Llanwrtyd Wells

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Llanwrtyd Wells
Llanwrtyd Wells is located in Powys
Llanwrtyd Wells
Llanwrtyd Wells
 Llanwrtyd Wells shown within Powys
Population 601 [1]
OS grid reference SN877465
   – Cardiff  65.1 miles (104.8 km) 
   – London  198 miles (319 km) 
Principal area Powys
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district LD5
Dialling code 01591
Police Dyfed-Powys
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Brecon & Radnorshire
Welsh Assembly Brecon & Radnorshire
List of places

Coordinates: 52°06′19″N 3°38′28″W / 52.10539°N 3.64110°W / 52.10539; -3.64110

Llanwrtyd Wells (Welsh: Llanwrtyd) is a small town in the parish of Llanwrtyd in Powys, mid Wales, lying on the River Irfon.

With a population of 601 people (United Kingdom Census 2001), it claims to be the smallest town in Britain,[citation needed] although Fordwich in Kent has a smaller population. 34% have some knowledge of Welsh.

Llanwrtyd Wells grew as a spa town around the Ffynnon Ddrewllyd spring, which still exists. The town was also known as an eisteddfod site, and is the site of both the World Bog Snorkelling Championships and the annual Man versus Horse Marathon, as well as many other annual events.

The Abernant Lake Hotel[2] was built on the site of an old farm, to cater for the many visitors, keen to take the spa waters. The hotel grounds include a 5 acres (2.0 ha) lake that was created in 1903 by damming an ox-bow of the River Irfon. During the Second World War,the hotel was home to Bromsgrove School evacuated from Worcestershire and between 1943 and 1945, to the Czechoslovak State School for Refugee Children. It remained a hotel until 2007 when it became home to a multi-activity centre for school groups and families.

Llanwrtyd Wells had two golf clubs and courses during the twentieth century, both now defunct. The early course was at the Dol-y-coed Hotel and the later one at Abernant Lake Hotel.[3]

Cambrian Mill[edit]

Built in 1852, the Cambrian Mill factory was the largest woollen mill in the Llanidloes area, employing over 250 workers at its peak.[4] Reduced to an empty shell by a fire in November 1889, the rebuilt factory remains in continuous operation since it was rebuilt in 1902.[5] It is one of very few woollen mills still operating in Wales. According to the mill's website, visitors can experience "700 years of weaving history."


Llanwrtyd Wells was once a spa town following the discovery of waters with healing properties in 1732, by the Reverend Theophilus Evans. (In 1740 the curate appoined to Reverend Evans was Wales' most famous hymn-writer William Williams Pantycelyn.[6])

The spa was referred to as "Ffynnon Ddrewllyd" (English: "Stinking Well") because of the strong smell of hydrogen sulphide gas.[citation needed] The spa is located at the site of the Dol-y-Coed Hotel.,[7] now the home of Charcroft Electronics.

Spa fashion reached its peak in the Victorian era and many of the hotels in the town Wells date back to that time. The Belle Vue Hotel,[8] the only purpose-built hotel in Llanwrtyd, was built in 1843.

Modern times[edit]

In contrast to its past history as a spa town, when hundreds flocked to take the ‘waters’ for their ‘medicinal effects’, the area is now more well known for its pony trekking, mountain biking, walking and bird watching together with its annual Man versus Horse Marathon, Beer Festival and World Bog Snorkelling Championship. Llanwrtyd Wells' largest employer Charcroft Electronics[9] is located in buildings which were previously the Dol-y-Coed Hotel. The hotel, situated on the banks of the River Irfon, dates from about 1535.

Unlike many small towns in rural Wales, Llanwrtyd station still has a passenger train service. Heart of Wales Line trains running between Swansea and Shrewsbury call four times a day each way Monday to Saturday and twice each way on Sunday (2013 timetable).

Famous residents[edit]

The town is the home of Robin Kevan, also known as "Rob the Rubbish", who has become famous for his efforts to clean up Britain's countryside.[10]

Town twinning[edit]

Llanwrtyd Wells is twinned with:


External links[edit]