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Coordinates: 52°28′03″N 3°46′58″W / 52.4675°N 3.7828°W / 52.4675; -3.7828
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Pen Pumlumon Fawr
The northern slopes of Pumlumon Fawr
Highest point
Elevation752 m (2,467 ft)
Prominence526 m (1,726 ft)
ListingMarilyn, Hewitt, Council top, Nuttall
Coordinates52°28′03″N 3°46′58″W / 52.4675°N 3.7828°W / 52.4675; -3.7828
English translationfive tops, five beacons
Language of nameWelsh
PronunciationWelsh: [ˈpɛn pɪmˈlɪmɔn ˈvau̯r]
LocationCeredigion, Wales
Parent rangeCambrian Mountains
OS gridSN789869
Topo mapOS Landranger 135
Listed summits of Plynlimon
Name Grid ref Height Status
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 m Deleted Nuttall
Carnfachbugeilyn SN826903 622 m Unclassified
Bryn yr Ŵyn SN840927 502 m Dewey

Plynlimon, or Pumlumon in Welsh (also historically anglicised as 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. Bryn yr Ŵyn, or 'hill of the lambs', is a former Dewey in the foothills.

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 Plynlimon.


Plynlimon is anglicised 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]

Habitat and restoration[edit]

The Plynlimon area 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]

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 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.[5] The red kite also frequents the area. Golden plovers have declined by 92% since 1992.[6]

Severn Way[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b Cleare, John (1990). Fifty Best Hill Walks of Britain. Webb & Bower (Publishers) Limited. p. 117. ISBN 9780863504051. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "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, 'A pioneering, science-based project to revive the ecology and economy of the Welsh uplands', Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust www.montwt.co.uk, accessed 14 April 2022
  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 www.birdguides.com, accessed 3 July 2021

External links[edit]