The Wild West

Often overlooked for the pinnacles of Snowdonia to the north and maritime jewels of the south, the Mid Wales region offers visitors wild country, wildlife and wild legends in abundance. Not only is there plenty to do, but you’re guaranteed to find your own space in the seemingly endless landscape surrounding you. It’s a great location for those who don’t like to follow the crowds. Here are a few reasons why we just love the Mid Wales region for a perfect escape.

Wild Country

The countryside in this area of the UK is awe inspiring with mountains, forests, valleys, lakes and waterfalls aplenty. The wild and varied landscape is ideal for trying out a number of different outside adventures. Whatever outdoor activity you enjoy, you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy in Mid Wales. Do you have a head for heights? Then try the Mid Wales Paragliding centre. For water lovers you’ve got your pick of places from tandem kayaking and rafting safaris at the National White Water Centre near Lake Bala to surfing fun with Aber Adventures in Borth. For mountain bikers, there are some challenging routes around the rugged and varied landscapes of Rhayader and the Elan Valley.

The Mid Wales region is also fabulous for walkers. We have enjoyed several beautiful walks around the Hafren Forest area and the Clywedog Reservoir in Powys where we were able to find solace quite easily on less well-known routes. We even had a lovely picnic on a beach all to ourselves on the shores of Clwedog Reservoir last summer. There are plenty of ideas for different walks in these areas. Try the Ordnance Survey’s “Get Outside” guide to give you an idea of possible routes if you’re not sure what to try first. Alternatively, look at the 135-mile Glyndŵr’s Way, a Welsh National Trail taking you from the southern edges of Snowdonia to the Brecon Beacons. For more information about this route and walks along it try this link- Walks on Glyndŵr’s Way | Visit Wales

(A lovely walk in the Hafren Forest with a fantastic accessible pathway through the forest)

Wildlife

One of the biggest draws for tourists in this area has got to be the Red Kite Feeding Centre at Gigrin Farm near the town of Rhayader. If you time it right, you can catch these elegant birds feeding at 3pm every day from March from one of the hides at this working farm. It truly is a spectacle! You might also see red kites if you visit Llanerchaeron in Ceredigion, (a National Trust Georgian villa), set in woods designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest,or even some otters or herons if you’re lucky. The Elan Valley Estate is another great place for wildlife enthusiasts. Within the Estate are twelve separate sites of Special Scientific Interest as well as Claerwen National Nature Reserve. The Estate itself has been awarded an International Dark Sky Park Award, so it’s also superb for star gazers.

Of course, if you hit the coast, you’ll be able to make the most of one of the best places in the UK to spot maritime wildlife! From Cardigan Bay you’ve got a good chance of spotting bottlenose dolphins as it’s home to the UK’s largest resident population. If you’re lucky, you might also spot a minke or humpback whale. Check out the “Dolphin sightseeing hot-spots” page at VisitWales.

Wild legends

There are plenty of castles in this area of Wales, many of which are shrouded in mystery and tales. Dolforwyn Castle, (which is free to access if you’re happy with a bit of a climb), was originally built by Welsh lord Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llywelyn the Last). He had been warned in 1273 by King Edward I not to build the castle. He told the King that he did not need the king’s permission to build on his own land and carried on regardless, provoking a battle and subsequent defeat in 1277. Montgomery Castle, another great option for history buffs, is just up the road from Dolforwyn.

For those visitors who love a good yarn, try The Devil’s Bridge on the route to Aberystwyth where according to legend, the original bridge was built by the Devil himself. The story goes that he built the bridge for a little old lady in exchange for her soul, or for the soul of the first person to cross it. Find out more at Devils Bridge Falls | A place of outstanding natural beauty.

Finally, there’s mystery galore at the Lost Legends of The Stone Circle and King Arthur’s Labyrinth. At these two attractions you can explore winding paths and meet different characters and their bewitching stories or even sail by underground boat to listen to tales of dragons. In visiting these two attractions at Machynlleth, you may even hear chilling legends of the Changelings, (babies who were supposedly switched with fairies).

Where can I stay ?

A tried, tested and much recommended touring site in the Mid Wales region is the beautifully landscaped Red Kite Touring Park. It’s a justifiably popular site, but even on Bank Holidays it feels tranquil and relaxing due to fields and forests which surround you. There is an exceptionally clean facilities block complete with dog shower and plenty of dog walks both onsite and offsite, as well as fishing and nature ponds. In fact, in many ways, it is doggie heaven! This is probably why we have returned as visitors for several years. It’s well located to Llanidloes, a market town around 30 minutes’ walk down the hill, with enough shops and pubs to keep you going if you don’t like cooking whilst you are away.

Another option for families is Fforest Fields Caravan and Camping Park, (Red Kite is an adults only site), whilst for glampers it also has a lakeside glamping field on part of the site. This means you can still get back to nature even if you don’t have your own accommodation.

Whatever site you choose, you’re bound to fall in love with this area of Wales if you give it a try!

For more information on each of the places mentioned, don’t forget to click the links to find out more! Please see the latest UK’s COVID-19 regulations in each country in the RESOURCES section for up-to-date advice on travelling this summer.

For more ideas on outside adventures, follow me at alifeoutsideblog.com. If you liked what you’ve read, don’t forget to like, or share this page too!

Published by Rachel Ellis-Lomas

As a keen caravanner and lover of the great outdoors, I have spent many hours planning and experiencing different destinations in the UK and Europe along with my husband and my four pawed fluffball, Cherry. I love discovering new places and particularly, areas less touched by mass tourism. Coming from an education background, I have also written articles and produced content for organisations in the leisure and education sector. I am passionate about writing and the great outdoors, so what better than to be able to blog about it? Like what you've read? Then get in touch about writing content, copy or proofreading services.

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