Hills and Mountains of Southwest UK




Corn Du Skirrid Fawr Malvern Hills Fan Fawr

The only true mountains in southwest UK are the Brecon Beacons and neighbouring ranges, all contained within Brecon Beacons National Park, though even these are not especially dramatic or craggy compared with Snowdonia in north Wales, or many other peaks further north. The highest point, 2,907 foot Pen y Fan, is an especially popular destination, climbed by hundreds of people on some days, though most other areas of the park are much less visited, and true solitude can still be found. The point furthest from a road (about 3 miles) is within the Black Mountain Fans, also not very remarkable compared with other mountains, but still distant enough for an authentic wilderness experience. Besides the peaks, nearly all of which are smooth-sided, flat-topped, and covered by short grass, generally without any rocky outcrops, the national park also contains valleys, waterfalls, caves, reservoirs and assorted historic structures.

Other significant high elevation regions consist of hills or plateaus rather than mountains, such as the extensive moorland of Dartmoor and Exmoor, and narrower ranges of hills including the Malverns, Quantocks, Blackdowns and Mendips. The latter rise up to 1,000 feet above the surroundings and contain one significant open, moor-like area (Black Down), plus several smaller unfenced regions including around Cheddar Gorge and at Crook Peak. The Cotswold Hills are rather less dramatic, and the elevation is only properly evident along the perimeter, especially along the west edge, where the ground drops abruptly towards Seven Vale, viewed example at Barrow Wake, Coaley Peak, Crickley Hill and Swift's Hill.



Devon



Haytor Rocks and Hound Tor
Haytor Rocks and Hound Tor
Granite outcrops in Dartmoor National Park, plus a ruined medieval village and several old quarries

Rating: ★★★★

Gloucestershire



Barrow Wake
Barrow Wake Nature Reserve
Steep-sided limestone hill along the edge of the Cotswolds, with fine westwards views and over 100 plant species

Rating: ★★★★
Coaley Peak
Coaley Peak
High point along the west edge of the Cotswolds, with views to the Severn valley. Also site of a prehistoric burial chamber

Rating: ★★★★★
Crickley Hill
Crickley Hill
Prominent limestone hill at the edge of the Cotswolds, overlooking Gloucester and the Severn valley; a noted wildflower location, plus old quarries and the remains of an Iron Age hillfort

Rating: ★★★★★
Swift's Hill
Swift's Hill Nature Reserve
Hillside nature reserve; a noted location for wildflowers, including 15 species of orchid

Rating: ★★★★★

Monmouthshire



Skirrid Fawr
Skirrid Fawr
Eastern outlier of the Black Mountains, circled by a 4 mile trail; overlooks a large area of south Wales

Rating: ★★★★★

Somerset



Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge
Famous limestone ravine at the south edge of the Mendip Hills, containing several caves, and viewable via a 3 mile loop path

Rating: ★★★★
Crook Peak
Crook Peak
Rocky summit with excellent views; the most distinctive peak in the Mendip Hills

Rating: ★★★★★
Draycott Sleights
Draycott Sleights
Nature reserve at the southern edge of the Mendip Hills; good views and over 150 wildflower species

Rating: ★★★★★

Powys



Black Mountain Fans
Black Mountain Fans
Summits along a dramatic ridge above two isolated lakes, on the west side of the park

Rating: ★★★★★
Fan Fawr and Beacons Reservoir
Fan Fawr and Beacons Reservoir
Summit in the Fforest Fawr region, and a scenic reservoir lined by trees; explored by a 4 mile loop hike

Rating: ★★★★
Llangattock Escarpment
Llangattock Escarpment
Limestone cliffs below the rim of a grassy, boggy plateau with a wind-swept lake; site of several cave entrances, and 18th century quarries

Rating: ★★★★★
Pen y Fan and Fan y Big Horseshoe Walk
Pen y Fan and Fan y Big Horseshoe Walk
Spectacular loop hike to four summits in the Brecon Beacons, including the two highest points (Corn Du and Pen y Fan)

Rating: ★★★★★
Skirrid Fawr
Skirrid Fawr
Eastern outlier of the Black Mountains, circled by a 4 mile trail; overlooks a large area of south Wales

Rating: ★★★★★
Table Mountain, Pen Cerrig-calch and Pen Allt-mawr
Table Mountain, Pen Cerrig-calch and Pen Allt-mawr
Summits in the Black Mountains, reached by a 9 mile loop hike

Rating: ★★★★
Waun Fach, Grwyne Fawr and Nant Bwch
Waun Fach, Grwyne Fawr and Nant Bwch
Loop hike along ridges and valleys to several peaks on the north side of the Black Mountains

Rating: ★★★★

Worcestershire



Malvern Hills
Malvern Hills
Relatively long, tall and narrow range of hills, lying along the border with Herefordshire; an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Rating: ★★★★