As the popularity of paragliding continues to increase so, too, do the number of locations around the UK you can take part in the activity. There are numerous clubs up and down the British Isles where you can participate in the activity.
However, the most popular sites tend to be those which have the windiest ridges and where pilots will find the most thermal currents. Therefore, although many clubs will boast that they can offer you the most exhilarating flight experiences, some of the most renowned areas in the UK for paragliding are the Peak District, the Lake District, and the Yorkshire Dales.
In Wales, there are also many thriving clubs and some of the best paragliding hotspots include areas close to the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. Another popular spot is Long Mynd, close to Shrewsbury. The Isle of Wight, off the South Coast of England is another spectacular place to fly paragliders.
We’ll take a look at these areas in more details but there are clubs dotted the length and breadth of the UK and you can find out more about these by visiting the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association’s website.
Paragliding in the Peak District is extremely popular, nowhere more so than from Mam Tor which, standing at 517 metres, overlooks the town of Castleton. On many a fine day, it appears that there are hundreds of paragliders floating around the sky. The Derbyshire Flying Centre and Peak Airports are useful sources of further information.
Scafell Pike is England’s tallest mountain and offers spectacular views of the Lake District and the Irish Sea coastline. Many gliders also love the areas around Skiddaw, the hills around Keswick and the Coniston Old Man. Cumbria Soaring Club is a useful source of further information.
The Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains
These mountainous regions in South Wales can offer very diverse wind directions and conditions when it comes to gliding. Northerly winds take you from Hay Bluff and down into the Brecon Beacons and beyond which are often tackled by more experienced pilots. A north-westerly direction can take you over the Wye Valley and with a good south-westerly, you can soar high over Brecon and Llangorse. The South East Wales Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club is a useful source of further information.
Long Mynd, Shropshire
This ridge of high ground which extends over 15km in the heart of Shropshire may not seem the likeliest of locations geographically in which you might find a thriving paragliding community. It is probably one of the most challenging locations in which to go paragliding and one of the best on the Western side of England. The Long Mynd Soaring Club is a useful source of further information.
Isle of Wight
Because it’s an island, the Isle of Wight offers better and more settled weather than most other paragliding locations and winds that travel in more directions. It has a good variety of thermal ridges and a spectacular 15km cliff run. The island has also become renowned for providing the training for some of the UK’s most famous and skilled paraglider pilots over the years. The Isle of Wight Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club is a useful source of further information.