Mid Wales is a great place for a short break and to enjoy the glorious autumn colours. Here are a couple of library shots of Powis Castle, Welshpool and Lake Vyrnwy.
Mid Wales is an ideal destination for a short break this autumn and winter as people look to boost their wellbeing by escaping to the countryside and seaside.
That’s the view of the woman who heads up the independent organisation representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
Val Hawkins, chief executive of MWT Cymru, believes the glorious Mid Wales countryside and seaside beaches are the perfect places to recharge the batteries and boost mental and physical wellbeing.
The region has a wealth of things to see and do, from the fantastic autumn colours of woodland and forests and rare animals, birds and plants in wildlife reserves to calming lakes, rivers and canals and fabulous, sandy beaches.
That’s not to mention wild moorland areas that are crying out to be explored, mountains and hills to climb and scenic walks and cycle rides to follow.
For the more adventurous, there are adrenalin pumping mountain bike courses, fascinating mine exploration trips that delve into the region’s rich industrial history and exhilarating coasteering.
For those seeking a more chilling break, there are numerous castles and ruins to discover, relaxing trips on steam railways, interesting market towns with independent shops to explore for Christmas gifts and lots of great country hotels and pubs with cosy log fires and quality self-catering accommodation to enjoy.
If you want to bring your dogs with you, check out the many dog-friendly places on the Visit Mid Wales website https://www.visitmidwales.co.uk/ which is a rich source of information about the region. Visitors are literally spoilt for choice.
“The autumn and winter months are the perfect time of the year for people to escape to our Mid Wales countryside for a short break to boost their wellbeing,” said Val.
“There is no better place to recharge the batteries than Mid Wales. Visitors have been escaping to our rural region, when they have needed to get away from the challenges of urban life, for decades.”
Emphasising that there is so much for visitors to see and do in Mid Wales, she added: “You don’t need to be a mountaineer to take advantage of our wonderful outdoor space.”
She highlighted the opportunities for visitors to enjoy riverside, canal and woodland walks and cycle rides as individuals, couples, families and groups.
One of the most attractive walks takes visitors from Hafren Forest, near Llanidloes, which has riverside boardwalks for those in wheelchairs, to the source of the River Severn on the Plynlimon mountain range.
Research has shown that spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit mental and physical wellbeing.
It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anxiety, help you feel more relaxed, improve your physical health, confidence and self-esteem and help you become more active, make new connections and provide peer support.
Charity Mind has pages on its website dedicated to how nature can benefit mental health - https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/ideas-to-try-in-nature/
It suggests trying a range of outdoor activities including walking and exercising in green space, letting animals and nature inspire painting, poetry and song lyrics, outdoor picnics, watching the stars, which is great in Mid Wales where light pollution is low, following a woodland trail, beachcombing, geocaching and being mindful of nature.
Tom Cave and Dale Furniss on their way to victory on the Visit Conwy Cambrian National Rally.
Photo credit: Dan Morris, Apex Capturee.
Tom Cave’s return to top-level national rallying for the first time in more than two years resulted in a resounding victory on the Visit Conwy Cambrian National Rally on Saturday.
The talented driver, whose family owns the Trefeddian Hotel in Aberdovey, led the event from start to finish, showing he had lost none of his former pace by going on to win by a margin of 21.5 seconds.
Based in Llandudno - the town that hosted the last running of the Wales Rally GB in 2019 – meant the day brought back fond memories for Tom, who finished 11th overall and top privateer on that occasion.
The Rally GB connection was also reflected in the Cambrian Rally’s route, with its six stages utilising many of the forestry roads that were used in the World Rally Championship qualifier.
Tom tested the Melvyn Evans Motorsport Volkswagen Polo R5 last week and, even though it was his first outing in a VW, he quickly acclimatised to the car and its characteristics.
Accompanied by Dale Furniss, it was Tom’s first outing in an R5 car since June 2021. As soon as the lights went green on the first stage, an 8.93-mile run through Elsi Forest, he was up to speed from the word go, even in the slippery conditions, setting a time 10.2 seconds quicker than leading British Rally Championship driver Garry Pearson, who finished second with Max McRae third.
“Today has reminded me why I love the sport so much,” said Tom afterwards. “It’s great to get back behind the wheel of a top-class car and drive these stages. It’s also great to experience that winning feeling again.
“The Polo ran perfectly all day and I have to thank the Melvyn Evans Motorsport team for giving me such a great car to drive. I must also thank Dale for doing such a good job on the notes and to everyone who has helped me to take part in this event. Without their support it just wouldn’t have been possible.
"I now can’t wait to be back out again and really hope we can put a full season campaign together for 2024.”
Tom’s Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally campaign was supported by: Go Fetch, ALG Security, GF Grigg Construction, Tayna Batteries, Garej Arwyn Cyf, Mid Wales Golf Academy, Atech Racing, The Unicorn Hotel Caersws, SJ Automotive Solutions, Graham Ottaway Builders, HN Nuttal Foodservice, Dovey Valley Shooting Ground and Sprinklers Direct.
New steam locomotive ‘Falcon’ number 10.
The next major project for Corris Railway will be extending the line southward from Maespoeth Junction to Pont Y Goedwig which will double the length of the journey for passengers.
The work includes completing a new embankment and bridging Goedwig stream itself. The embankment is needed because part of the original line route was lost to A487 road improvements
The annual Santa Trains will run on December 9 and 10, headed by the railway’s other steam locomotive ‘Tattoo’ number 7. Details of these and advance bookings can be seen and made at www.corris.co.uk .
Volunteers will continue with other projects during the winter, including the latest new build carriage which is moving towards completion in the workshops at Maespoeth Junction.
When finished, the carriage will offer first class accommodation for the first time in the history of the railway’s revival.
A new trestle waggon has also been completed which will allow the railway to demonstrate how slabs of slate were once conveyed along the Dulas Valley from quarries to the mainline station at Machynlleth.
Painting, track maintenance and control of lineside vegetation is always ongoing and more volunteers are welcome.
The Vale of Rheidol Railway (VoR) at Aberystwyth is negotiating to acquire the Brecon Mountain Railway (BMR).
This merger represents an historic milestone for both railways and safeguards the future of the BMR for future generations to enjoy.
The VoR has a rich history dating back to 1902. Known for its breath-taking journeys from the coast at Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge in the Cambrian Mountains, it has been continuously operating as a tourist railway for 120 years, carrying visitors from across the globe. It has a unique history as the last steam railway to be operated by British Rail.
By contrast, the BMR is a much newer railway, built by Tony Hills and his business partner Peter Rampton as a narrow gauge railway using the track bed of the former Brecon and Merthyr Railway.
The line climbs through the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park with picturesque views of the Taf Fechan reservoir. The locomotives and rolling stock give a flavour of American Narrow gauge railways.
The Mid Wales railways have a history of collaboration, with BMR successfully acquiring the Rheidol line in 1988 when it was put up for sale by British Rail (BR).
Both lines operated under unified management until 1996, at which point it was decided to establish them as distinct entities, with Mr Hills overseeing the BMR and Mr Rampton taking charge of the VoR.
In the intervening years, both railways have invested significantly in enhancing their offerings, with BMR extending services to Torpantau and the VoR developing new workshops, restoring stations and launching new visitor facilities.
Regrettably, Mr Hills died in 2015 followed by Mr Rampton in 2019.
This new merger will bring a range of benefits to both railways and their visitors:
VoR managing director Llŷr ap Iolo said: “This proposed acquisition seems the natural progression for the Vale of Rheidol to carry on the legacy of both Tony Hills and Peter Rampton.
“Having worked with them for over 30 years, it will be a privilege for us to continue Tony’s work with the American two foot gauge theme of the BMR.”
BMR managing director Matthew Hills, son of Tony, said: “Bringing the two railways back together will not only guarantee the future of BMR but also the development of the railway.
“I and my fellow director believe that this is the best way to secure the future of the railway and my father’s legacy “
The two railways will continue to operate as separate entities, each with its unique charm and character. The VoR is expected to take over BMR operations next spring.
For more information, please visit the official websites of the Vale of Rheidol Railway (www.rheidolrailway.co.uk) and the Brecon Mountain Railway (www.bmr.wales).
The VoR is a member of MWT Cymru (Mid Wales Tourism), an independent organisation representing around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
Richard Shackelford (second from left) from the Motor Neurine Disease Association receives a cheque from Ron Skilton Memorial Half Marathon organising committee members Mike Thomas (left) and Bob and Karen Greenough.
The contribution Ron Skilton made to Green Events in Llanwrtyd Wells was remembered during a half marathon which raised more than £700 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association on Sunday.
One hundred runners competed in the annual Ron Skilton Memorial Half Marathon, a “tough but fun” race along a figure of eight route, mainly off-road and passing through magnificent mountainous scenery.
Winner of the men’s race by just two seconds was Eric Apperley from Knighton, representing Croft Ambrey Running Club, in a time of 1 hour 40.06 minutes, narrowly beating David Thomas from Builth Wells. The women’s race was won by Wendy Price from Llandovery in 1 hour 53.24 minutes.
The annual event, which began in 2006, is organised by Green Events, of which Ron was treasurer before MND took his life in December, 2005. Money raised by the half marathon went to the charity researching the disease.
“In his younger years, Ron was a keen runner and cyclist, so we felt that an annual half marathon would be a fitting tribute as well as a way to remember him and celebrate his life,” said Bob Greenough from Green Events.
“Around half of the marshals on the day were members of the Skilton family who travelled from different parts of the UK to be with us.
“Thanks to all those who took part, the local people who turned out on the day to support the event and all the local landowners involved. Next year, we hope to attract even more competitors.
“We are delighted to be able to attract visitors to the area, provide a very decent competition and support worthy charities at the same time.”
Green Events is a member of MWT Cymru (Mid Wales Tourism), an independent organisation that represents around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
The National Library of Wales
Brand new and exciting works of art have been welcomed to the National Art Collection in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
As part of the library’s Anti-Racist Project, four artists – Joshua Donkor, Jasmine Violet, Mfikela Jean Samuel and Dr Adéọlá Dewis – have received a commission to create new works of art in response to its collections, whilst facing some difficult or challenging aspects of history.
The result is new works of art which contribute to the library’s work to decolonise the collections and which contribute to improving the diversity of art so that it can be a better reflection of Wales.
Joshua's work is a portrait of the writer Eric Ngalle Charles which will be a valuable addition to the 15,000 items in the library's portrait archive.
Jasmine has based her work on an image and maps within the library’s collections, that portray the sugar plantations in 18th century Jamaica that have a Welsh connection and focuses on the difficult and controversial history of slavery and colonialism.
The new work by Mfikela responds to British Government publicity maps of West Africa that were created in the 1940s and distributed through Central Information Office. Her work draws attention to what was omitted and looks at how maps influence our perception of the world.
Dr Dewis has chosen to focus on the connections between the Fari Lwyd and the Jonkonnu festival in Jamaica in her work. She uses the library's graphic collections that portray the Fari Lwyd as a starting point.
Rhian Gibson, the library’s director of communications, engagement and partnerships, said: “The work of ensuring that our collections represent the diverse history and experiences of the people of Wales is central to the library's work and core to our strategic aims.
“We're extremely glad therefore to welcome these new works, which will enhance representation within the National Art Collection.”
Morfudd Bevan, the library’s art curator, said: “It has been a great experience working with these four extremely talented artists on this very important project. It is essential that we have open and honest conversations about our collections in order to create improvements and to educate ourselves about the hidden history of Wales.”
During October, Black History Month, the library is celebrating acquiring these works by displaying them and with two special events. Joshua’s portrait will be on display in the Reflections exhibition for the month, whilst works by Jasmine and Mfikela can be seen in the Wales to the World exhibition in the Riverside Gallery, Haverfordwest, which runs until February 24 next year Dr Dewis’ work will be on display in the library soon.
On Tuesday this week, at the library, Joshua and the author Eric Ngalle Charles discussed the portrait, their careers and connections between Wales and Cameroon with the poet Ifor ap Glyn.
Today (Thursday) at 5pm, at the Riverside Gallery, Haverfordwest, Jasmine and Mfikela will discuss their work in a conversation with the library’s assistant curator of maps, Ellie King. They will look at the challenges and importance of decolonisation through the prism of maps and art.
Gethin Price and Matthew Baddeley competing in this year’s championship in their Nissan Micra.
Picture by Paul Mitchell Photography.
Many of the UK’s most famous, challenging and popular forestry stages in Mid Wales will once again come together to form the 2024 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship.
Next year will be the 13 consecutive year of title sponsorship from Pirelli, which has supported the series every year since 2012.
The Welsh Association of Motor Clubs organised series will contain seven rounds, with five of the best scores to count. All events will be one day, with a maximum of 45 stage miles.
Next year’s series will begin with the Get Jerky Rally North Wales on Saturday, March 16. Organised by Wolverhampton & South Staffs Car Club, this year’s event featured a fantastic start and finish ceremony in the centre of Welshpool, with stages in Dyfnant and Dyfi forest complex.
Round two will be the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages on Saturday, April 13. Organised by Midland Manor Motor Club, the event will feature stages in Myherin, Sarnau, Sweet Lamb and Hafren forests and be based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd.
Next up will be a visit to Bala for the Plains Rally on Saturday, May 18. Organised by Knutsford & District Motor Club, the event features stages in the Aberhirnant, Llangower and Alwen forests.
The Nicky Grist Stages will host round four on Saturday, July 13. Organised by Quinton Motor Club, the event is based in the centre of Builth Wells with stages in Llyn Login, Crychan, Halfway and Monument, situated in and around the nearby Epynt military range.
Round five will be the Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Stages. Organised by Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club, this year’s event had an exciting new format with stages in Cwmysgawen, Ceri and Haye Park forests and next year the event will take place on Saturday, September 7.
The sixth and penultimate round will be the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally on October 26, based in Llandudno and the final round will be the Wyedean Rally on Saturday, November 16.
“Organisers are taking rallying to the people, with more town centre starts and ceremonial finishes planned,” said championship secretary Dave Evison. “Whilst some events have moved their rally base in recent years, others are looking to do so with the aim to bring more stages on board, all of which is proving very popular with contenders.
“2024 will no doubt bring plenty of challenges and also plenty to celebrate. We hope our many loyal competitors will come and join us again for the ride and, along with, we hope, many newcomers, they will enjoy competing on some world class stages Wales has to offer.”
Further details on the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship can be found online at: wnrc.wamc.org.uk.
Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville-Roberts, MS Mabon a Gwynfor, MWT Cymru chairman Rowland Rees-Evans, chief executive Val Hawkins, operations manager Zoe Hawkins and director Meurig Jones with members Caroline Cave, William Moeran, Colin Markham, Sian Jones and Kirsty Busfield outside The Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdyfi.
Plaid Cymru leaders in Dwyfor Meirionnydd have emphasised the importance of Mid Wales tourism and hospitality businesses having their voices heard in Cardiff and Westminster as they deal with a raft of new rules impacting their sector.
Liz Saville-Roberts and Mabon ap Gwynfor, MP and MS respectively for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, were speaking after meeting staff, directors and members of MWT Cymru (Mid Wales Tourism) at the Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdyfi on Monday morning.
They warmly welcomed the opportunity to meet with MWT Cymru directors, staff and businesses from their constituency. Plaid Cymru has a co-operation agreement with the Welsh Government which allows them to influence policy.
Mr ap Gwynfor pledged to ask Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, to meet MWT Cymru members to hear first-hand the trading challenges they face.
The meeting is the last in a series that MWT Cymru has organised to meet MPs and Members of the Senedd representing, Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia. The independent, not for profit organisation represents around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across the region.
Mrs Saville-Roberts and Mr ap Gwynfor heard about the challenges facing MWT Cymru members, which included the potential impact on rural Wales of the Welsh Government’s taxation and licensing of self-catering accommodation and a proposed tourism levy and the cost of living crisis.
Affordable homes which allow local people to remain living in their communities and the need for infrastructure investment were also discussed.
MWT Cymru members called for the Welsh Government to develop policies to positively support and promote the growth of tourism in Mid Wales.
MWT Cymru’s chairman Rowland Rees-Evans, chief executive Val Hawkins, MBE and William Moeran, general manager of The Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdyfi, gave an overview of the tourism and hospitality sectors in Mid Wales.
Other speakers included MWT Cymru director Meurig Jones, location manager at Portmeirion, Caroline Cave, a director of the Trefeddian Hotel, Kirsty Busfield, co-owner of The Old Vicarage, Corris, Colin Markham, whose family own a farm and holiday let businesses near Tywyn and Sian Jones from Macdonald Plas Talgarth Resort, Pennal.
Mr ap Gwynfor said: “It was a really useful and informative meeting and also good to develop a relationship with people working in the sector. It has highlighted the importance of individual businesses and the sector as a whole to our communities, economy and culture.
“I am looking forward to developing this relationship to represent the views of MWT Cymru in the Senedd and in discussions in the Welsh Government. We need to ensure that the tourism sector in Mid Wales gets the investment and attention that it deserves and we have a fantastic tourism offer here – the best in the world, I think.”
Mrs Saville-Roberts added: “This meeting has improved our understanding of the critical role of family tourism businesses in Mid Wales, the challenges they are facing and the opportunities the industry can provide to Wales, so long as their voice is heard and their experience is included in future legislation.”
Mr Rees-Evans, managing director of Penrhos Park, Llanrhystud, said it was important that MWT Cymru continues to engage with and influence political leaders.
“It was nice that we, as tourism businesses here in Mid Wales, were able to sit around the table to discuss decisions made in the Welsh Government. We all know that there are a few heavy trains coming down the line that we will have to deal with in the coming months.”
More than 1,000 school children and students visited last year’s winter Fair
Free entry for organised school trips is being offered by the upcoming Royal Welsh Winter Fair on November 27 and 28.
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) promotes agricultural science, research and education, particularly in the areas of food, farming and the countryside, as one of its main charitable objectives.
Therefore, free admission is offered to school children and reduced admission for higher education students to learn more about agriculture during the two-day event.
The Winter Fair is unique to other RWAS events as it takes place during term time. Each year, more schools and colleges are seeing the educational value of attending this event to learn about food production, the supply chain and agricultural organisations.
More than 1,000 school children and students from across Wales and over the border visited last year’s event.
Touching on many aspects of the curriculum, a visit to the Winter Fair is a great opportunity for students to learn about agriculture in relation to business studies, cooking and nutrition, animal welfare, geography, mathematics and much more.
This year, the RWAS is launching an exciting new educational programme in the Members Centre. The educational offering will be for learners of all ages, including primary, secondary school children, higher education students and adult learners.
The programme will focus on understanding important facts that support farming principles, such as the basics of growing in healthy soil.
Speakers include Michael Kennard from the Compost Club, gardener, educationalist, and S4C presenter Adam Jones (Adam yn yr ardd), NFU Cymru deputy president and Cows on Tour co-founder, Abi Reader, Montgomeryshire farmer and NFU member, Jonathan Wilkinson and David Elias, a Snowdonia National Trust conservationist and author of Shaping the Wild.
All school trips must register and pre-book their tickets prior to the event. The Winter Fair is free for primary and secondary school children under the age of 16 and a reduced admission fee of £5 is offered to higher education students.
The closing date for registration is Friday, October 27. Email: email@example.com or call 01982 553863 before the closing date.
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