Post Lockdown Bucket List 2021
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the coronavirus lockdown is becoming tedious. Through the long dark of winter, we’ve been mostly cooped up indoors, unable to properly see family and friends. We’re now desperate for the sun to return and to get out and about. Back to normality.
Finally, it’s looking like late spring and summer could be a time to rejoice, as lockdown restrictions are eased. With this in mind, we can tentatively start planning where we would like to go. Because, let’s face it, we’re all bored of staying in our own localities. We want wide open spaces, nature, and a sense of adventure. So, where better than Wales?
Powys in Mid Wales is the lush, flourishing heart of the untamed west. A region of tumbling hills, windswept plateaus, raging rivers, and magical forests. It’s easily one of the most beautiful and dramatic parts of the UK. At Lake Country House, we know how lucky we are to call Mid Wales home, and we want to share it with you. Here’s a bucket list of places to visit in Powys post-lockdown.
No Mid Wales listicle can be taken seriously without the Brecon Beacons. This is an area of wild upland, creating a natural divide between south and Mid Wales—formed from the convergence of four mountain ranges, two of which are the atmospherically named Black Mountains. The peaks (such as the highest Pen y Fan) were used as locations for ancient signal fires, warning primeval settlers of attacks. This led to the term “beacons” being used to describe them.
The Brecon Beacons are a destination that draws people from all over the UK, for hiking and outdoor pursuits. Nowhere else this far south is so wonderfully rugged and free from urbanisation.
When was the last time you looked up into a starry night sky? The Brecon Beacons have also been awarded the status of Dark Sky Reserve. An internationally recognised accolade, owing to the pristine, light-free nights—perfect for stargazing.
The Elan Valley in the rugged Cambrian Mountains is another mecca for the outdoors in Wales. Though not natural, the biggest attraction is a series of dams and reservoirs. Huge, cold tracts of water surrounded by dense forest, with bleak moor rising behind. The environments here are varied, which makes it a haven for rare birdlife and plants.
When it comes to walking, the Elan Valley has something for everyone and owing to its popularity has good facilities, including a gift shop and café.
In the foothills of the Berwyn Mountains, in the northern reaches of Powys, lies the spectacular Lake Vyrnwy. A Victorian reservoir constructed in the 19th Century to supply water to Liverpool. In the process of creating the lake, the original village of Llanwddyn had to be submerged and its residents relocated. It now sits eerily under 84 feet of water and is legendary on diving forums.
The lake itself is surrounded by woods and unspoilt Welsh countryside, making it a scenic place for a stroll and a picnic.
Once the area now known as Hafren Forest was a treeless swathe of upland, with some abandoned lead mines. All that moved across the hills, were grazing sheep, and chill winds. Then in 1937, it was decided this area should be used to grow timber and Hafren Forest was born. However, unlike some commercial forests, Hafren has been carefully managed over the years, developing into a diverse nature reserve. Most notably, Hafren is home to the borderline mythical nightjar—a nocturnal bird rarely heard and almost never seen.
For exploration there are numerous trails to follow around the forest. If you’re feeling fit, you can trapse the Severn Trail which leads up past a dramatic waterfall to the source of the River Severn on Mid Wales’ highest peak Pumlumon.
The Wye Valley marks the eastern most boundary of Wales, and western most of England. It’s a pastoral place, of gently rolling hills and dense native woodlands, through which the Wye River winds. Rightly designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley is one of Wales’ most picturesque landscapes. Rather than mountain hikes, it’s leisurely ambles beneath the bows of old oaks and seeking out sunny spots by the river. A time-still place, for relaxing.
The beauty of the Wye Valley is such, that it captured the imagination of the romantic poets in the 18th Century, including the most famous, William Wordsworth. The peace and prettiness to be found here, is second to none.
Mid Wales “Wells” Spa Towns
In the 19th Century a new craze took over Britain, focused on the healing qualities of mineral rich water and the concept of visiting a spa became popular. Towns with water sources started becoming destinations for the tourists to come and cleanse themselves, physically and spiritually. In England, the heart of this craze was centred around, of course, Bath—renowned for its Roman baths.
In Wales, the centre of the spa industry was a collection of previously unknown towns in the heartland—known as the Wells—including Llandrindod Wells and Builth Wells. These became popular destinations for early wellness travellers. Nowadays, these pretty market towns serve as a hub for Mid Wales, with culture and arts, good food and drink, and as basecamps for wonderful Welsh adventures.
Enjoyed reading our blog? This is just one of many exploring what Wales has to offer. Go to our blogs page and keep discovering.