Ebrington Hill, Warwickshire
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Location: Hidcote Bartrim, Gloucestershire(!)
Nearest town: Ilmington, Warwickshire
Peak: 261 metres above sea level
Rank: tied 28/48
Date climbed: 15 August 2020
Historic Warwickshire was formerly the heartland of industrial Britain, because it contained much of what is now the metropolitan county of The West Midlands.
The current county, with boundaries set by the Local Government Act of 1972, contains no cities whatsoever. However, it does contain several large and renowned market towns including Stratford-upon-Avon (home of Billy Shakespeare), Rugby, Nuneaton and the county town of Warwick.
Most of those towns are in the north of the county, and with a total population of just 571,000, ranking 39th out of the 48 ceremonial counties, much of southern Warwickshire is rural and sparsely inhabited.
It is in that corner of the county, lying on the border with neighbouring Gloucestershire, that you will find the county high point: Ebrington Hill. Indeed it was from Gloucestershire, one of seven counties sharing a border with Warwickshire, that we set off on our walk to reach the summit. (Alongside Gloucestershire and West Midlands, the other neighbouring counties are Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire).
We started the day at Hidcote Manor Garden, a National Trust property located near the renowned Cotswold village of Chipping Campden. One of our favourite National Trust properties (so far), this Arts and Crafts garden makes a perfect spot to eat a picnic lunch before heading up to the high point.
Even in 2020, with the team having lost a combined 5,000 hours of gardening time due to lockdown, and barely a week after the summer’s heatwave, the garden looked resplendent.
To be consistent in our difficulty ranking, it’s worth noting that this county high point gets a one star, as you can drive to the summit, which lies as much on the road as within the fields beside it. But for a more enjoyable - albeit still gradual - ascent, you can park in or around Hidcote and follow a footpath up to the top. Barely fifteen minutes after setting off, we were there!
The summit is marked by three transmitter-type masts. There is also a triangulation point. However, controversially, this stands at 259 metres above sea level, while the actual highest point - a road slightly to the south - is two metres higher at 261 metres. This makes it equal to Oxfordshire’s high point, Whitehorse Hill. These are the only two counties whose high points are the same height.
Kieran insisted there was a great view to the north-east that could be seen if you stood atop the triangulation point. But that involved walking very close to the transmitter towers, which I was remiss to do as they freak me out. They gave me the ‘heebie jeebies’, to be precise.
The more spectacular view is to the west, looking back over the footpath, where miles of flat green fields stretch all the way to the base of the imposing Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. Their hazy outline marks the horizon, and Worcestershire’s highest peak, Worcester Beacon, can be distinguished by seasoned geography nerds like us.
Incidentally, Worcester Beacon was the high point that started off our quest to complete them all, and it remains our most dramatic climb and favourite views (to date). The joy of this quest is that the UK’s county high points range from intense, day-long hikes to gentle afternoon strolls. In its own way, Ebrington Hill was an enjoyable afternoon for us and makes a trip to this corner of Warwickshire well worthwhile.