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Parks & gardens


You might have thought that with 2,000 square miles of mountains, lakes and forests to look at, all day every day, we wouldn't bother too much about gardens. With views like those, why bother with all that pruning and weeding?


But the people of Mid Wales aren't the sort to rest on their laurels. They keep trying to improve on paradise. And the result is more than 30 parks and gardens – some grand, some intimate – that delight the eye and calm the soul. Even when some of Britain's greatest natural wonders are just over the hedge.


The same river that flows through Craig-y-Nos Country Park, once the private pleasure grounds of opera star Adelina Patti, also helped to sculpt the incredible limestone caverns at the nearby National Showcaves Centre for Wales.


The Italianate terraces of Powis Castle look out over the fertile slopes of the Severn valley above Welshpool – and lose nothing by comparison.


But the gardens of Gregynog Hall near Newtown don’t simply complement a wonderful landscape. They are the landscape. All 750 acres of it, complete with ancient woodland, lily lake, sunken lawns and a secluded cottage.


Not to mention the shed where Gwendoline and Margaret Davies did their own paintings before going out to buy the best of Monet, Turner and Van Gogh.