Following today’s news that the National Trust is to keep many of its gardens and parks open and free to enter, our writers pick their favourites for combining social distancing and a spring walk. Check websites before setting off
Powis is a pocket battleship among great Welsh houses. Its red stone walls rise like a medieval apparition on a hill overlooking the upper Severn. It was the citadel of the Welsh Marches, five miles from the English border. Its princes were a devious bunch, never knowing on whose side they stood between England and Wales. Today their fortress, normally open to the public, stands guard over the valleys leading into once-impenetrable Wales. Round it over the centuries, successive Herberts have laid out the most extraordinary terraced gardens in Britain. Clipped yews tumble down the hillside, apparently gone berserk, spilling over walls and balustrades. Between them are buried rich herbaceous borders. It is like Kew Gardens tilted 45 degrees. To one side a formal Edwardian parterre tries to pretend Powis has been tamed. Mercifully it has not. Views from the terraces are spectacular, looking out over the lush hills and meadows of the Severn valley. But behind still lurk the dark forests of Wales. The castle, cafe and shop are closed but the gardens will remain open from 10am-4pm. Follow signs as postcode misdirects.