Radnor Forest , Mid Wales


A distinctive feature of the region is a rock dome called Radnor Forest. It is not a forest in the usual sense of being a heavily wooded area, but in the medieval sense of "forest" being an unenclosed area used for hunting. It is a land of hill farming and great moorlands, with steep narrow valleys.


It is a region of water, with four large reservoirs damming the River Elan to supply Birmingham

radnor forest map


The gazetteer of the area with individual write ups of the towns follows

Aberedw Overlooked by dramatic crags, Aberedw is a pretty village on the River Wye. The is a 14th century church and the ruins of a castle, ruins that seem to haunt most Welsh settlements. The castle was once owned by the Baskerville family.

About a mile from the village is the cave where Prince Llewellan ap Gruffydd hid, before he was captured and killed in the nearby woods in 1282

Builth Wells

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A great fire in 1691 destroyed the whole town, so little remains of older buildings

Builth was a spa town, when spas were popular in Victorian times. The two springs, one salt, one sulphur, are still there, but  the wells are no longer in use. Today Builth is a market town on the River Wye. The Royal Welsh Show is held here every year in July at Llanelwedd Hall

Clyro There are traces of both a Roman Camp and a Norman castle in this pretty village near the River Wye. However it is perhaps best known for the curate, Rev Francis Kilvert, whose published diary vividly portrays life in the area in the 19th century
Elan Valley A chain of reservoirs deliver 60 million gallons of water a day to Birmingham. The valley is very beautiful, and can be reached by road. The reservoirs were built between 1892 and 1952
Knighton A centre for hill walking and a small agricultural town on the River Teme.

Offa's Dyke, here up to 30 feet high, passes through the town

Llandrindod Wells A spa since the age of Charles II, Llandrindod Wells became the largest and most popular of the Welsh spas in Victorian times.

Today it is a popular touring centre for the surrounding area. The town sits on a plateau 700 feet above the River Ithon. It has wide streets and good 19th century architecture

Llangammarch Wells It grew as a small spa town on the River Cammarch, and today is a centre for salmon and trout fishing. The spring is no longer open to the public, but you can find it in the grounds of the Lake Hotel. The spring waters contain barium chloride, and were advertised as being a cure for heart disease.
Llanwrtyd Wells Another small spa town, where the waters are no longer taken. It was also on the cattle drover's trails to England.

Today it is a centre for pony trekking, fishing in the River Irfon, and bird watching

New Radnor New Radnor is at least 700 years old, and has the ruins of a castle 200 years older than that. The Smatcher, a 1400 foot hill rises up opposite the town, and nearby is a waterfall called " water-break-its-neck"
Presteigne A touch of England in the architecture, half timbered Tudor houses. In fact the town is on the Welsh bank of the river that is here the boundary between the two countries. Apparently 30 of the towns buildings were once pubs, so they must have been thirsty people. The Radnorshire Arms has secret passages and a Priests Hide Hole dating from Tudor times.
Rhayader Entry town for the Elan Reservoirs, and an important cross roads. Centre for fishing, pony trekking and touring
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Land of  legends and mountains - Radnor Forest in Mid Wales