The northern part of Powys is made up of the old county of Montgomeryshire (Maldwyn), an area of enormously varying landscapes and few inhabitants. The solid little town of Llanidloes is a base for ageing hippies on the banks of the infant River Severn (Afon Hafren). To the east, the muted old county town of Montgomery, with its fine Georgian architecture, perches amid gentle, green hills above the border and Offa’s Dyke. Further north, Welshpool, the only major settlement, is packed in above the wide flood plain of the Severn; with its good pubs and hotels it’s a fair base for Montgomeryshire’s one unmissable sight, the sumptuous Powis Castle and its exquisite terraced gardens.

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