ago Knighton was the scene of one of Owain Glyndwr's
most famous victories against English invaders. Now
it warmly welcomes tourists from all over Europe and
beyond to this attractive and interesting border
Knighton is steeped in history with sloping
winding streets and half timbered houses. It's a
good place to stay, whether you are striding the
length of Offa's Dyke or exploring the beautiful and
fascinating Teme Valley in more leisurely style. On
each Thursday and Friday livestock comes to market
and there are lively fairs celebrated in May and
Autumn. Antiques and gifts,
inns with character, good food and places to stay.
Knighton occupies a unique position; part of the
town is in
Wales, and part in England. This gives it a
unique character - to many residents it is neither
English nor Welsh, just simply Knighton.
Offa's Dyke Heritage centre -
Offa's Dyke Footpath wends for miles along the
famous earthworks marking the boundary between
England and Wales. Stretching from the Severn
Estuary to the North West coast, this marvel of
primitive engineering runs through Knighton, the
only town on its entire length. Visit the Offa's
Dyke Heritage centre here and you will learn much of
the history of the ancient border.
The Narrows are sharply climbing streets lined
Most date from the 17th century but others are
older. Behind the 300 year old fašade of the "Old
House" for example stood a cruck built open hall
which could have survived since the town was founded
in Norman times. Now The Narrows is the place to
shop for antiques, crafts and gifts - and an
unhurried drink to absorb the atmosphere of times
long past. The nearby Horse and Jockey is a stone
house of medieval origin.
The Powys Observatory offers a unique and
fascinating opportunity to see life around Knighton
and the sky above. Not
are visitors able to see a planetarium show but the
observatory's main instrument a 13 inch diameter
refracting telescope permits live viewing of the
moon and distant galaxies. A weather station
collects data direct from satellites and there is
also a seismological station. The Camera Obscura
observes wildlife and the surrounding countryside
and transmits its images to viewers in a darkened
Knighton is well served for pubs and restaurants.
Swimming, tennis, bowls and other sporting
activities are available at Knighton leisure centre.
High quality golf, clay pigeon shooting, game and
coarse fishing are also accessible nearby.
Croeso i Landrindod
its Waters and its History
its name implies, the history of the town is linked with the
health giving waters which it has to offer. It is therefore
surprising to find that, although the beneficial effects of
taking the waters were known to the Romans, the development
of the town did not take place until the mid 19th century
with the coming of the railway.
It then grew at an astonishing rate, as the taking of the
waters became a fashionable part of Victorian Life. However
when tracing the history of our town and the surrounding
area, the Roman occupation of Britain provided the first
evidence of spa waters in the area.
best known Roman settlement in the area was situated at
Castell Collen, just outside Llandrindod Wells. Today it is
an important archaeological site. As already mentioned, the
health giving benefits of the many types of waters coming
from local springs were already known to the Romans but it
was not until the end of the seventeenth century that the
saline springs were mentioned in local reports from the
area, although no development of note followed.
At that time
the town of Llandrindod Wells did not exist and the area
comprised just a few scattered farming communities, the
Llanerch Inn and two 13th century churches, both of which
still see regular worship. The one is the former parish
church, which is almost 1,000 feet above sea level and
overlooks the present town and the other, Cefnllys Church,
just over a mile from Llandrindod Wells in a beautiful and
remote beauty spot known locally as Shaky Bridge.
1749, a gentleman called Mr. Grosvenor, an astute and
far-sighted entrepreneur, bought and extended a few local
houses to encourage visitors and, more speculatively, built
a large hotel overlooking the present lake and just below
the parish church mentioned earlier. With rooms for several
hundred guests it offered a wide range of facilities for
visitors, including hairdressers, milliners, glovers etc.
For entertainment there was billiards racing and rooms to
cater for balls and assemblies.
And of course,
the local spring waters could be sampled, encouraged by a
work on the beneficial effects of taking the waters', which
had been prepared by Dr. Wessel Linden in 1756. This
enterprise was open for about forty years but during this
time acquired a somewhat dubious reputation and the building
fell into disrepair and closed some time after 1787.
The site of the hotel is now
occupied by the Hall Farm, nestling beneath the Old Parish
area then reverted to its former anonymous state until the
coming of the Central Wales Railway in 1865. The railway
made the area much more accessible and coincided with the
Victorian fashion for taking the waters.
The town began to grow, only slowly at first but speculators
soon saw the potential offered by good rail access, a
bountiful supply of building land and the profusion of
1880 Radnorshire County Council established its offices in
the town and the phenomenal growth of the town was now well
Hotels, apartments, new treatment centres, two pavilions, a
golf course, bowling and putting greens and a 14 acre
boating lake were all built within a few years to cater for
as many as 80,000 visitors a year.
visitors, who represented in the main the gentility from all
over the land, brought their own entourage of servants,
further swelling the numbers in the town. Local papers
listed week by week the names of visitors resident in
Llandrindod Wells, reflecting the importance not only of
being there but of being seen to be there. The growth of the
town continued unabated into the early twentieth century,
with the railway at one stage running through trains to
destinations as far apart as London, Birmingham, Manchester
the outbreak of the First World War saw a drastic reduction
in the numbers of visitors and the area was slow to recover
after the cessation of hostilities. Also the depression,
followed by the growth of seaside holidays, which were
becoming more readily available to the ordinary working
people, saw the decline continue. The Second World War
heralded what appeared to be a terminal decline in the
popularity of visiting the town and taking the waters.
Llandrindod Wells saw an opportunity to consolidate its role
as an administrative Centre, and established a light
industrial base in the town. Increased housing to encourage
new businesses, and a good range of shopping facilities,
enabled the town to grow at a steady and sustainable rate.
years have seen a welcome increase in visitors holidaying in
the town, and Llandrindod Wells boasts a variety of
accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets, including
large, well-appointed hotels, licensed guest houses, bed and
breakfast, farmhouse accommodation, caravan and camping
are many regular attractions to cater for visitors, the best
known of which are Drama Festival Week at the beginning of
May each year, and the Victorian Festival at the end of
August. The Royal Welsh Show, the largest agricultural show
in the U.K., is held in July each year at Llanelwedd, six
miles south of Llandrindod Wells and is an extremely popular
to the future for Llandrindod Wells, there are plans to
develop the former Rock Park Spa and provide up-to-date
treatment as a Hydrotherapy Centre. This will make full use
of the beneficial effects to be obtained from the local
mineral waters. Improvements in the Rock Park plus the new
'Heritage Trail', mean that Llandrindod Wells can look
forward to the 21st century with a sense of excitement and
The image below is based
on the tithe map for Llanelwedd parish around 1840
for the Church authorities.
At that time everyone had to pay a tithe or tax to the church based
on how much property they owned. The more a person owed the more
they had to pay. The maps were designed to record who owned what,
and they give us a lot of information about the community at the
The first thing to
notice is the turnpike road
coming down the valley from Rhayader. At the beginning of
Queen Victoria's reign the road follows the river and comes
close to the bridge over to Builth. This area across the
river from the town was to become a busy area but at this
time there is only Gro House standing alone.
hamlet of Llanelwedd
itself is very small consisting of no more than the church,
a scatter of cottages, and the tollgates across the main
roads to Llandrindod and New Radnor. (To find out more about
the tollgates visit the
stands alone in its own grounds, the home of a local
landowner who would have been an important man in 1840.
Today the area around the Hall is the site of the Royal
Compare with Llanelwedd in 1888
From Wikipedia, the free
New Radnor is a
mid Wales. It was the original
county town of
Radnorshire. The population is around 400.
The village lies by the
Radnor Forest, and is often said to have been
built to replace
Old Radnor. Attractions in the town include a
The Radnor valley football club is a thriving
local team; a notable player being Gareth Pugh of
Kinnerton, who has provided years of faithful
service to the valley boys.
New Radnor used to be a shire town and had its
own court back in the 1500's. The old town hall is
still in the village today. It used to have its own
market which included livestock, held once a week ,
although this is no longer the case.
New Radnor has two pubs, a post office,
hairdresser, chapel, war memorial and primary
school. Some years ago it narrowly missed out on the
award for best village in Wales.
New Radnor's main source of income and jobs are
from agriculture and farming.
border town of Presteigne
Presteigne, the former
county town of Radnorshire, lies on the southern bank of the
Just across the old Lugg Bridge is the English county of
Herefordshire. The ancient earthworks of Offa's Dyke, dating
from the 8th century, lie just three miles to the west of
Fire and plague
Major events in the history of Presteigne include disastrous
plague epidemics in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a great
fire of 1681 which destroyed much of the town. Presteigne
was chosen as the location for the Great Sessions in 1541,
which were broadly similar to the English Assizes, and it
later became the venue for the Quarter Sessions,
dealt with lesser crimes.
The past preserved
Presteigne is still remarkably unspoiled, and many of its
historic buildings, like the old house pictured here, are
More information on different aspects of the events which
created the town of today will be found on these pages.
Please select from the choices given on the menu page.
busy and historic market town of Rhayader or Rhaeadr Gwy
which is Welsh for 'waterfall on the Wye' is surrounded on
all sides by the finest scenery.
Rhayader town dates back to the 5th century, although
there is evidence of earlier Bronze age and Roman
In 1178 a castle was built by Prince Rhys Gryffd to
resist the Normans and Flemish. It was put under siege and
destroyed by fire in 1231 as a result of attacks from
soldiers from North Wales. Today only the mound remains,
overlooking the river Wye.
In the 18th and 19th century, sheep and cattle drovers
traversed the Cambrian mountains destined for English market
towns of Banbury, Hereford and London. Also passing through
Aberystwyth was the famous coach road from Aberystwyth to
In 1840 the tollgates were attacked by men dressed as
women - the Rebecca Riots - a protest against the high tolls
imposed by the absentee English Landlords.
Dramatic wooded valleys with swift mountain streams and
waterfalls give way to heather topped hills and open
moorland; ancient oak woods rich in bird and wildlife, and
the magnificent dams and reservoirs of the Elan and Claerwen
valleys, draining into the beautiful river Wye where salmon,
trout and otter can be seen.
abound in the skies above, and you can see these
wondrous birds close up during daily feedings at
The variety of the countryside makes Rhayader an
ideal centre to explore by bike. It offers a range
of accommodation from a caravan and campsite,
inexpensive bed and breakfasts and self-catering
cottage to Country House Hotels. The town's numerous
friendly pubs, cafes and restaurants provide plenty
of good food and drink