Montgomeryshire

The ancient county of Montgomery occupies the upper basin of the River Severn, which rises to the west in the Cambrian Mountains. The spectacular scenery can be enjoyed either on the rail journey from Welshpool to Machynlleth,on the narrow guage Welshpool and Llanfair railway, or by road. The latter allows visitors to take in a wide range of activities, both historical and viticultural.

Powys Castle

Leave WELSHPOOLtown centre on the A490 towards Newtown. After about a mile, turn right to the castle entrance. The castle was built in 1200 by the Princes of Powys, and was home for centuries to the Herbert Family who greatly enhanced it. In 1784, Lady Henrietta Herbert married Clive of India. The famous gardens, now run by the National Trust, were laid out in Italian and French styles, and feature their original lead statues, an orangery and an aviary on the terraces. In the 18th century an informal woodland wilderness was created on the opposite ridge. There is a licenced restaurant.

Penarth Vineyard

Leave Powys Castle , travelling south-west on the A490 and join the A483 towards Newtown, passing the turns to Berriew and Abermule. About 2.5 miles beyond the Abermule turn, turn left into the Penarth Estate. Given advance notice, tours of the vineyard are available.To arrange this, ring 01686 610 383 in advance to ensure that someone is there to greet you.The farm shop is open daily from Noon to 4.p.m. The estate produces classic grapes- Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and sparkling and still wine made from these grapes are on sale. Full details at vineyard web site

Newtown

On leaving Penarth, continue South-West on the A483 to the roundabout in Newtown. The town boasts a museum that illustrates the history of the flannel industry that once dominated the town. The museum, in Commercial Street, gives a comprehensive picture of living and working conditions for the early 19th century workers, and describes the development of the manufacture of woollen flannel in Newtown.
Leave Newtown on the A489 signposted Ludlow. After about 9 miles, turn left on the B4385 to Montgomery. Just by this junction runs Offas Dyke, built on the orders of Offa, who was King of Mercia from 757 to 796 AD. It marks the ancient boundary between Powys and Mercia and today, provides a footpath through spectacular Marches countryside.A popular starting point is the Blue Bell in nearby Churchstoke.

Montgomery

Montgomery lies just to the west of the dyke, and features a spectacular castle which was initially built by Roger of Montgomery some time between 1071 and 1074. The stone castle, whose ruins can be visited, was built between 1223 and 1228, and is the place at which Henry III signed a treaty with Llwellyn ap Gruffydd, the Prince of Wales.

Finally, leave Montgomery going northwards and return to Welshpool

Other local places to visit

  • Glansevern Gardens - on left of A483, just beyond Berriew turn
  • Dorforwyn Castle - Fortress of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd - entrance just by Abermule turn

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