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 (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 around the Ffynnon Ddrewllyd ("stinking well"), 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 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 ha) lake created in 1903 by damming[clarification needed] an oxbow[clarification needed] of the River Irfon. During the Second World War, the hotel was home to Bromsgrove School, evacuated from Worcestershire, and from 1943-45 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 20th century, both now defunct. The early course was at the Dol-y-coed Hotel and the later one at Abernant Lake Hotel.
Built in 1852, the Cambrian Mill was the largest woollen mill in the Llanidloes area, employing over 250 workers at its peak. It was reduced to an empty shell by a fire in November 1889, but rebuilt in 1902 and has been in continuous operation since then. 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".
Following the discovery in 1732 by the Rev. Theophilus Evans of waters claimed to have healing properties, Llanwrtyd Wells became a spa town. (In 1740 Wales' most famous hymn-writer, William Williams Pantycelyn was appointed curate to Evans.) The spa was referred to as "Ffynnon Ddrewllyd" (English: "Stinking Well") because of the strong smell of hydrogen sulphide. The spa is located at the site of the Dol-y-Coed Hotel, now the home of Charcroft Electronics.
The fashion for spas reached its peak in the Victorian era and many of the hotels in the town date back to that time. The Belle Vue Hotel, the only purpose-built hotel in Llanwrtyd, was built in 1843.
In contrast to its past history as a spa town, when hundreds flocked to take the waters for their claimed medicinal effects, the area is now better known for recreations such as pony trekking, mountain biking, walking and birdwatching, and for its annual Man versus Horse Marathon, Beer Festival and World Bog Snorkelling Championship. The town's largest employer Charcroft Electronics is located in buildings which were previously the Dol-y-Coed Hotel. The hotel, 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 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
- Llanyrtyd Wells Golf Clubs”, "Golf's Missing Links".
- 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.