Llanwrtyd Wells shown within Powys
|OS grid reference|
|- Cardiff||65.1 miles (104.8 km)|
|- London||198 miles (319 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||LLANWRTYD WELLS|
|Fire||Mid and West Wales|
|UK Parliament||Brecon & Radnorshire|
|Welsh Assembly||Brecon & Radnorshire|
With a population of 601 people (United Kingdom Census 2001), it claims to be the smallest town in Britain, although Fordwich in Kent has a smaller population. 34% have some knowledge of Welsh.
Llanwrtyd Wells grew as a spa town, based 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 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.
Built in 1852, the Cambrian Mill factory was the largest woollen mill in the Llanidloes area, employing over 250 workers at its peak. Reduced to an empty shell by a fire in November 1889, the rebuilt factory remains in continuous operation since it was rebuilt in 1902. 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.)
The spa was referred to as "Ffynnon Ddrewllyd" (English: "Stinking Well") because of the strong smell of hydrogen sulphide gas. The spa is located at the site of the Dol-y-Coed Hotel., 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, the only purpose-built hotel in Llanwrtyd, was built in 1843.
Llanwrtyd is the smallest town in Great Britain. 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 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 Wells 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).
Llanwrtyd Wells is twinned with:
- Census, 2001
- Abernant Lake Hotel
- Cambrian Mill, Llanidloes, which was destroyed by fire in November 1889 :: Gathering the Jewels
- European Route of Industrial Heritage
- "Poetry by William Williams, Pantycelyn (NLW MS 77A)" at llgc.org.uk
- Dolycoed Spa
- Belle Vue Hotel
- Charcroft Electronics
- Nigel Bunyan (4 September 2006). "After Snowdonia, Rob the Rubbish heads for Everest". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2013.