Historic Mid Wales Guide
by Ben Johnson
Facts about Mid Wales
Population: Approx. 200,000
Famous for: Sandy beaches, The Great Desert of Wales
Distance from London: 4 – 6 hours
Highest Mountain: Pumlumon (752m)
Local delicacies: Welsh Rarebit, Faggots, Roast Lamb
Mid Wales is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the country, and as a consequence has some of the most unspoilt and dramatic scenery in the UK. Dominated by the Brecon Beacons National Park, this area was once home to around twenty Iron Age hill forts, many of which can still be seen to this day.
After the Roman invasion of Wales, a series of bases was established across the rugged terrain including Y Gaer where remains are still visible. The Brecon Beacons is also one of the few areas in Britain with a relatively well preserved Roman road, specifically the remains at Sarn Helen.
On the western coast is the university town of Aberystwyth, home of the National Library of Wales as well as being the centre of the Welsh language. A strange location for this role, as Aberystwyth was in fact one of the ‘new towns’ founded by English King Edward I after his invasion of Wales in the late 13th century!
Other important towns in mid Wales include Machynlleth, the ancient capital of Wales during Owain Glyndwr‘s reign in the early 15th century, as well as Lampeter, another university town located about an hour from Aberystwyth.