Eastern Montgomeryshire's chief town of WELSHPOOL (Y Trallwng) lies in the valley of the River Severn, just three miles from the English border, and is an attractive place to visit, with a number of fine Tudor, Georgian and Victorian buildings in the centre, and the fabulous Powis Castle nearby.
Along Severn Street from the train station, a humpback bridge over the much-restored Montgomery Canal hides the canal wharf and a wharfside warehouse that has been carefully restored as the Powysland Museum (Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri 11am–1pm & 2–5pm; May– Sept also Sat & Sun 10am–1pm & 2–5pm; Oct– April also Sat 11am–2pm; £1). The impressive local history collection includes archeological nuggets such as those from an old local woodhenge, and displays medieval remains from the now-obliterated local Cistercian abbey of Strata Marcella.
From the Royal Oak Hotel, at the centre of town, follow Broad Street – which changes name five times as it rises up the hill – towards the tiny Raven Square terminus station of the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway (April to late May, Sept & Oct weekends and bank holidays only; Easter & late May to Aug daily; generally 2–3 trains a day; £10.80 return; Tel:01938/810441). The eight-mile narrow-gauge rail line was open to passengers for less than thirty years prior to its closure in 1931. Now, scaled-down engines once more chuff their way along to the peaceful little village of Llanfair Caereinion, a fine base for daytime walks, with good pub food at the Goat Hotel. The post office, opposite the church, stocks free leaflets on some good local circular walks.