Mid, or central, Wales is widely considered to consist of the countries of Ceredigion, Powys and Gwynedd. Less populated than either North or South Wales, with a strong reliance on agriculture, the region is dominated by the Cambrian Mountains. Described by writers as the “Green Desert of Wales”, it’s home to some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain.
Major towns in mid Wales include Aberystwyth, Brecon and Builth Wells, and if you’re looking for a holiday destination, mid Wales has great train links, lots to do and some glorious views.
1. Join the change at the Centre for Alternative Technology
The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is an educational charity dedicated to researching and communicating positive solutions for environmental change. Nestled in the stunning UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere in Mid Wales, CAT is a world-renowned eco centre where you can discover a hidden world that is packed full of working examples of renewable energy, organic gardens, experimental green buildings and sustainably managed woodland habitats.
There are a number of events throughout the year and the visitor centre will help you to explore ways to help lower carbon emissions and achieve net-zero.
- World-renowned eco centre
- Sustainable woodlands & green buildings
- CAT Website
2. Explore Silver Mountain
Towards the western edge of the Cambrian Mountains is the silver-lead ore mine known as Llwernog Mine. Opened in the 1900s, the mine was an important source of galena - an ore of lead and a rich source of silver. By the 1970s however, the mine had closed and was falling into ruin.
In 1973 the mine and its remaining buildings were bought by Mid Wales Mining Museum Ltd, and an extensive restoration project began. Now called the Silver Mountain Experience, the site is home to a heritage museum, fossil dig, water play and so much more.
The museum is packed with mining equipment, tools and documents, while numerous original photographs show miners working the seams, and dressing the ore. Large water wheels and other pieces of machinery are displayed outside. The guided tours allow you to experience the life of miners deep below ground in the dust and dark.
There are hours of fun for children at Silver Mountain with treasure hunts, the magical Woo Hoo Woods and Tangle-Foot Maze. There’s even the opportunity to dig up their very own fossils to take home.
If you’re not faint-hearted, why not try a spot of ghost-hunting down in the mines themselves? Paranormal investigators, with the latest high tech equipment, will tackle the rumours head-on and see if the tunnels really are haunted. Are you brave enough to join them on a midnight hunt?
- Perfect for families
- Prices from £11.95
- Silver Mountain Website
3. Ride the Steam Trains on the Vale of Rheidol Railway
Whether you’re a railway enthusiast or not, there’s something about steam trains that everyone enjoys. The narrow-gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway runs through some of the most glorious countryside that Wales has to offer, and the journey between Devil’s Bridge and Aberystwyth is around 12 miles (19 km) long.
Millions of passengers have enjoyed this bygone way of travel, being pulled along by a lovingly restored 1920s steam engine, while relaxing in sumptuous Edwardian luxury. If you’re lucky, overhead you might spot red kites circling above the tracks. Magnificently graceful, these easily recognisable birds of prey are slowly increasing in number, but are still a joy to watch. At Devil’s Bridge station, the old weighbridge has been transformed into a den for one of Britain’s rarest mammals - the pine marten. Celebrating these beautiful predators, the Pine Marten Recovery Project is working hard to bring them back from the brink.
Guided by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers, learn to drive one of the lovely old locomotives - the 1923 Llywelyn or maybe the younger Prince of Wales. All the engines have kept their original colours and names, and you can find out the history of each in the railway’s museum. The workshop has a number of trains and carriages being brought back to glory, and seeing these great beasts close up is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.
- The train lovers dream
- Experience living history
- Vale of Rheidol Railway Website
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