Launched in 2002, Glyndŵr's Way forms a satisfying circuit with the Offa’s Dyke Path and jigsaws between the holiday playgrounds of south Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. Despite this, most walkers haven’t caught on to this 135-mile tour through Mid Wales. That’s one good reason to sample a section.
Get off the beaten track
The Glyndŵr's Way National Trail is all about getting off the beaten track. Its nine-day route visits many of the sites connected with Wales' historic past. The trail is anchored by the trail heads of Welshpool, Knighton and Machynlleth, then midway it loops largely through Mid Wales.
On the complete route, you’ll walk through rolling farmland, open moor and heather-clad hills, and discover exhilarating views of Cader Idris and Plynlimon mountains. There are overnight stops in small towns like Llanidloes or lovely villages like Llanbadarn Fynydd, but you can travel for miles and only see the occasional farmer. What you will see, however, are red kites, peregrine falcons and buzzards – and maybe even a red squirrel.
To halve the length of a week's walking, start or finish at Machynlleth. Welshpool and Knighton are on major rail lines, while other sections of the trail are accessible by bus. Here are three walking routes to get you started.
Machynlleth to Llanbrynmair, 18.2 miles
It'll take a long day, but this route is an introduction that ticks all boxes. The highlights include a view across the Dyfi Valley to Cadair Idris’ brooding hulk and the Berwyn Mountains that lift out of farmland ahead. This walk is fairly flat, with a pub midway along Cemmaes Road. Regular buses allow an easy return from Llanbrynmair.
Knighton circuit, 12 miles
This route gives you a taste of the empty trails and sweeping views of Glyndŵr's Way on a day-long hike over farmland and moor from Knighton. We say 'empty trails', but this area is managed by the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, so expect all manner of flitting furry company en route.
Glyndŵr destroyed the 12th-century Cistercian abbey after he found its monks supporting the English, and its ruins add to the romance of the scenery around this village. Discover the granite tombstone of the last native Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, then pick up the Glyndŵr's Way again for an easy stroll beneath oak forests on rocky outcrops and red kites.
Llanidloes to Machynlleth, 27 miles
Here's a superb wild weekend for hikers. From Llanidloes, it’s a spectacular descent to Llyn Clywedog reservoir pooled behind Britain’s tallest concrete dam. Then, head into the hills, up the soft green sloped, back into the moors of the Cambrian Mountains and skirting around Glaslyn lake to reach the trail highpoint Foel Fadian for an unforgettable view down the Dulas Valley. Fortunately, it’s all downhill from here. There are also a selection of one-day walks in the area if you fancy exploring further, such as a 9.5 mile walk from Aberhosan to Machynlleth.