Top 5 Walking Routes in Mid Wales

Published: 2020-12-21 / Author: Lake Country House
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Wales is a realm of abundant forests and rugged mountain tops. Of rolling pastures and winding rivers. Of lonely coast and lost upland roads. Wales is beautifully bleak and gently bucolic at the same time. It’s not so much a place to be visited as immersed in, explored, and cherished for a lifetime. Once you arrive, you’ll not want to leave. 

In Wales’ lush heart you’ll find some of the best walks in the UK. Here are five we’ve handpicked to help you out on your Welsh adventure. 

Offa's Dyke Walk

Offa’s Dyke Path 

This 177-mile trail follows a dyke, which was ordered to be constructed by King Offa in the 8th Century. It was likely to divide his kingdom, Mercia, from rival kingdoms. The trail starts life on the English and Welsh border near Chepstow at the Sedbury Cliffs, on the River Severn. A fossil hunter’s paradise. 

The early stages of the trail wend through the Welsh Marches, a time-still pastoral swathe of farmlands that make up the border between England and Wales.  From here it makes its way to the windswept heights of the Brecon Beacons, following the dramatic Hatterrall Ridge, before heading north—through the rolling hills of Mid Wales. The trail comes to an end on the shores of the cold Irish sea in the Northern Wales. On its epic journey it crosses the border into England 20 times and links together three areas of outstanding natural beauty. 

For more information click here. 

Elan Valley Reservoir

Elan Valley

The Elan Valley, part of the Cambrian Mountains, is easily one of the most popular walking destinations in Wales. The reservoirs here, cloaked by stark pine ridges and mossy mixed woodlands offer accessible walking routes. 

Though the nearby town of Rhayader is a mecca for outdoorsy types from around Wales, this part of the country is very rural and untouched. As such, on cloudless nights, the sky here is awash with stars. It’s so spectacular the Elan Valley has achieved “dark sky status”, meaning there is little light pollution, making it a wonder for stargazing and astral studies. 

For more information click here.

Mynydd Epynt

Epynt Way

This long-distance path is for those that like to disappear into wide open spaces away from everything. The Epynt Way was created by the Ministry of Defence in 2004 at the edge of its Sennybridge training area. Mynydd Epynt, the location of the path, is an exposed upland area of Mid Wales, between the Brecon Beacons and the River Usk Valley. Translated into English its poetic name is “mountains crossed by a Horse Path”. 

When you’re hiking or cycling here watch out for red kites soaring and listen for the far-off rumble of mortars. Mynydd Epynt is a sublime and sombre place, perfect for thinking your own thoughts. 

For more information click here.

Wye Valley

Wye Valley

William Wordsworth, the era defining Romantic poet, had a soft spot for the Wye Valley—immortalising it in his poem Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye. He describes a quiet land of lofty cliffs and greenness, interspersed by quaint cottages, and seems entranced by its loveliness. If the Wye Valley was enough to inspire one of the greatest writers ever to have lived, it must be quite something. Today it has the accolade of being a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.   

The Wye River was once voted the “nation’s favourite river” and gently meanders from high ground in Mid Wales towards the Severn, flanked by shady groves and limestone gorges. There are all sorts of walks here, of varying lengths. How long do you have? 

Another wonderful thing about the Wye Valley is its birdlife. It’s home to some rare species, including nightjars, ravens, peregrine falcons, whitebeam, and goshawks. Take an ident book with you and see what you can spot. 

For more information click here


Severn Way

The River Severn originates at the highest point in the Cambrian Mountains, on the remote and lonesome Plynlimon plateau, where a giant is said to sleep. The Severn Way is a trail that follows the river from its source through the tumultuous valleys of Mid Wales and western England all the way to the Severn beach in South Gloucestershire. This is a walk packed with historic market towns such as Llanidloes, Shrewsbury, Tewksbury, and Gloucester.

If you’re out travelling around the full moon, keep watch for the Severn Bore. This is a tidal swell, or wave, formed in the Bristol Channel, which comes racing up the river. Strong enough to surf. The Severn Estuary has one of the most prominent tidal ranges in the world, approximately 43ft—only surpassed by a couple of places in Canada. If you see it, remember to stay back unless you fancy getting wet. 

For more information click here.

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