Situated between the high, rugged landscape of Snowdonia and the farmland of Shropshire, North Powys is a gentle and pleasant region whose scenic attractions include the highest waterfall outside Scotland, Pistyll Rhaeadr (one of the Seven Wonders of Wales), and the peaceful expanse of Lake Vyrnwy. Built in the 1880s to supply the expanding city of Liverpool with water, this large reservoir is a splendid feat of Victorian engineering that later found fame as a location for the film The Dambusters.
The major settlement here is Welshpool, a town situated on the banks of the River Severn and close to the English border. Originally known as Pool, the prefix was added to ensure that the dispute regarding its nationality was finalised once and for all. From the town, leisurely canal boat trips can be taken along the Montgomery Canal, and there is also a narrow gauge steam railway running westwards to Llanfair Caereinion. Near the town can be found the splendid Powis Castle, which is famous not only for the many treasures it houses, but also for its magnificent gardens.
Montgomery has a splendidly situated ruined borderland castle, and is close to some of the best preserved sections of Offa’s Dyke. Nearby is Newtown, which, despite its name, was founded in the 10th century, and is interesting and historic market town with two attractions of special note: the Robert Owen Memorial Museum celebrating the early-19th century social reformer who was born in the town, and the WH Smith branch, which has been restored to its original 1927 appearance.
To the west and beyond the quaint town of Llanidloes lies Machynlleth where Owain Glyndwr held the first Welsh parliament in 1404. A visit to the Owen Glyndwyr Centre, which can be found in the part 15th century Parliament House, tells the story of Glyndwr and his struggle against the English. Also worth visiting in Machynlleth are the Museum of Modern Art and Plas Machynlleth, an elegant mansion with extensive gardens.
This is great walking country, which takes in some of the finest scenery in Wales. The many marked established trails and walks include a large part of Offa’s Dyke Path and Glyndwr’s Way, a 123-mile walk that follows a circular route across dramatic landscapes from Welshpool to Knighton by way of Machynlleth.
This pleasant little market town (market day is Wednesday) - has a population of just over 2000 and is a popular but not overcrowded holiday centre in the shadow of the Cambrian Mountains. It was here that Owain Glyndwr held the first Welsh parliament in 1404. On the site today stands Parliament House, a part-15th century building. It is home to the Owain Glyndwr Centre, which tells the story of the last native Prince of Wales and the rebellion he led against the English. The building also has a brass rubbing centre.