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Mid Wales

With a mix of traditional market towns, bustling harbours and seaside resorts - each town and village has a story to tell, there's over 75 miles of coast along Cardigan Bay, the highest waterfall in Wales, and a green landscape with more sheep than people!
Welshpool has the biggest sheep market in the country. Hay on Wye is just full of books and Dylan Thomas even wrote about New Quay (but called it Llareggub).

Mid Wales is ringed by the mountains of the Snowdonia National Park in the north and by the Brecon Beacons National Park in the south. To the east are the more gentle green hills of the border country - The Marches. The Cambrian Mountains form a backbone down through Mid Wales from north to south. Some of the towns can be seen as the gateways into Mid Wales.

The towns and villages along the coast are a joy to explore. The stone built villages of the Snowdonia National Park, Harlech and Llanbedr. The bright and breezy resort of Barmouth, Tywyn and Aberdyfi, whose harbour has been the subject of many paintings. Further south, visitors enjoy the sands at Borth, the boat filled marina at Aberystwyth, pretty Georgian Aberaeron, water activities at New Quay and Cardigan at the mouth of the Teifi estuary.

Brecon

A busy historical Cathedral, town on the banks of the River Usk. It is the hub of many of the activities that take place in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Take a stroll along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, take a ride on a canal barge or stop for a drink at a canalside pub.

The main event that draws visitors back to Brecon year after year is the Brecon Jazz Festival, a feast of sights, sounds and atmosphere.

Visit theBrecknockshire Museum to learn more about the history, natural history and Brecon Beacons area.

Why not visit Brecon farmers market held in the market hall 10am-2pm on second Saturday of every month except August.

Crickhowel

A wonderful Georgian town, with a 13th Century castle and a spectacular 17th Century river bridge boasting 13 arches on one side, but only 12 on the other! Crickhowell is a paradise for walkers and has developed an enviable reputation for superb food.

A short drive away is Talybont Falls, spectacular scenery and fantastic walking. History comes alive at Tretower Court and Castle, the Court originating in the 14th Century, garden tour also available.

Hay-On-Wye

This 'town of books'is internationally famous with more than 30 book shops selling over a million books, covering every conceivable subject. Home to the Hay Festival of Literature each summer, where you can be entertained by famous writers,musicians, poets and comedians.

 


Builth Wells

A lively agricultural town on the banks of the river Wye and home to Britain's biggest agricultural show, Royal Welsh Agricultural Show. The Wyeside Arts Centre provides live entertainment and cinema throughout the year.

Llandrindod Wells

A Victorian Spa town with grandiose public builidngs, wooded park and Lake to enjoy. Each summer the town celebrates its heritage with a Victorian Festival, and the Radnorshire Museum tells the story of the town through the centuries.

Visit Llandrindod Wells Farmers Market held in Middleton Street 9am-1pm on the last Thursday of the month. Other events include the Walking Festival in September and bowling competitions - indoors and outdoors - at international level. Nearby attractions inlcude a soft ball play barn for the youngsters or visit the Thomas Shop - this Victorian collection dates back to 1805 celebrating a time when the customer was always right, allowing you to indulge in memories of a time almost forgotten.


LLanwrtyd Wells

The smallest town in Britain, with lots going on, home to many wacky events, including bog snorkelling and Man Versus Horse marathons. Llanwrtyd Wells is very popular with mountain bikers, walkers and bird watchers.

Rhayader

Rhayader is a small historic market town on the banks of the River Wye, it is the oldest town in Mid Wales, dating back to the 5th century. Rhayader provides an excellent base for touring the beautifulElan Valley and the Cambrian Mountains. You will be sure to see the Red Kites here. Gigrin Farm feeds the kites every day allowing you to get close to these magnificent birds.

Knighton and Presteigne

A picteresque town with narrow rambling hillside streets. An ideal base for walking.

Knighton and Presteigne are home to one of three Cycle Break Centres across Mid Wales and the Brecon Beacons. Knighton itself is on the Radnor Ring, an 84 mile route along quiet lanes. Visit Knighton's Farmers Market held in the community centre 10am-1pm on the fourth Saturday of every month.

Newtown

Nestled on the banks of the river Severn, Newtown is the largest town in Mid Wales. With a traditional market hall, independent retailers and high street names, there is something to tempt all shoppers. Newtown is home to the contemporary Oriel Davies Gallery, the Robert Owen Museum amd boasts Theatr Hafren, with a full calendar of events throughout the year.

Welshpool

A busy market town, nestled in the upper reaches of the Severn Valley. Home to Powis Castle with it's magnificent gardens, a splendid world-renowned National Trust property. Enjoy a horse-drawn canal boat ride through picturesque scenery along the
Montgomery Canal, visit the Powysland Museum with relics of days gone by, or take a ride on the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway.

Visit Welshpools Farmers Market held in the Town Hall 9am-2pm on the first Friday of the month.

LLanfair Caereinion

Step back in time with a ride on the narrow guage railway to Welshpool, passing through glorious countryside in the Banwy Valley. Enjoy a picnic or a magical riverside walk and take in the scenery.

LLanidloes

A vibrant small town, whose four streets meet at the balck and white 17th century Market Hall, built on timber stilts, which now hosts a Timber Framed Buildings echibition.

Llanidloes is home to the Minerva Arts Centre, which holds various exhibitions each year. Travel through beautiful countryside to Llyn Clywedog with a range of water based activities or simply soak in the scenery.

Montgomery

A picturesque border town set around a central square, overlooked by the castle ruins, where plays and concerts are held. Offa's Dyke National Trail runs close by to the town, providing a good excuse to get on the boots and head off for a walk.

Machynlleth

The ancient capital of Wales, site of Owain Glyndwr's 15th Century Welsh parliament. 'Mach' is a small market town with a population of around 2000. It sits in the lower Dyfi Valley about 10 miles in from the coast and is home to the Centre of Alternative Technology and King Arthur's Labyrinth. The main street boasts attractive shops and galleries to browse around and find that unique gift to take home.

Llanfyllin and Lake Vyrnwy

Llanfyllin is a small town nestling in the foothills of the Berwyn Mountains, an ideal base for exploring the Mid Wales Countryside. At the nearby Lake Vyrnwy you can enjoy a 13 mile walk or cycle around the lake, stopping off to follow the sculpture trail.

 



 

BRECON BEACONS NATIONAL PARK

The National Park was established in 1957, the last of the three Welsh parks; Snowdonia was first in 1951 with the Pembrokeshire Coast being the other. It covers 519 square miles (1344 kmĀ²), 332 100 acres stretching from Llandeilo in the west to Hay-on-Wye in the east. It encompasses the ranges confusingly named the Black Mountains (in the east of the park, on the border with England) and the Black Mountain (in the west). The area to the west of the Brecon Beacons range is known as Fforest Fawr (Great Forest).

The western half of the National Park gained European and Global Geopark status in 2005. Fforest Fawr Geopark includes not only the historic extent of Fforest Fawr but also the Black Mountain and much of the central Brecon Beacons together with surrounding lowlands.

Most of the national park is moorland, with some forestry plantations, and pasture in the valleys. In 1966 the Brecon Beacons Mountain Centre was opened to better enable visitors and tourists to interpret the area.
On 22 May 2005, the first walk to span the entire length of the Brecon Beacons National Park was opened. The 100-mile (160 km) route, called The Beacons Way, runs from Abergavenny, through Crickhowell and ends in the village of Bethlehem, Carmarthenshire.

Activities in the park include walking, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, as well as sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and fishing its rivers and reservoirs, rock climbing, hang-gliding, caravanning, camping and caving. The Taff Trail also passes through the Beacons on its way from Brecon to Cardiff

The park is known for its waterfalls, including the 27-metre Henrhyd Waterfall and the falls at Ystradfellte, and its caves, such as Ogof Ffynnon Ddu

Due to its remoteness and the weather, the park is used for military training. The Special Air Service (SAS) is known for holding especially demanding selection training exercises here such as the Fan dance (exercise). The infantry regiments of the British Army all train at Sennybridge, where NCO selection also takes place.

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THE RED KITE 'FARM'

The Gigrin is a family run upland sheep farm of approximately 200 acres, owned and farmed by Chris Powell, and Mrs Lena Powell.
The land is 700 feet rising to 1200 above sea level giving us wonderful views of the Wye and Elan valleys here in mid-Wales.

Gigrin became the Official Red Kite Feeding Station in the winter 1992/93 following a request from the RSPB who had witnessed the late Mr Powell feeding the kites as and when food (rabbit) was available.

The RSPB had noted this spectacle and came to the farm with a proposal - that we should open to the public as the red kite feeding station as it would have an impact on the young kites that were being lost over the winter and would also draw people away from nesting sites where losses occurred due to the disturbance.

This was a major step into the unknown for what was a very successful livestock farm but Mr Powell had the foresight to take on the challenge and the farm is now far better known for the red kites than anything else.

Around 6 red kites were roosting on the farm at that time but by the winter of 2006 over 400 were coming in for food in the winter.
Red kites, being hungry when they awake, will hunt for food during the morning and early afternoon, so Gigrin is here as a top up or emergency ration.

The kites you see visiting are unlikely to have been here the day before as there is a rolling population of red kites during the week. This is similar to the feeding on any day, as there is a pecking order within the age groups etc. and will usually have gaps of several minutes between their arrival at the feeding station.

The aftermath of Foot & Mouth in 2001 brought with it licensing for the feeding of the kites with meat. Part of the stipulations led to the kite feeding area being fenced off from the grazing pasture.
This is to prevent the sheep ingesting grass on which there may be residues of the meat fed to the kites and not, as some would like to believe, any problems with kites and sheep.

Gigrin is now also the Red Kite Rehabilitation Centre in conjunction with The Welsh Kite Trust. This unit allows kites, that have fallen ill or been injured, to recuperate after having any required veterinary care elsewhere. We had our first patient on 1st January 2003.

 


 


 

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