Mid Wales Marches | Wales | Walks | Accommodation | Castles | Activities
The 'Mid Wales Marches' refers to the land on the border between the Mid Wales Region and England. In past times, 'Marcher Lords' occupied the area that separated the principality of Wales from England, and many of the Lords were able to govern with certain rights held independently of the English King.
The rich military and political history has meant that some of the most important Mid-Wales market towns are found along the Mid Wales Marches. In the north of the region you will find Welshpool , Montgomery, and Newtown and heading south to the Brecon Beacons National Park to Hay and Abergavenny.
This quiet rural landscape is famed for the quality of its local produce which you can experience at on eof the many local farmers markets and food festivals. Castles, country houses and garden attractions, attractive market towns and excellant walking and cycling routes make this hidden gem on the Welsh border an area not to be missed.
The 132 mile Glyndwr's Way National Trail though Powys market towns of Knighton, Llanidloes, Machynlleth and Welshpool, follows the route taken by the 15th Century Welsh Prince Owain Glyndwr.
Walking the full route should take around 9 days, but it can be easily be walked in sections. As well as the added benefit of passing through some of the most unique and charming towns in Mid Wales, the combination of nature and history makes this a truly remarkable journey taking in the Cambrian Mountains and the Severn Valley along the way.
Offa's Dyke National Trail is one of the earliest of the National Trails. The 177 mile (285 km) long distance footpath must rate as the best walk in the UK. The route extends from the north Wales coast to Chepstow in South Wales and follows an 8th century earthwork, built by King Offa sometime between 756 and 796.
It is possible to start and finish from anywhere along the route, and Knighton in the Mid Wales Marches, is popular departure and arrival point and houses the Offa’s Dyke information Centre.
MID WALES MARCHES CASTLES
Powis Castle: The ancestral home of the Earl of Powys and the descendents of Clive of India. Powis Castle, like most Marches castles, dates back to the 12th century and since then has accommodated Queen Victoria and several Princes of Wales.
Powis Castle is heavily influenced by Italianate and French architecture, and is one of the most unusual and best preserved Welsh castles. Powis Castle gardens are world-famous and the museum’s collection is one of the richest in Wales.
The Montgomery Castle
that we see today are the remains of the stone castle built on the site of an earlier motte and bailey structure. The motte and bailey castle was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury. It then passed into the hands of Baldwin de Boulers before it was sacked by Prince Llewelyn in 1215 and rebuilt in stone. The stone castle survived an attack by Owain Glyndwr in 1402, but the town of Montgomery
did not and was left in ruins for two centuries.
Just four miles from Montgomery
, Dolforwyn Castle
was built in the 13th century to extend the influence of the Prince of Gwynedd, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, in the Severn Valley. As such Dolforwyn is a rare example that highlights the architectural differences between Welsh and English castles built in the marches. The sturdy but primitive structure fell into disrepair during the 15th century and was subsumed by the Earls of Powys, re-opening to the public in 2005.
The castle at Bronllys, a small village in between Brecon
and Talgarth, is a motte and bailey fortress that was built in the middle of the 12th century. Its first owner was Walter de Clifford who defended the castle against his father-in-law Llewelyn ab Iorwerth (Llewelyn the Great) in 1233 with just 200 men. After being fortified against attacks by Owain Glyndwr at the beginning of the 15th century the castle soon fell into disrepair and became the property of the crown. Bronllys Castle
is now under control of Cadw (the heritage arm of the Welsh Government) and opens from April to October.
Tretower: Tretower Castle
was originally built as a motte and bailey structure in the 12th century but by early in the 13th century had re-fortified its edifices with stone. The castle withheld an attack by Owain Glyndwr in 1404 but by that time the Herbert family had long since favoured the newly constructed and more luxurious Tretower Court
. Tretower Court passed into the hands of the Vaughan family under whose stewardship it remained until the end of the 18th century. Neglect and negligence followed until 1929 when the property was purchased by the government on behalf of the Brecknock Society, who have reopened the court as a historical and educational resource.