Attractions in the Cambrian Mountains
To many, the scenery will be the first thing that attracts them to the Cambrian Mountains. This was the case with Shelley, Wordsworth and Turner, who all found inspiration here at one time. But man cannot live by scenery alone, and the communities which surround the mountains have long been interacting with the landscape, whether farming it, digging for minerals or shaping the earth into defensive works.
This is a process that has gone on since prehistoric times, as many enigmatic standing stones attest. We have mouldering walls and mounds that mark the site of medieaval castles, we have the remains of Cistercian monastries, the robbed out stone from which can still be seen in the many churches and chapels of our market towns. And in even the remotest spots, we have the evocative remains of industry, mine workings and water mills, that follow the veins of ore or the course of the many rivers that take their rise in the great watershed of the mountians.
Many museums, exhibitions and protected monuments tell the story of this heritage through the ages, and highlight the influence of the landscape on its people, and vice versa.
The mountains have inspired a rich vein of creativity over the centuries, and this persists today with many skilled artists and craftspeople choosing to live and work here. All disciplines are represented, making the towns and villages of the Cambrian Mountains a perfect place to experience art in all its forms. The many galleries and craft centres have locally inspired paintings and sculptures, and stock unique and unusual locally produced clothing, jewellery, arts and crafts.
With so much space and so little population, the Cambrian Mountains are a haven for many different species of flora and fauna. There are over 160 species of birds alone, with pride of place going to the magnificent Red Kite, bred back from virtual extinction in the heart of the mountains. Numerous nature reserves throughout the region offer excellent opportunites for viewing wildlife in their natural, and now protected habitats, whilst feeding centres offer the spectacle of seeing the resurgent and beautiful Red Kite up close.
In a previous century, the area was famous for its medicinal spas, a heritage celebrated in the names of many of its towns: Llanwyrtd Wells, Builth Wells, Llandrindod Wells, to name but the best known. These days, a new reputation is developing for holistic health and beauty treatments, which are very much in tune with the sense of balance and inner peace that the mountain scenery inspires.
Finally, many excellent and historic pubs, innumerable small and quaint cafés and restaurants, ensure that delicious local produce such as mountain lamb, Welsh black beef, local cheeses and organic vegetables are available for your enjoyment.
The only big attractions in the Cambrian Mountains are the mountains themselves. But you will be surprised and delighted by the many little things to explore and enjoy that you will find nestled away in the shadow of those mountains.