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Llanidloes shown within Powys
|OS grid reference|
|– London||211 miles (340 km) ESE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Mid and West Wales|
It is the first town on the River Severn (Welsh: Afon Hafren). The town's Member of Parliament is the Conservatives' Glyn Davies (MP since 2010) and its Assembly Member is Conservative Russell George (AM since 2011).
Llanidloes is popular with hikers who walk on the scenic footpaths surrounding the town, including Glyndŵr's Way, which in conjunction with the Offa's Dyke path forms a 160-mile circuit around Mid Wales and local passage over the spine of the Cambrian Mountains.
The Sarn Sabrina Walk - a 25-mile circular walk from Llanidloes to the source of the Severn and back - has been held yearly on the Saturday preceding the Late Spring Bank Holiday since 2006. In 2007 the Semi Sabrina, a 12-mile circular walk, was added. Information on the route can be found on the Llanidloes website.
As of February 2007 there were 17 licensed drinking establishments in the town.
Llanidloes takes its name from the early seventh century Celtic Saint Idloes (Llan-Idloes = the Church of St Idloes), after whom its parish church is named. The town was given a charter to hold a market in 1289 but existed at least 400 years before that, during which time it was part of the cantref of Arwystli.
The area around Llanidloes was once important for the mining of lead and silver, and the town had a thriving flannel industry. It was also notorious as a focus of industrial unrest during the 19th century Chartist revolt in 1839, a campaign for democratic rights prompted by the collapse of the local textile industry. During the unrest, three local people were arrested and held in the Trewythen hotel on Great Oak Street until the protesters forced their release. The town was controlled by the protesters until a detachment of Shropshire Yeomanry arrived and restored Government authority. Ringleaders were arrested, tried and sentenced to imprisonment or transportation.
Llanidloes railway station was opened in 1864 by the Llanidloes and Newtown Railway. Designed as a grand junction station, it was to connect the Mid-Wales Railway and the Manchester and Milford Railway in the south, with Newtown and the Oswestry and Newtown Railway to the north. Designed to hold the railway companies offices, the building is in the Georgian style and resembles an early 19th-century Gentleman's country residence. Closer inspection reveals that the scale has been changed - imagine the Georgian gentleman to be 10 feet tall, and the building is then in perfect Georgian proportion. The Llanidloes and Newtown railway eventually formed part of the Cambrian Railways, linking it with South Wales, but most of this was closed on 31 December 1962. The Llanidloes by-pass road runs along a section of the former railway, and the station still stands beside this road. It is now restored and occupied by small businesses.
The half-timbered Old Market Hall stands at the crossroads of the four streets of the original medieval town. Built around 1600, it is the only surviving building of this type in Wales. Assize courts were held in the hall around 1605, and John Wesley preached from a pulpit stone on the open ground floor in 1748.
There are many notable timber framed buildings in the town and St Idloes Church has a 15th-century hammerbeam roof with striking carved angels. When Cwmhir Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1536, some of its 13th-century arches were dismantled and reassembled in St Idloes Church, where they can still be seen. Other local attractions include a museum containing a famous two-headed sheep, and the nearby Hafren Forest, known for its red kites. Two masonry arch bridges, the Long Bridge and the Short Bridge, were designed by Thomas Penson.
The town formerly had a significant industrial component. Apart from textiles, the railway provided an outlet for the nearby Van lead mines and there was an iron-working company (finally closed in the early 1980s) that produced components for mining, railway and other machinery.
Results from a statistical analysis (2003) of the Y chromosome (genetic genealogy) of locals whose paternal grandfather was born within a thirty kilometre radius of the town suggests that there was a significant and unique German/Danish (Anglo-Saxons) presence in the area over 1500 years ago but this is not borne out in any documents.
The headquarters of the Quilt Association is at the Minerva Arts Centre; here they hold workshops and an annual exhibition of quilts.
Powys Local Health Board (LHB) announced that it wanted to make cuts at Llanidloes which would result in the downgrading and even closure of Llanidloes War Memorial Hospital. The Save Llanidloes Hospital Action Group was formed in response.
Culture and Environmentalism
Llanidloes has a reputation as a very "quirky" town, known for its liberal, counterculture atmosphere. Llanidloes is known as a popular home for ageing hippies. The alternative atmosphere is immediately apparent upon visiting, thanks to the presence of a wholefood shop, a volunteer-run organic shop and a vegetarian wholefood café. In 2014, it was rated one of the most attractive postcode areas to live in Wales.
In April 2006, Llanidloes was awarded Fairtrade Town status by the Fairtrade Foundation. Since October 2007 the annual Green Fair has attracted visitors to the town to listen to speakers on many 'green' issues and browse the stalls offering alternatives to energy expensive ways of life.
The town is noted for its annual Llanidloes Fancy Dress street party, one of the largest street parties in Wales. The event started in 1969, taking place on the first Friday of July. In 2004 around 5,000 people took part in the festival. The 2005 event was temporarily cancelled due to the costs of safety provisions, but a local councillor provided funding for training for stewards and public toilets. After concerns linked to costs and public safety the festival was cancelled in 2012. It now takes place on a smaller scale with locals dressing up and taking to the streets.
Llanidloes Ladies F.C. play in both the Welsh National League and North Powys League
- Elinor Bennett (b. 1943), harpist
- Mickey Evans (b. 1947), footballer
- John Ceiriog Hughes (b. 1832), romantic poet and stationmaster
- Andrews, Robert (2004). The Rough Guide to Britain. Rough Guides Ltd. p. 838. ISBN 978-1-84353-301-6.
- "UK's 'most desirable' postcodes revealed". BBC News.
- "Town ready for fancy dress fiesta". BBC.co.uk. 1 July 2004.
- The Rough Guide to Wales Mike Parker, Paul Whitfield. p. 267
- Town's fancy dress fiesta is axed BBC Friday, 29 April 2005
- Fancy dress festival's reprieve BBC Wednesday, 22 June 2005
- "Fancy Dress Axed". www.cambrian-news.co.uk. 23 November 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Llanidloes.|
- Llanidloes.com - official town website
- Llanidloes Museum
- St Idloes Church website
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Llanidloes and surrounding area