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Cathedral & churchs
Opening the door of a Mid Wales church and stepping into the cool, light-filled interior is a very special experience.
It doesn’t really matter if you can’t tell your reredos from your rood screens or your Early Gothic from your Late Perpendicular. This is all about atmosphere.
As author Simon Jenkins says of the church at Meifod near Llanfyllin: “On a cool evening with a mist rising from the waters of the Vyrnwy, the ghosts of old Wales are as vivid here as anywhere I know.”
These churches hold some of Britain’s most evocative treasures. The rare medieval wall painting of Doom, for instance, at Partrishow – complete with an hour glass in one hand, a sickle in the other and a spade hanging from his arm, the ancient font at Defynnog near Sennybridge with the only runic inscription in Wales, or the medieval cresset stone at Brecon Cathedral, which contains more holes for candles than any other in the country. Thirty, if you’re counting.
You can still walk the pilgrimage trails that link these places of worship. Gwastedyn Church Trail, which begins and ends in Rhayader, uses mountain paths, quiet lanes and old railway lines to join seven historic churches.
And the church at Pennant Melangell is not merely the place to see the oldest Romanesque shrine in northern Europe. It’s also on the Pererindod Melangell trail that crosses immense tracts of open moorland between the Vyrnwy and Tanat valleys.