The hills and plains of northern Montgomeryshire conceal a maze of deserted lanes along the contours that swell up towards the north and the foothills of the Berwyn mountains. The only town of any size is Llanfyllin, ten miles northwest of Welshpool, a handsome place with a Thursday market. Continuing west, you’ll come to Lake Vyrnwy; pressing north there’s Pistyll Rhaeadr, Wales’s highest waterfall.
A monument to the self-aggrandizement of the Victorian age, Lake Vyrnwy (Llyn Efyrnwy) combines its functional role as a water supply for Liverpool with a touch of architectural genius in the shape of the huge nineteenth-century dam at its southern end and the turreted straining-tower that edges out into the icy waters. It’s a magnificent place, with a number of nature trails, and a popular spot for walking and birdwatching. The Coed-y-Capel hide, at the northern end of the lake, is dedicated to spotting peregrines, and in the small hide across the road from the RSPB Visitor Centre, you can sit and watch forest birds attacking the feeders outside the windows.