Wales is full of valleys, ridgeways and hills but only has 188 official mountains. To be classed as a mountain the rise needs to be at least 2,000ft (609.6m) in height and have a prominence above 15m. This discounts a lot of famous and well-walked Welsh peaks in South Wales, such as the Sugarloaf (596m), Blorenge (561m) and Garth hill above Cardiff (307m).
A lot of these non-mountains are referred to as mountains – even the Garth at 307m. This is probably because these hills look like mountains, they just fail to reach the dizzy heights of 609.6m because they are much closer to sea level than those official mountains starting in the Brecon Beacons. Often the walks are just as tough for these lesser hills, and often the ascent can be greater because your starting point is much lower. For example, you can walk official mountains in the Brecon Beacons with just 550ft of ascent, because the car park is already high up.
In order to complement my challenge to walk all 188 official mountains in Wales, I’m also going to chart the non-mountains I have walked to show that when you live in South Wales you have amazing walks from your house and that you’re never far away from panoramic views.
I’ll order these hills and ridgeways by height, and I’ll try to start producing some walking guides using Outdooractive as I have walked huge swathes of South Wales, largely without seeing a soul and it would be nice to inspire others to get out and about, walking from their homes and exploring their local hills and ridgeways.
I am taking my lists from hill-bagging.co.uk as they provide County lists. I am looking at each county including all lists, then deciding – based on the number and the general inaccessibility of minor tumps – on whether or not to include those minor tumps or not. Beneath each county list below I have stated whether that list includes or excludes minor tumps – or whether it only excludes some minor tumps.
Some counties even when you exclude minor tumps you are still left with inconsequential hills, often on private land or just a high point on a road. I am deleting these as I investigate each county as I want these to be walks of some description. The more I do this, the more I realise I am happy to skip a few of the minor hills and focus on the higher hills with more likelihood of them being on common land, or have established paths to some kind of summit. However, for some counties – like RCT – I am adding back in some minor tumps as they seem well worth walking.
My home county of Caerphilly I am doing all of the minor tumps, but it only reinforces that often they are just not worth it as they are more likely to be on private land and I don’t have any desire to either trespass or track down land owners to go and stand on a slight elevation.
This also ignores the sheer length of some county lists when you add in the minor tumps. Powys, for example, has a complete hill list of 825 but that is reduced to a still extremely challenging list of 330 when you remove minor tumps. This is, after all, a secondary challenge to walking all of the mountains in Wales and is about providing me with walks I can do more locally when I reside in South Wales and most of the mountains are in upper mid and North Wales and not accessible in a day really.
Anyway, anything in blue below is linked to my write up of the hill / mountain and means it has been completed. These lists are going to be unique to me by the time I have deleted the random little hills I do not deem it is worth walking – especially those on private land or simply a roadside high point.
- Merthyr Tydfil | Merthyr Tudful [8/9 completed | including minor tumps]
- Caerphilly | Caerffili [23/23 hills completed | including minor tumps]
- Blaenau Gwent [11/11 hills completed | including minor tumps]
- Torfaen | Tor-faen [6/6 completed | including minor tumps]
- Monmouthshire | Sir Fynwy [18/18 completed | including minor tumps]
- Newport | Casnewydd [1/1 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Cardiff | Caerdydd [4/5 completed | including minor tumps]
- Vale of Glamorgan | Bro Morgannwg [0/2 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Bridgend | Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr [3/3 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Rhondda Cynon Taff | Rhondda Cynon Tâf [19/19 completed | excluding some minor tumps]
- Neath Port Talbot | Castell-nedd Port Talbot [10/22 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Swansea | Abertawe [0/9 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Carmarthenshire | Sir Gaerfyrddin [6/55 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Ceredigion [0/90 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Powys [62/329 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Wrexham | Wrecsam [0/17 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Flintshire | Sir y Fflint [0/9 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Denbighshire | Sir Ddinbych [0/39 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Conwy [0/86 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Gwynedd [11/294 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Isle of Anglesey | Ynys Môn [0/8 completed | excluding minor tumps]
- Pembrokeshire | Sir Benfro [ 0/46 completed | excluding minor tumps]
Total: 182 of 1,089 completed (923 remaining).