Car-free WelshpoolPowys

A steamy ride on the Welshpool & Llanfair light railway, a stroll up to medieval Powis Castle, or an epic journey along the Cambrian Line to the coast: Welshpool has a variety of great car-free trips for visitors. Set among rolling green hills, with sheep-scattered slopes and banks of bracken and foxgloves, there’s a nostalgic air about the bunting-strung market town. Woodcarvings and colourful bird sculptures mark the Powysland museum, housed in a cheerful old warehouse beside the Montgomeryshire canal; and the High Street has old-fashioned shops, Georgian coaching inns and a series of wonderfully ramshackle stalls under the brick arches of the clock-towered market.

  1. Walk the Severn Way (or something less strenuous)

    Following the River Severn from the source to the sea, this 210 mile route starts on the remote Plynlimon plateau in Mid-Wales before heading through Llanidloes and Newtown into Welshpool. It goes on to Shrewsbury and Ironbridge before heading south through Tewkesbury and Gloucester to the Severn Beach at Bristol.

    • The fifteen-mile walk from Newtown to Welshpool along the canal has mainline railway stations at each end.
    • Some less strenuous walks start from stations along the Welshpool and Llanfair railway, making it easy to combine strolling and train rides.
    • The Glyndŵr’s Way National Trail starts close to the Welshpool station. Follow the trail up through the parkland of Llanerchydol Hall, with glimpses of the neo-gothic mansion, and then out onto the bare hills, heading for the heights of Y Golfa.
    • After two miles, you can branch off the trail and return via a wooded cwm (or valley) to the little wayside halt at Sylfaen and rest your feet on the train back to Raven Square. A book by Steve Page, with more walks from W&LLR stations, is available at the railway’s shops.
  1. Cambrian line to and from Shrewsbury

    The epic 120-mile ride from Shrewsbury to the Welsh coast is one of Britain’s great scenic railway journeys. Crossing the border between England and Wales and running through hills and mountains to the sea, it runs from the bustling medieval market town of Shrewsbury, through the sheep-speckled hills of mid Wales, and on to the Cambrian Coast.

    • For a foodie trip, head to Shrewsbury, with its wide choice of restaurants – try Turkish-style grilled meat at the Istanbul BBQ (istanbulbbqrestaurant.com) or inventive tapas nights at Number Four (www.number-four.com).
    • Pick up one of the window gazer guides from Shrewsbury station to find out more about people and places along the way, many with important links to Welsh history and culture.
    • The next stop after Welshpool, Newtown, was home to the Pryce Jones warehouse, which operated the world’s first mail order service – supplying underwear to Queen Victoria!

     

Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount