Swansea/Heart of Wales Towns Tour Journey Notes 4 - Llandrindod to Knighton.
Times in brackets are for halts and stations that are request stops - we may not call at these. Times assume departure from Llandrindod on schedule at 16.59.
16.59 Leave Llandrindod, pass a level-crossing (this is where the signal box museum used to stand) and travel north-east with the River Ithon on our left and the A483 road to Newtown on our right. The line crosses the Ithon and the parish church of Crossgates, dedicated to St. Padarn, is on our right; it contains an important Norman archway and a rare carved tympanum, a Roman era centurial stone and Celtic stone carvings. The railway crosses the A483 and the village of Crossgates is left; we then cross over the main A44 east - west road.
(17.06) Penybont. The village is 1.5 miles south-west of the station but Crossgates village is less than a mile to the west. We cross the Ithon again and then cross and follow upstream the River Aran (left).
17.11 Dolau. L - The station serves the small village of Llanfihangel Rhydithon which is about a mile east of here. Nearly all on the stations on the Heart of Wales line are unstaffed but many are looked after by local community groups. The Dolau Station Action Group has taken care of this station for more than 30 years; is known nationally for its colourful floral displays and has received more than thirty awards including the UK’s Best Kept Station Garden. The waiting shelter even has a visitors’ book! In June 2002 the Queen and Prince Philip made a special visit to Dolau during their Golden Jubilee Tour of the UK and a commemorative plaque was unveiled on the platform. We continue to follow (and cross over) the River Aran.
(17.17) Llanbister Road. A few houses on right and the tiny station on left. The suffix ‘Road’ in a station name means that it is not actually at the place in the name and the small village of Llanbister is indeed some 5 miles north-west of here. This is one of a number of request stops on the line that provide an essential service even though, on average, less than 4 journeys per day begin or finish here. After a mile, we cross the B4356 road which leads to the actual village of Llanbister.
(17.23) Llangynllo. The station will be on the left but the village itself is over a mile away to the south; it lies on the River Lugg, a tributary of the Wye. The village is named after St Cynllo, a 5th century princeling turned saint and the church is one of only six to be dedicated to him; it was completely rebuilt between 1878 and 1896. The line now passes through a tunnel and heads east towards Knucklas.
(17.29) Knucklas. Just before the station is one of the most picturesque viaducts in Britain with 13 arches, a crenelated parapet with round towers at each end and square towers at the buttresses; constructed in 1865, it is Grade II listed and 75 feet high and 570 feet long. Left is the small village of Knucklas with a population of around 350 situated 2 miles north-west of Knighton in the upper valley of the River Teme; it is just south of the border with England. The Castle Mound is a protected ancient monument, the site of a castle believed to have been built by the Mortimers in the early 13th century - a square stone fortification with four round towers on top of a steep hill. It was captured by a Welsh army in 1262 which destroyed the defences and then attacked and destroyed by the forces of Owain Glyndwr in 1402 during his rebellion. The River Teme is on our left as we approach Knighton.
17.35 Arrive at Knighton and leave the train.