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Hiking in Britain

The County tops of Britain

As part of my walking objectives I have given myself an aim of climbing all the county tops of England, Wales and Scotland as well. I have made the job slightly harder by giving myself the aim of, where possible, attaching the tops to my other walks, so I will have all the county tops linked (excepting, obviously, the ones off the mainland, such as Orkney).

County tops are classed as being the highest point in the respective county. There are several lists of these about, but the information held below has been collected from several places over nearly two decades. It includes where a county top has changed for whatever reason, and some areas that are no longer counties.

This is a very large task, which is going to be time-consuming to achieve. Initially I estimated that it would take me up to ten years to complete if I linked all the tops up. In the end I dropped this objective for many years, and have eventually started it again.

This page will get updated as the walks progress.

Note that the maps in the OS Map column refer to Landranger 1:50,000, unless they have OL in front of them, in which case they refer to the appropriate Outdoor Leisure 1:25,000 map.

So what is a county?

  • As an Englishman, English counties are instinctively 'easier' to categorise. In this case, I mainly use ceremonial counties. Hence Rutland was an historic county, which was then abolished, and then reinstated, and is a 'current' county. Whereas one such as the East Riding of Yorkshire, which was abolished, is an historic one.
  • In the case of Wales, I have included both current and historical counties, along with the larger unitary authorities
  • Scotland is more difficult.In this case, I use the traditional Scottish Shires, which were the divisions until 1975, and were replaced with regions and districts.


The county tops of England, Wales and Scotland

County Top name Height (metres / feet) Grid reference OS Map County type Visited
Highlands Ben Nevis1344 4411 NN 1667 7127LR41SLGA 154 489
Inverness-Shire Ben Nevis1344 4411 NN 1667 7127LR41SC 154 489
Grampian Ben Macdui1309 4295 NN 9890 9893LR36/LR43SLGA
Aberdeenshire Ben Macdui1309 4295 NN 9890 9893LR36/LR43SC
Banffshire Ben Macdui1309 4295 NN 9890 9893LR36/LR43SC
Tayside Ben Lawers1214 3983 NN 6355 4141LR51SLGA
Perthshire Ben Lawers1214 3983 NN 6355 4141LR51SC
Ross and Cromarty Carn Eige1182 3881 NH 1235 2618LR25SC
Central Scotland Ben More1174 3852 NN 4327 2440LR51SLGA
Argyll Bidean nam Bian1149 3771 NN 1434 5420LR41SC
Strathclyde Ben Cruachan1127 3698 NN 0696 3046LR50SLGA
Gwynedd Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa1085 3560 SH 6098 5437LR115WC/WUA 405
Angus Glas Maol1068 3504 NO 1670 7656LR43SC
Conwy Carnedd Llewelyn1064 3491 SH 6836 6437LR115WUA
Sutherland Ben More Assynt998 3274 NC 3183 2013LR15SC
Cumbria Scafell Pike978 3209 NY 2154 0721LR80/LR90EC 435
Cumberland old Scafell Pike978 3209 NY 2154 0721LR80/LR90EHC 435
Stirlingshire Ben Lomond974 3196 NN 3671 0285LR56SC
Merionethshire Aran Fawddwy905 2969 SH 8627 2238LR124/LR125WHC
Westmorland Helvellyn949 3116 NY 3424 1511LR90EHC
Dunbartonshire Ben Vorlich943 3094 NN 2951 1246LR56SC
Powys Pen y Fan886 2907 SO 0121 2158LR160/OL12WC/WUA 173
Brecknockshire Pen y Fan886 2907 SO 0121 2158LR160/OL12WHC 173
Buteshire Goatfell875 2871 NR 9914 4153LR69SC
Dumfries and Galloway Merrick843 2766 NX 4276 8554LR77SLGA
Kirkcudbrightshire Merrick843 2766 NX 4276 8554LR77SC
Scottish Borders Broad Law840 2756 NT 1464 2353LR72SLGA
Peebleshire Broad Law840 2756 NT 1464 2353LR72SC
Selkirkshire Broad Law840 2756 NT 1464 2353LR72SC
Denbighshire Cadair Berwyn832 2730 SJ 0716 3235LR125WUA
Clwyd Cadair Berwyn832 2730 SJ 0716 3235LR125WC
Montgomeryshire Moel Sych826 2712 SJ 0663 3186LR125WHC
Dumfriesshire White Coomb821 2694 NT 1632 1509LR79SC
Northumberland The Cheviot815 2674 NT 9090 2052LR74/LR75/OL16EC
Lancashire old   (8)Old Man of Coniston802 2633 SD 2724 9781LR96Old
Western Isles Clisham799 26221 NB 1548 0728LR13/LR14SLGA
Wrexham Craig Berwyn790 2592 SJ 0770 3359LR125WUA
Durham (new) Mickle Fell790 2592 NY 8060 2454LR91/LR92/OL31EC
Yorkshire North Riding Mickle Fell790 2592 NY 8060 2454LR91/LR92/OL31EHC
Ayrshire Kirrieroch Shoulder782 2566 NX 4194 8710LR77SC
Dyfed Fan Foel781 2562 SN 8214 2234LR160WC
Carmarthenshire Fan Foel781 2562 SN 8214 2234LR160WUA
Kincardineshire Mount Battock778 2552 NO 5496 8446LR44SC
Ceredigion Plynlimon752 2467 SN 7897 8694LR135WUA
Lanarkshire Culter Fell748 2454 NT 0528 2908LR72SC
Durham old Burnhope Seat746 2488 NY 7878 3753LR91Old
Roxburghshire Hangingstone Hill743 2438 NT 8957 1930LR80SC 047
North Yorkshire Whernside736 2415 SD 7383 8140LR98EC 627
Yorkshire West Riding Whernside736 2415 SD 7383 8140LR98EHC 627
Clackmannanshire Ben Cleuch721 2365 NN 9027 0063LR58SC
Morayshire Carn a' Ghille Chearr710 2329 NJ 1396 2984LR36SC
Caithness Morven706 2316 ND 0046 2852LR17SC
Herefordshire Black Mountain703 2306 SO 2556 3502LR161EC 761
Gwent Chwarel y Fan679 2228 SO 2581 2941LR161WC
Monmouthshire Chwarel y Fan679 2228 SO 2581 2941LR161WUA
Radnorshire Great Rhos660 2165 SO 1822 6390LR148WHC
Nairnshire Carn Glas-choire659 2162 NH 8915 2915LR35/LR36SC
Lothian Blackhope Scar651 2136 NT 3151 4832LR73SLGA
Midlothian Blackhope Scar651 2136 NT 3151 4832LR73SC
Derbyshire Kinder Scout636 2088 SK 0848 8756LR110/OL1EC 585
Lancashire   (8)Gragareth628 2060 SD 6888 7931LR98EC
Lancashire alternate   (8)Green Hill627 2059 SD 7016 8200LR98Alternative
Devon High Willhays621 2037 SX 5802 8922LR191EC
West Glamorgan Craig y LLyn600 1969 SN 9069 0316LR170WC 776
Neath Port Talbot Craig y Llyn600 1969 SN 9060 0310LR170WUA 776
Rhondda Cynon Taff Craig y Llyn590 1935 SN 9090 0310LR170WUA 776
Mid Glamorgan Craig y LLyn588 1929 SN 9090 0310LR170WC 776
West Yorkshire   (7)Black Hill582 1909 SE 0769 0460LR110EC 031 144
Cheshire old   (1)Black Hill581 1906 SE 0781 0467LR110Old 031 144
Blaenau Gwent Coety Mountain578 1896 SO 2316 0799LR161WUA
Torfaen Cefn Coch571 1873 SO 2210 0931LR61WUA
Bridgend Werfa568 1864 SS 9127 9477LR170WUA 776
Cheshire   (1)Shining Tor559 1834 SJ 9947 7374LR118/OL24EC 001 614 1024
Flintshire Moel Famau554 1820 SJ 1612 6267LR116WUA 768
Caerphilly Twyn Ceilog552 1811 SO 0986 1275LR161WUA
South Yorkshire Margery Hill546 1791 SK 1891 9570LR110/OL1EC 145 685
Greater Manchester Black Chew Head542 1778 SE 0561 0196LR110/OL1EC 144
Shropshire Brown Clee Hill540 1772 SO 5937 8670LR137/LR138EC 177
Pembrokeshire Foel Cwmcerwyn536 1759 SN 0941 3116LR145WUA
East Lothian   (9)Meikle Says Law535 1755 NT 5812 6173LR67SC
Berwickshire   (9)Meikle Says Law (S)532 1745 NT 5813 6165LR67SC
Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr Common531 1742 SO 0802 1102LR160WUA
Fife West Lomond522 1713 NO 1973 0663LR58SC / SLGA
Renfrewshire Hill of Stake522 1713 NS 2735 6299LR63SC
Staffordshire Cheeks Hill520 1706 SK 0261 6990LR119/OL24EC 614 1024
Somerset Dunkery Beacon519 1703 SS 8915 4159LR181EC
Kinross Innerdouny Hill497 1631 NO 0321 0731LR58SC
Orkney Ward Hill481 1578 HY 2286 0223LR6/LR7SC / SLGA
Shetland Ronas Hill450 1475 HU 3050 8347LR3SC / SLGA
Worcestershire Worcestershire Beacon425 1394 SO 7688 4523LR150EC 651
Cornwall Brown Willy420 1378 SX 1587 8000LR201EC
Swansea Mynydd y Betws373 1224 SN 6647 0948LR159WUA
Gloucestershire Cleeve Hill330 1083 SO 9969 2460LR163EC 620
Cleveland Gisborough Moor329 1078 NZ 6324 1241LR94EHC
Wigtownshire Craigairie Fell321 1053 NX 2361 7366LR76SC
West Lothian Cairnpapple Hill312 1024 NS 9875 7114LR65SC
Newport Wentwood309 1014 ST 4113 9431LR171/LR172WUA
Cardiff Garth Hill307 1007 ST 1034 8350LR171WUA 777
Berkshire Walbury Hill297 974 SU 3735 6163LR174EC 100
Surrey   (3)Leith Hill295 968 TQ 1393 4318LR187EC 599
Wiltshire Milk Hill295 968 SU 1042 6431LR173EC 570
Hampshire Pilot Hill286 937 SU 3979 6019LR174EC 100
West Sussex Black Down280 919 SU 9194 2963LR186/LR197EC 609
Sussex Black Down280 919 SU 9194 2963LR186/LR197EHC 609
Dorset   (2)Lewesdon Hill279 915 ST 4377 0117LR193EC
Leicestershire Bardon Hill278 912 SK 4599 1319LR129EC 662
Dorset alternate   (2)Pilsdon Pen277 908 ST 4136 0114LR193Alternative
West Midlands Turner's Hill270 885 SO 9674 8871LR139EC
Buckinghamshire Haddington Hill267 876 SP 8907 0908LR165EC 204
Avon Niver Hill264 866 ST 5651 5389LR182EHC 125
South Glamorgan Craig Llysfaen264 866 ST 1899 8508LR171WC
Warwickshire Ebrington Hill261 856 SP 1878 4263LR151EC 1018
Oxfordshire   (5)Whitehorse Hill261 856 SU 3010 8638LR174EC 731
Tyne and Wear Currock Hill259 850 NZ 1065 5936LR88EC
Oxfordshire old   (5)Bald Hill257 843 SU 7287 9577LR165Old 731
London Botley Hill255 837 TQ 4072 5623LR187EHC 601
Kent Betsom's Hill251 823 TQ 4355 5638LR187EC 601
Humberside Bishop Wilton Wold248 814 SE 8217 5702LR106EHC
Yorkshire East Riding Bishop Wilton Wold248 814 SE 8217 5702LR106EHC
East Sussex Ditchling Beacon248 813 TQ 3316 1307LR198EC 596
Greater London Westerham Heights245 804 TQ 4361 5650LR187EC
Hertfordshire Pavis Wood244 801 SP 9143 0912LR165EC 204
Bedfordshire Dunstable Downs243 797 TL 0088 1942LR166EC 129
Isle of Wight St Boniface Down242 794 SZ 5688 7852LR196EC 885
Northamptonshire Arbury Hill225 738 SP 5400 5877LR152EC 598
Anglesey Holyhead Mountain220 722 SH 2185 8294LR114WUA 624
Nottinghamshire   (6)Silverhill Colliery204 670 SK 4706 6212LR120EC 597
Nottinghamshire old   (6)Newtonwood Lane203 666 SK 4561 6064LR120Old 597
Rutland Cold Overton Park197 646 SK 8270 0853LR141EC 205
Merseyside Billinge Hill179 587 SD 5256 0143LR108EC
Lincolnshire Normanby Top168 551 TF 1211 9647LR113EC 919
Middlesex   (4)Bushey Heath155 509 TQ 1527 9380LR176EHC 210
Essex Chrishall Common147 482 TL 4430 3620LR154EC 096
Cambridgeshire Great Chishill146 480 TL 4273 3862LR154EC 096
Vale of Glamorgan Tair Onnen137 450 ST 0366 7398LR170WUA
Suffolk Great Wood128 420 TL 7869 5586LR155EC 105 694
Norfolk Beacon Hill105 344 TG 1835 4134LR133EC 165 904
Huntingdonshire Boring Field81 266 TL 0493 7126LR141/LR153EHC 184


Statistics

Total number of tops: 138

Visited tops: 58

Key

LabelMeaning
WUAWelsh Unitary Authority
WCWelsh County
WHCWelsh Historic County
ECEnglish County
EHCEnglish Historic County
SLGScottish local government areas (1973-1976)
OldAn old top, where the top changed after an county's border was moved (e.g. Oxfordshire), or where a location had become higher (e.g. Nottinghamshire) or been remeasured to a different height.
AlternativeWhere there is a disagreement between two tops.

Footnotes

  1. Until 1974, Cheshire's highest point was on Black Hill. Since the reorganisation, it has been Shining Tor. As these are two very different walks (and Black Hill is now West Yorkshire's highest point), I have included both, especially as Shining Tor is well worth a visit.
  2. When I started this list in 1999, there was some debate about whether Lewesdon Hill or Pilsdon Pen was the Dorset county top. Whilst the former has been measured to be the highest by two metres, I have included them both in the list.
  3. According to Wikipedia and Jonny Muir, Leith Hill is now believed to be 294 metres.
  4. Jonny Muir has Bushey Heath at 153 metres.
  5. Bald Hill is Oxfordshire's historic county top; Whitehorse Hill is its current county top. Unusually they are at different ends of the county to reach other.
  6. The highest point in Nottinghamshire is the newly-landscaped Silverhill colliery at 205 metres (two metres higher than Newtonwood Lane).There is some debate about whether such 'unnatural' landscapes should count as tops; however the two tops are so close together, it would be a shame not to include both.
  7. This is a complex one; the historic county top of Cheshire is at Black Hill's trig pillar; the county top for West Yorkshire is about 140 metres southwest.
  8. Lancashire is lucky enough to have three contenders for county top. The Old Man of Coniston is the historic county top, whilst Green Hill is the new top - although some believe that nearby Gragareth is taller.
  9. The county top of the prsent-day county of East Lothian is at Meikle Says Law's trig pillar; the top of the historic ocunty of Berwickshire is about 100 metres to the south.

General notes

On the 03/12/2018, I gave this page and the information within a significant update and tidy. There are now more tops listed, which will mean more walks ...

The information has been obtained from the following sources:


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