Mid Wales comprises the large, modern county of Powys, which was formed from the three counties of Breconshire, Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, and some of the former county of Clwyd, to the north.

Breconshire, to the south of Powys, is renowned for the mountains of the Brecon Beacons. Formed of soft and crumbly Old Red Sandstone, the mountains have many gentle gradients; it is good walking country.

The Brecon Beacons, which measure only 15 miles north to south, and 45 miles east to west, are protected as a National Park. On the border with England is the eccentric town of Hay-on-Wye, famous for its many bookshops.

Most of Radnorshire, in the middleof Mid Wales, is above 1,000ft, but the hills are characteristically rounded rather than peaked. Forestry is an important industry here, as in the rest of Powys. Llandrindod Wells, formerly a spa town, is undergoing a revival, and is currently the county town of Powys.

To the north of Mid Wales, Montgomeryshire bears many resemblances to its English neighbour, Shropshire. These are especially marked towards the border, to the east.

Montgomeryshire is rich farming country, sparsely populated, with an abundance of timber-framed houses. The main town is Welshpool.

Powys is still relatively inaccessible, and there are few wealth-creating businesses locally. As a result, house prices are generally low, but rise towards the east, especially in areas where it is possible to travel to Shrewsbury or Telford, and round Hay-on-Wye.

Major towns

Brecon, Hay-on-Wye, Builth Wells, Llandrindod Wells, Welshpool, Newtown, Montgomery.

Transport links

Train: Paddington to Abergavenny (for Brecon, via Newport) 2hr 22min, Saver return £42.90; Euston to Welshpool (via Wolverhampton) 3hr 21min, Saver return £45.90.

Car: Brecon is 172 miles from central London, via the M40 and A40; Welshpool, 182 miles, via the M1, M6, M54 and A458.

Public schools

Christ College, Brecon (01874 623359). Co-educational, age range 11-18, day and boarding. www.schools-christ-wales.com

St David’s School, Brecon (01874 622806). Girls, age range 3-16 (boys, 3-11), day and boarding.

Powis College, Welshpool (01938 552326). Co-educational, age range 9-16, day and boarding.

Leisure

Golfcourses: Brecon (01874 625547); Llandrindod (01597 823873); Welshpool.

Hunts: the David Davies, the Brecon, the Golden Valley, the Tanatside.

Fishing: rivers Severn, Wye, Irfon and Usk.