Llanwrtyd Tourist Information
Neuadd Arms Hotel
Telephone: 01591 610666
Up and coming events
About Llanwrtyd Wells
Llanwrtyd Wells lies at the heart of one of the largest remaining great wilderness areas in Great Britain, one of the recognised gateways into the Cambrian Region and positioned bang slap in the centre of Wales, making it the perfect base for exploration and relaxation.
With its beautiful clean air (as proved by the extensive lichen growth on trees), it is a great place to feel good, star gaze, bird watch, fish, enjoy amazing countryside and find a huge array of plant and wild life.
We are easily found, alongside one of the 2 main roads crossing Wales; the A483 between Builth Wells (with the Royal Welsh Show Ground) and the old market town of Llandovery. We straddle the River Irfon, an upper tributary of the River Wye, which flows through the town joining the River Wye at Builth Wells.
The most spectacular scenery; forests, mountains, hidden valleys and many conservation sites surround Llanwrtyd, providing a habitat for many rare species of flora and fauna. Following the successful repopulation of the Red Kite following its near extinction within the UK, you will be certain to see them soaring wild and free in the skies above the town. If you are lucky enough you may also have the privilege of spotting rare red squirrel.
If you are the outdoor type, Llanwrtyd is fantastic for activities such as mountain biking, walking and fishing. We have miles of unspoilt scenery and wonderful hills and rivers to walk. Many of the routes you can follow are old Drovers roads used for over 500 years for farmers to ‘drove’ their flocks of cattle, sheep, geese and other livestock to sell in the profitable markets in England. There are local people providing bike hire services, guided rides tailored to the individuals requirements.
For the more restful visitor the mountains, valleys and surrounding villages can be explored by car or using the Heart of Wales railway line. There are many old Roman roads, ancient standing stones, tiny chapels and churches to discover as well as small market towns and local farmers markets.
A Short History of Llanwrtyd Wells
Llanwrtyd Wells began its life as a tiny hamlet called Pont-Rhyd-y-Fferau (Bridge over the Ankle Deep Ford). Llanwrtyd, or as it is known today, Old Llanwrtyd is centred around the church of St David’s further up the valley towards Abergwesyn. It was the discovery of the mineral waters in 1732 that originally brought fame to Llanwrtyd. Today we are better know for eccentric sports such as The World Bog Snorkelling Championships, The Man v Horse Marathon and The Real Ale Wobble!
There were numerous mineral springs in the ancient volcanic area around Llanwrtyd Wells but it wasn’t until 1732 that the benefits of the sulphur spring waters at Dolycoed were realised by the Rev Theophilus Evans, vicar of Llangammarch Wells.The Rev Evans suffered from scurvy and whilst walking through the Dolycoed Park, he saw an extremely healthy looking frog in the well. Supposing that, despite its foul smell, the water in the well might have helped the frog, he decided to take the water himself, and his scurvy cured. From then on the fame of such treatments spread until four groups of wells dominated Llanwrtyd: Dolycoed, Victoria, Abernant and Henfron
The Dolycoed Wells are currently undergoing extensive renovation and will then be opened to the public. The Victoria Wells were opened in 1897 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and the site still remains as a log cabin holiday centre. There is very little remaining of the Henfron Wells on the Llandovery side of town, which were only opened in 1922 but burnt down in the 1950’s. The Abernant Lake Hotel still stands and is now an outdoor adventure holiday centre for school groups who can benefit from the lake, which was created by damming an ox-bow lake of the Irfon in 1903.Trains didn’t begin to run through Llanwrtyd Wells along the Heart of Wales Line until 8th June 1868. Prior to this the town was on a stagecoach route (now the A483) between Swansea and Llandrindod Wells. The arrival of the railway turned the town into a fabulous holiday centre attracting huge numbers from South Wales. Some of these visitors formed entertainment committees and held Eisteddfodau.
One of these resulted in the composition of Sospan Fach – now heard at every rugby match the Welsh play.
Famous sons of Llanwrtyd include Rev William Williams of Pantecelyn , who served as curate here for 3 years in the 18th century. It is said that, whilst walking over the Epynt Mountains to preach in Llanwrtyd the words of his most famous hymn came to him, ‘Guide me O thou Great Jehovah. This hymn is sung the world over to the tune of Cwm Rhondda. He lies at rest in Llanfair ar y Bryn on the northern outskirts of Llandovery.
Another famous preacher, Rev Kilsby Jones built a school here in the mid 19th century, but his controversial policy of educating children in English made him a tad unpopular! Also, Thomas Powell, the first professor of Welsh at Cardiff University was born in Glanirfon Farmhouse.