There’s probably nowhere in the UK more soothing than the historic county of Montgomeryshire, now the northern bit of Powys, bordering Shropshire. Bristling with castles and crossed by Offa’s Dyke, it has, like many border lands, a turbulent past, but the epithet most often applied is Mwynder Maldwyn, the “mildness of Montgomeryshire”. Both people and landscape are known for their gentleness – an alluring prospect for townies feeling ragged after months of worry and home-working.
It may not have dramatic countryside, but it felt very different from the rolling English fields we drove through to get here, with sheep-dotted knobbly green hills above twisting valley floors, and quiet, winding roads linking small villages and the odd market town.
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