Arts, Culture and Heritage

36 mile Gwastedyn Church Trail

family-friendly
parking-at-start-point
pets-welcome
rainy-day-activity
Gwastedyn Church Trail

This circular 36 mile trail over an established pilgrimage route begins and ends in Rhayader and Cwmdeuddwr.  Linking seven historic churches, the route uses mountain paths, lanes and old railway lines to guide you into the heart of our magnificent mountain, river and lake country.  To follow the Trail takes you into a world of history and literature derived from the world of the Celtic Saints, the Romans and Romano British, the Normans, the Welsh princes, the medieval monks through to the romantic poets and the Victorians.

Mae’r llwybr hwn, sy’n dilyn llwybr pererindod sefydledig, yn 36 milltir o hyd ac yn dechrau a diweddu yn Rhaeadr a Chwmdeuddwr.  Mae’r llwybr sy’n cysylltu saith o eglwysi hanesyddol, yn eich tywys drwy ardal odidog mynyddoedd yr Elenydd gyda’i hafonydd a’i llynnoedd, dros lwybrau mynyddig ac ar hyd ffyrdd a hen reilffyrdd gwledig. Mae dilyn y Llwybr yn eich cyflwyno i fyd hanes a llenyddiaeth o gyfnod y Seintiau Celtaidd, y Rhufeiniaid, y Brythoniaid Rhufeinig, y Normaniaid, y Tywysogion Cymreig, mynachod y canol oesoedd, hyd at y beirdd rhamantaidd ac oes Fictoria.


Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail
Length of Route: 36 miles
Walking Difficulty: Strenuous
Start Location: St Clement's Church

This trail is divided into more manageable six sections - see our Walking and Cycling page.

The Gwastedyn Trail is funded by the Community Welcome Scheme, which is managed by Powys County Council Tourism Section and is one of sixteen Rural Development Plan projects, which aims to assist local communities with small scale community based tourism projects.
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Llanwrthwl Village Visit

family-friendly
parking-on-site
suitable-for-moutain-biking
suitable-for-walking

Llanwrthwl lies on the River Wye south of Rhayader. To the north west is the RSPB nature reserve called Carngafallt, a heather clad hill with slopes clothed in beautiful ancient hanging oak woodlands and thorn scattered fridd. Gafallt was King Arthur’s dog, and legend says that he left his paw print in a stone somewhere on Carngafallt. It was also here that a second hoard of gold jewellery was found – a set of bronze age torques, now in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. In the churchyard next to the parish church of St Gwrthwl is a huge standing stone.


Geolocation
Distance from town centre: 4

St. Harmon Village Visit

family-friendly
parking-on-site
suitable-for-walking

St Harmon, to the north of Rhayader, with its Church of St. Garmon, was for a short time served by the famous diarist, Reverend Francis Kilvert (1840-1879) whose writing about the ordinary people and the way they lived is recognized as a minor classic. The parish of St Harmon contains numerous ancient remains including tumuli and long barrows, the graves of Neolithic people, and the bronze age ridgeway, a road that ran from the Kerry Hills to Carmarthenshire.

St Harmon have their own football team playing from 'The Bryn', ask the locals when their next home game is if you'd like to watch.


Geolocation
Distance from town centre: 3

Ysfa to Llanwrthwl Walk

family-friendly
parking-at-start-point
pets-welcome
rainy-day-activity
suitable-for-walking
Ysfa Church

This 3 mile walk beginning from St Mark's Church (Grid Ref: SN 991 644), follows forest and farm tracks and crosses the River Wye to reach Llanwrthwl.


Geolocation
Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail - Section 5
Length of Route: 3
Start Location: St. Mark's Church

St Mark’s Church, Ysfa

A Victorian Church built of stone with brick interior between 1870 and 1871.  Its main claim to fame is that the first stone was laid by Revd Kilvert, the diarist, in 1871 and his diaries describe the opening which was somewhat lively due to children playing in the lime and the wind blowing it on to the gathering, smarting their eyes.  There was also something of a commotion in the tent resulting in it being torn.  There is a beautiful Victorian model of the Church inside.  The church is said to have been built by the local gentry for worship by their servants.

Eglwys Sant Mark, Ysfa

Eglwys Fictoraidd a adeiladwyd rhwng 1870 a 1871.  Mae’r eglwys wedi’i hadeiladu o gerrig gyda briciau ar y tu mewn.  Mae’r eglwys yn enwog oherwydd gosodwyd y garreg gyntaf gan y Parch Kilvert, y dyddiadurwr, ym 1871.  Mae ei ddyddiaduron yn disgrifio’r agoriad a oedd braidd yn fywiog oherwydd i’r plant chwarae yn y calch a chwythodd y gwynt y calch ar y dyrfa gan losgi eu llygaid.  Cafwyd hefyd rhywfaint o gynnwrf yn y babell a chafwyd ei rhwygo yn ystod y digwyddiad.  Mae model Fictoraidd hardd o’r Eglwys y tu mewn.  Dywedir bod yr eglwys wedi cael ei hadeiladu gan y bonedd lleol fel lle addoli ar gyfer eu gweision a’u morwynion.

Distance from town centre: 5

Elan & Claerwen Valleys

family-friendly
parking-at-start-point
parking-on-site
pets-welcome
rainy-day-activity
suitable-for-cycling
suitable-for-moutain-biking
suitable-for-walking
wheelchair-accessible
Craig Goch Elan Valley Dams

To the west of Rhayader is the Elan Valley Estate, owned by Welsh Water and managed by the Elan Valley Trust, the series of reservoirs set in the outstanding scenery of the Elan and Claerwen Valleys have created a home for wildlife and a place to inspire us all.


Geolocation

Walking: With 72 sqaure miles of Elan Valley Estate, walking routes in this our part of the Cambrian Mountains is spectacular. See a selection of the Elan Valley walks here.

History: In the 19th century, at the time of the Industrial Revolution Joseph Chamberlain, then leader of Birmingham City Council, set about finding a clean water supply for the City.

The Elan and Claerwen Valleys had been identified by the engineer James Mansergh as having the best potential for water storage - with
• An average annual rainfall of 72 inches (1830mm). 
• Narrow downstream valleys which made building the dams easier. 
• Impermeable bedrock preventing the water seeping away. 
• Altitude - the area is mostly higher than Birmingham enabling the water to be transported by gravity alone, without the need to be pumped.

An Act of Parliament was passed for the compulsory purchase of the area and in 1893 the building work began. Over 100 occupants of the Elan Valley had to move, only landowners received compensation payments. Many buildings were demolished, among them 2 manor houses, 18 farms, a school and a church (which was replaced by the corporation as the Nantgwyllt Church).

A railway line was constructed to transport the workers and thousands of tonnes of building material each day and a village of wooden huts was purpose built to house many of the workers on the site of the present Elan Village.
The Elan Valley Dams were officially opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on 21st July 1904, and the later built Claerwen Dam was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

Present Day: The dams and reservoirs of the Elan Estate are situated within an area of outstanding scenic beauty. They provide a lasting amenity in their own right for visitors to enjoy. The protection of the water catchment area to prevent pollution of the reservoirs has safeguarded the habitats of numerous species of flora and fauna and now the 70 square miles of moorland, bog, woodland, river and reservoir are of national importance for their diversity of lower plants (ferns, mosses, lichens and liverworts) and the Estate is the most important area for land birds in Wales.

Distance from town centre: 3

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