlife trust covering the area between the lower Wye and Rhymney rivers which forms the vice county of Monmouthshire in south-east Wales. It is a registered charity and a member of the Wildlife Trusts Partnership.


Elenydd is an upland area of Mid Wales, extending across parts of northern and eastern Ceredigion and Powys between Aberystwyth and Rhayader. Elenydd is also a name given to the medieval commote of Cwmwd Deuddwr which covered approximately the same area.

Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust is one of six wildlife trusts in Wales. It covers the vice-county of Montgomeryshire. and is based in Welshpool.


  1. 1 2 Cleare, John (1990). Fifty Best Hill Walks of Britain. Webb & Bower (Publishers) Limited. p. 117. ISBN   9780863504051 . Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "The place-names of England and Wales" . Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  3. James, Alan. "A Guide to the Place-Name Evidence" (PDF). SPNS - The Brittonic Language in the Old North. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 August 2017. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  4. The Pumlumon Project, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust
  5. Nuttall, John & Anne (1999). The Mountains of England & Wales - Volume 1: Wales (2nd edition ed). Milnthorpe, Cumbria: Cicerone Press. ISBN   1-85284-304-7.
  6. Crisis in the hills 22 June 2012 Birdguides /, accessed 3 July 2021