The Cambrian Mountains are the spine of Wales, a vast moorland plateau gouged by glaciers and cleft by steep valleys.
They begin at the Plynlimon massif, source of no fewer than six rivers. Which is why quirky Llanidloes is the first town on the Severn and Rhayader the first on the Wye.
They stretch all the way south to Mynydd Mallaen near Llanwrtyd Wells, Britain’s capital of weird and wonderful sporting events.
And they contain some of the oldest rocks in Britain. Between the spa towns of Llandrindod Wells and Builth Wells – home of the Royal Welsh Show – lies an area internationally famous for its trilobite fossils.
But not every part has been 500 million years in the making. The Elan Valley Estate, or the “Lakeland of Wales”, was created in Victorian times by sheer force of will.
Once seriously considered for National Park status, the Cambrian Mountains may be less famous than Snowdonia or the Brecon Beacons but they’re just as special. Just as rich in rare species such as the golden plover, the black grouse and the red kite.
It may be what prompted the famously eco-conscious Prince of Wales to set up his Welsh home at Llwynywermod. His Cambrian Mountains Initiative aims to conserve this rugged landscape and the rural communities that depend on it.
And when HRH isn’t at home, you can stay in the courtyard next door and do your bit by walking the local drovers’ tracks, shopping in the market towns or eating in the award-winning restaurants. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.