Home  |  The Town  |  Castle Intro  |  Castle  |  Llywelyn  |  Links The red kite logo

Builth Wells

An introduction to Builth Wells, Powys, Wales

The town of Builth Wells originates from the founding of the first castle on the high bank overlooking the crossing of the river Wye. The township then formed around the castle over several centuries.

Today, the town of some 2300 people is situated on the junction of the A483 Swansea-Manchester trunk road, and the A470 Cardiff-North Wales trunk road, as they join to cross the bridge over the river Wye still under the gaze of the old castle. For many years the town has been a market town, and the tradition still carries on, either at the town's Smithfield, or at the site of the Royal Welsh Show in nearby Llanelwedd. The Show moved here in the 1960s to make a permanent home, and the provides a venue for a wide range of shows and exhibitions throughout the year.

Tourism has had a greater role over the last centuries, first as one of the mid-Wales spa towns of the late 1800s and early 1900s, then later as a centre for touring a larger area when the motorcar became part of modern life.

In recent times the area has become a centre for walkers and mountain bikers, with the large areas of hills, valleys and forests with their networks of tracks and roadways.

For those interested in history, then this area should provide fulfilment. The Romans left their mark, as did those ancient Britons who built numerous hillforts. Of the drovers who herded flocks of geese, sheep and cattle to the markets of England they leave countless "Drovers" inns, and tracks over the hill with the distinctive Scotch pines as way markers. Not too far away are the old gold and lead mines with their dilapitated workshops and houses still remaining.

For bird watchers perhaps the red kite is the most notable in the area, and can be seen over the town or close-up at Gigrin Kite Feeding Station at neighbouring Rhayader.

Churches abound in the area, and there are connections with the Revd Francis Kilvert, William Williams of Pantycelyn, the hymn writer, and the Wesleys. Church trails lead you around the churches of mid-Wales, some in town and village centres, some remote and accessed only across fields, the buildings display a range qualities, and some escaped the Victorian "modernisation", retaining their charm, and perhaps something of their pre-Christian origins.

Home  |  The Town  |  Castle Intro  |  Castle  |  Llywelyn  |  Links

Valid HTML 4.0!