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Welsh Mountains in a Nutshell




Thanks to "The History of Wales" faebook page here is a great description of Welsh Mountains and National Parks.

To follow History of Wales follow this link.


Wales has 138 Mountains (a landform rising over 2000ft (610m) above sea level) carved out during the Ice Age, over 10,000 years ago. These mountains form ranges of those located close to each other with the same geological origins, size and age. Over the years they have been our defence and our inspiration.

The Mountain Ranges of Wales;

The national park area of Snowdonia or in Welsh Eryri is thought either to derive its name from eryr (eagle), thus 'the land of eagles', or from the Latin oriri (to rise). It contains the following ranges.

The Snowdon Massif occupies the area between Beddgelert, Pen-y-Pass and Llanberis. As well as Snowdon (1,085 m), the highest mountain in Wales, the range also includes, Crib Goch (923 m), Y Lliwedd (898 m) and Garnedd Ugain (1,065 m) the second highest peak in Wales.

The Carneddau range of mountains lies to the west of the River Conwy, overlooking Conwy to the north east Bangor and Bethesda to the north West and Betws y Coed to the south and include the largest continuous area of high land in Wales, with seven peaks over 3,000 ft. The highest peak is Carnedd Llywelyn (1064 m) , which also has the highest lake in Wales, Llyn Llyffant (815m above sea level).

The Glyderau range of mountains stretch from the village of Mynydd Llandygai to Capel Curig and include five summits over 3000 feet. The highest peak is Glyder Fawr (1,000.8 m).

The Moel Hebog range of mountains is situated in the north-west of Snowdonia, overlooking Nantile to the north-west, Beddgelert to the east and Tremadog to the south. It takes its name from its highest peak Moel Hebog (783 m) near Beddgelert. It also includes the popular 8 miles long Nantlle Ridge.

The Moelwynion Range surrounds the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog and occupy the area between Betws y Coed and Capel Curig to the north, Beddgelert to the west and Ffestiniog to the south. The highest peak in the range is Moel Siabod (872m).

The Arenig range of mountains is a series of isolated peaks separated by extensive areas of rolling moorland. They are situated west of Bala, east of Blaenau Ffestiniog and north east of Dolgellau, The highest peak in the range is Arenig Fawr (854 m). Y Migneint is a 200 km² area of blanket bog south of Penmachno, which has been untouched for centuries.

The Arans are a series of peaks that form a ten-mile ridge enclosed by Dinas Mawddwy to the south, Llanymawddwy to the south-east, Llanuwchllyn on the shores of Bala Lake to the north, and Rhydymain to the west. The highest peak is Aran Fawddwy (905 m).

The Rhinogydd are among the UK's oldest rock formations. Also known as the Rhinogs, the range is regarded as being one of Wales' most difficult walking terrains and paths are few and far between. It is located east of Harlech running roughly parallel to the coast between the estuaries of the rivers Glaslyn and Mawddach. The highest peak in the range is Y Llethr (756 m).

Situated south of Dolgellau and north of Corris, Cader Idris is the most southerly of Snowdonia's mountain ranges. The highest peak is Cader Idris (893 m)

The Brecon Beacons National Park area in central Wales stretches from Pontypool in the south-east to Hay-on-Wye in the northeast to Llandeilo in the west. It has four mountain ranges;

The Brecon Beacons, which lie south of Brecon. They include Pen y Fan (886m), the highest mountain in South Wales and Llyn Cwm Llwch, the best preserved glacial lake in South Wales.

The Black Mountains, to the east on the border with England. They cover the area between the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, Hay-on-Wye, Abergavenny and Llangorse. Their highest point is the Waun Fach plateau (811m).

The Black Mountain Range, to the west, north of Swansea and on the border between Carmarthenshire and Powys. They include Fan Brycheiniog (802m) and the glacial lakes of Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr.

Fforest Fawr, a series of isolated hills known as the ‘Fans’ which lie between the Black Mountain in the west and the A470 Brecon to Merthyr Tydfil road in the east. Fan Fawr the highest point at 734m. Its name derives from it being a royal forest or hunting ground during the Middle Ages.

The Cambrian Mountains are a group of mountain ranges in the barren and sparsely populated Mid Wales uplands, sometimes referred to as the ‘Green Desert of Wales’. They stretch from the Teifi valley and the towns of Lampeter and Tregaron in the west to the Wye and Irfon valleys, and the towns of Rhayader and Llanwrtyd in the east.

Pumlumon is the northern range of the Cambrian mountains situated in north Ceredigion running east from Aberystwyth to Llanidloes and north to Machynlleth. Its highest peak is Pumlumon Fawr (752m) and also includes Arwystli(741m), Llygad-Bychan (724m), Y Garn (684m), Cwmbiga (622m) and Pumlumon Fach (657m). Pumlumon is the source of the rivers Wye, Severn and Rheidol. The range also contains the Nant-y-Moch Reservoir.

Elenydd is the central, the largest and most the remote of the Cambrian Mountains ranges. It is situated in the Upper Tywi Valley and covers roughly the area between Tregaron, Elan Valley and Llanwrtyd Wells. Its highest peak is Drygarn Fawr (645m), located north of the Abergwesyn Valley and encompasses the reservoirs of Elan Valley and Llyn Brianne.

Mynydd Mallaen is an expansive plateau north-west of Llandovery in northeast Carmarthenshire Its highest point is Crugiau Merched (462m).

The Radnor Forest (Fforest Faesyfed) is the name given to the central high points between Llandrindod and Presteigne in mid-east Wales that overlook the Welsh-English border. The name 'Forest' refers to it being an unenclosed area used for hunting in medieval times. Its main peak is Great Rhos (660m) situated on the western side of the range.

The Clwydian Range in north east Wales lies between Ruthin to the west and Mold to the east and runs for approximately 20 miles from Prestatyn in the north to Llandegla in the south. The highest point is Moel Famau (554 mt)

The Berwyn range is an isolated, unspoilt moorland area in the northeast of Wales, roughly bounded by Llangollen in the northeast, Corwen in the north-west, Bala in the south-west, and Oswestry in the south-east. Its main summits are Cadair Berwyn (830 m), Moel Sych and Cadair Bronwen.

Although not officially classified as mountains the Preseli Hills in North Pembrokeshire are known locally and historically as the Preseli Mountains. They stretch from Dinas Cross, north of Fishguard to Frenni Fach, near Crymych. The principal peak is Foel Cwmcerwyn (536 mt).

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