Aberystwyth   Steam TrainDominated by the craggy dragon's back of the Cambrian Mountains, Mid-Wales is home to fantastic natural scenery, including the Brecon Beacons National Park. Made up of sparsely populated lands that bring together rolling farms, adrenaline-pumping rapids and forest trails, Mid-Wales is the ideal holiday location for the nature lover. There is an endless list of activities to be done in the outdoors here, and for those who prefer leisurable pursuits, there is always the literary visit to the village of Hay-on-Wye.

Having two national parks on its geographical roster immediately marks Mid Wales as a destination for the avid hiker, or anyone who loves natural beauty. Resorts surrounding these areas offer guided walks and hikes for those interested in exploring the mountain paths of Brecon Beacons, others hire out bicycles for those who wish to explore the idyllic countryside and hill-dotted trails. For the watersport enthusiast, Gwynedd and Powys offer whitewater rafting, where in Tryweryn, the water never dries up!

Aside from it’s obvious attractions, Mid Wales also has some surprisingly quirky events up its sleeve. The annual Guardian Hay Festival takes place in the cosy village of Hay-on-Wye – a place where even the stone castles and the local cinemas are filled with shelves of books. The Festival invites authors and poets from all over the world, and promises a week full of literary indulgences – from reading, to debating, theatre, comedy and music. The Bog-Snorkelling Championships take place in Powys. Never heard of Bog Snorkelling? Considered a competitive sport, flipper-clad participants swim through a 60-yard peat bog to win the coveted title of World Champion in its originating village of Llanwrtyd Wells.

If standing quietly in one place is more your thing, then the local birdwatching activities would be just right. With an osprey sanctuary and a red-kite feeding farm, as well as a wealth of avian wildlife, Mid Wales offers an exciting and worthwhile birdwatching experience. Another event the more laidback would appreciate is the annual Jazz Festival. For a somewhat sleepy and nature-based destination, Mid Wales turns it up in August during the Brecon Jazz Festival with acts from America and all over Europe invited to show their skills for the music lovers.

Home to some of the highest peaks in Wales courtesy of the Cambrian Range, Mid Wales is mostly made up of mountainous region, broken by hills and valleys and small snatches of farmland. Silent lakes and sparse villages dot the pristine landscape, and even the most-populated area has less than 250 buildings. This is no surprise for a region whose economy depends mostly on small-scale agriculture and businesses. The high rainfall and temperate cool temperatures that occur in all but the highest peaks of Mid Wales provide an unvaried climate for the local wildlife and preserve the lush greenery that it is so famous for.

Throughout the year, Mid Wales plays host to several food festivals, including the Wales Food Festival at the Glansevern Garden Halls, and the Hay Food Festival. The many Farmer’s Markets provide an outlet for the local farms and vineyards to show their wares, ranging from locally-farmed meat to fresh honey, wines, mead and dairy products.

Known for the traditional Welsh staples of lamb and local cheeses served in the country hotels and village inns, there are also restaurants that offer award-winning cuisine for those who wish to indulge in fine food. Situated in locations as varied as the local arts centre to castles in Clywd and ancient houses, these places seek to serve the food-lover with elegant presentation and satisfy the tourist with a delicious meal.

Writer: Samantha Joseph


Click on the link to download your 15-page PDF version of MID WALES.  It covers the counties of Ceredigion and Powys.