Garth Hill

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Garth Hill
View of the Garth Mountain
Highest point
Elevation 307 m (1,007 ft)
Prominence 211 m (692 ft)
Listing Marilyn, County top
Coordinates 51°32′35.66″N 3°17′41.53″W / 51.5432389°N 3.2948694°W / 51.5432389; -3.2948694Coordinates: 51°32′35.66″N 3°17′41.53″W / 51.5432389°N 3.2948694°W / 51.5432389; -3.2948694
Garth Hill is located in Wales
Garth Hill
Garth Hill
Location of Garth Hill in Wales
Location Cardiff, Wales
OS grid ST103835

Garth Hill (usually called The Garth, or Garth Mountain, Mynydd y Garth in Welsh) is a mountain located near the village of Pentyrch in Cardiff. It is thought to be the inspiration for "Ffynnon Garw", the fictional mountain (or hill) featured in the book, and later, film, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain by Christopher Monger.

The Garth[edit]

The Garth can be seen from nearly the whole of the city of Cardiff, and on a sunny, clear day as far as Weston-super-Mare across the Bristol Channel in the South West of England. It lies adjacent to the Taff Vale with the village of Pentyrch on one side and looks down onto the small village of Gwaelod-y-Garth. The Garth has a number of tumuli on its top.[1] These are burial sites dating from the early to middle Bronze Age, around 2000 BC.[2] There are also World War II practice works (sources unreliable).

Fine views of Cardiff and the Taff valley are obtained from the prominent crag.[3] The Garth has a sister hill, the Lesser Garth. The Lesser Garth is of limestone, which is extensively quarried, with much of the hill now removed; it was also formerly mined for iron ore.[4] The valley between the two is eroded in softer Coal Measures, shales in the main, while the Garth itself is formed of the resistant Pennant Sandstone formation. Until the 19th century, the valley and the lower slopes of the Garth facing Taff's Well were full of small coal mines which fed the ironworks below in the River Taff valley, opposite Taff's Well. There is now little trace of these although one, Lan Colliery, has recently had its portal partly restored as a memorial to an explosion in 1875. A cleared path now leads to this, near the primary school.

The access road to Pentyrch village, Heol Goch, runs between the main and lesser Garth.

The book and film[edit]

Christopher Monger, a native of nearby Taff's Well, wrote the novel The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain which was made into a film in 1995. The location of the fictional "Ffynnon Garw" above the author's home village, suggests that it is the Garth, however, the story is fictional and the mound on which the trigonometrical point stands is a Bronze Age burial mound. The popular film has resulted in a stream of visitors climbing to the summit of Garth Mountain to view the location.


  1. ^ "Trig point on Tumulus on Garth Hill:: OS grid ST1083". Geograph Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  2. ^ Anon. "Garth Burial Mounds". Pentyrch. Pentyrch County Council. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Taff Gorge from sandstone crag on Garth Hill:: OS grid ST1282". Geograph Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  4. ^ "Taffs Well Quarry:: OS grid ST1282". Geograph Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
View of Garth Mountain from Culverhouse Cross, about 5 12 miles (9 km) to the south
Panoramic view from the top of Garth Hill