Set amidst rolling borderlands, Welshpool describes itself as the gateway to Wales. It is certainly the first place visitors from the Midlands arrive at as they cross the nearby river Severn on their way to the seaside along the Cambrian Coast.p>Its original English name of Pool reflected the area’s proximity to the water table. More so the Welsh name Y Trallwng, which means “sinking ground”.
History has shaped this town, from the trashing by Owain Glyndwr in 1400, through mediaeval times as a bustling border market town, to the industrial revolution which brought the Montgomeryshire canal which passes through the middle and has left its own architectural trail. And today, Welshpool is home to the Smithfield livestock market – one of the largest of its kind in Europe.
An interesting mix of local and national shops adorn the High Street and the town still has a vibrant bustle, despite the draw of larger towns nearby.
What Welshpool has in abundance, though, is stuff to do. The airport aside that is. Principal among the attractions must be the stunning gem that is Powis Castle. A red sandstone 13th Century masterpiece of architecture and landscaping which overlooks the Severn valley from its prominent position south of the town. There is, as already mentioned, the semi-disused Montgomeryshire canal which has a towpath walk which runs for 30 miles or so. And while you’re out walking, Offas Dyke path and Glyndwr’s Way are here too.
The Welshpool and Llanfair narrow guage railway terminus station is at Raven Square. And the old Railway station at the other end of town now houses the Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Why not also visit, the restored cock-fighting pit, Powysland museum or browse the stalls at the indoor market.