What it's like
Mid Wales covers a vast region in the very heart of the principality. It’s hemmed in by national parks to the north and south, and landlocked to the west by the county of Ceredigion, with which it has a lot in common. This is an unspoilt tract of Wales; sparsely populated and less touristy than the rest of the country. Its mountains and hills remain largely untracked and inhospitable in comparison to those of the national parks to the north and south; and the valleys that divide them, whilst as deeply-cloven and as breathtakingly beautiful as any in the land, see far fewer footprints. Huge swathes of forestry cling to the slopes, in places it appears sterile and repetitive; yet in others, it only adds to the spectacle. And deep in the heart of the region, the rivers are lined with ancient beeches and oaks that afford an eye-catching autumn displays.
There’s something for everybody here: from easy strolls along the banks of the Wye and around the Elan Valley Lakes; to rough and ready rambles to the highpoint of Drygarn Fawr – an island of grass and rock afloat in an ocean of bleak and pathless tussocks. Two National Trails pass through: Offa’s Dyke Footpath skips easily back and forth across the border with England, whilst the Glyndwr Way runs its whole course in the county of Powys.
The lakes are a draw for non-walkers too, often linked with the dramatic glen-like valley of the Afon Irfon. The towns also play their part, with Rhayader and Builth Wells both sitting on sylvan stretches of the Wye and Llanwrtyd Wells now developing a reputation as the Welsh capital of extreme (or silly) sports.
- The Source of the Severn Follow well-marked trails through the Hafren Forest to its source on the east flanks of Plynlimon
- Drygarn Fawr The Valleys of the Gwesyn and Rhiwnant are both stunning, and both drain from Drygarn Fawr – a must for all experienced walkers.
- RSPB Dinas Reserve A short scenic lap of some stunning broadleaf woodland and fine views of the tumbling Towey River.
Must see and do
- The Elan Valley Lakes Soak up their tranquil beauty, or marvel at the sheer scale of the engineering.
- Soar-y-mynydd It’s difficult to imagine a lonelier or more beautiful spot to find a picturesque little church.
- Pistyll Rhaedr Wales’s tallest waterfall situated at the head of lonely Berwyn Hills valley, west of Oswestry.
Destination County : Mid Wales