Arts, Culture and Heritage

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.


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Distance from town centre: 3

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.


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Distance from town centre: 4

Willow Globe Open-air Theatre

family-friendly
parking-on-site
pets-welcome
rainy-day-activity
suitable-for-walking
wheelchair-accessible
Willow Globe, open-air theatre Penlanole, Llanwrthwl, Powys, LD1 6NU

The Willow Globe is planted from living willow rods and powered entirely from green electricity; almost certainly the first venture ever of its kind.


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Opening Times: See Website
Contact: Susanna Best and Philip Bowen
Tel: 01597 811487

We have high quality professional and community productions on offer from April to September as well as our workshops, fun days and festivals. We have a new Shakespearean art and nature trail around our organic farm which hosts workshops and performances, a barn which acts as our wet weather performance and workshop space, an extensive costume store, a conference space and camping and B&B available. Please see our website for full details of events + booking.

Distance from town centre: 5

Nantgwyllt to St Harmon Walk

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parking-at-start-point
pets-welcome
rainy-day-activity
suitable-for-walking
Nantgwyllt Church Elan Valley

This section of the trail from Nantgwyllt Church (Grid ref SN 909639), covers 11 miles, including mountain tracks over over high ground, before descending to cross the River Wye and following the Marteg valley to St Harmon Church.


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Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail - Section 2
Length of Route: 11 miles
Walking Difficulty: Moderate
Start Location: Nantgwyllt Church

Nangwyllt Church, Elan Valley

A Victorian church built at the turn of the 19th century by Birmingham Corporation to replace the small Nantgwyllt Church which was swallowed up by the flooding of the Elan and Claerwen Valleys to supply water for Birmingham in the early 20th Century. Nearby was the “House under the Water” made famous by author Francis Brett-Young.  The poet Shelley lived at both Cwm Elan and Nantgwyllt houses, both of which were drowned. The Church has an exhibition of photographs showing the construction of the dams.

Eglwys Nantgwyllt, Cwm Elan

Eglwys Fictoraidd a adeiladwyd ar dro’r bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg gan Fwrdeistref Birmingham yw hon.  Fe’i hadeiladwyd i gymryd lle eglwys fach Nantgwyllt a ddiflannodd pan foddwyd Dyffrynnoedd Elan a Chlaerwen er mwyn anfon dŵr i Birmingham ar ddechrau’r ugeinfed ganrif.  Gerllaw roedd y ‘Tŷ dan y Dŵr’ a wnaed yn enwog gan yr awdur Francis Brett-Young.  Bu’r bardd Shelley yn byw am gyfnod byr yn nhai Cwm Elan a Nantgwyllt - dau dŷ a gafodd eu boddi. Yn yr eglwys mae arddangosfa o luniau sy’n dangos y cronfeydd yn cael eu hadeiladu.

Distance from town centre: 4

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.


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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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