Shrewsbury/Heart of Wales Towns Tour Journey Notes 3 - Llandrindod to Llandovery.
Times in brackets are for request stops - we may not call at these. Times assume departure from Llandrindod on schedule at 12.00.
12.00 We leave Llandrindod and follow the A483 Builth Wells road to Howey (left); from here we head south-west.
(12.09) Builth Road. L- Fifty years ago Builth Wells had its own railway station on the line to Brecon (which crossed our line here) but today this is the closest we get to the town which is a couple of miles south-east. Builth Wells was founded by the Normans when a timber Motte and Bailey Castle was constructed at a commanding point overlooking the ancient crossing of the Wye. This market town today has a population of some 2,400. Just outside of the town is the Royal Welsh Showground which hosts a number of events throughout the year, including the biggest agricultural show in Europe - The Royal Welsh Show, which takes place in July each year. During this time, the quiet railway hamlet of Builth Road springs to life with special trains for the Show and connecting buses. Just after we pass Builth Road, we cross the River Wye.
(12.13) Cilmery. R -The Welsh spelling for this village (which has around 450 inhabitants) is Cilmeri. It is near where the last native Prince of Wales of direct descent, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, was slain in 1282 during a skirmish with soldiers of Edward I of England. A memorial serves as the focal point for an annual day of remembrance on the anniversary of his death on 11 December. From Cilmery to Garth we follow the A483 Builth Wells to Llandovery road.
(12.18) Garth. South (left) of this small village are the Eppynt mountains (Mynydd Eppynt) which rise to over 1,500 feet. A road over the mountains runs from Garth to Brecon - we cross over it just before the station. After Garth, we cross over the River Dulas and then the Irfon (twice) which flows into the Wye.
(12.22) Llangammarch Wells. L - This is the smallest of the four spa towns/villages of Mid Wales although the spa was focused on a barium well which is now closed. The village lies on the River Irfon and has a population of just under 500; it is centred on the parish church of St Cadmarch. We now head west, following the River Irfon upstream.
12.28 We arrive at Llanwrtyd Wells and leave the train for the afternoon.
16.23 Leave Llanwrtyd Wells and continue south-west; we soon follow the A483 Builth Wells to Llandovery road.
(16.29) Sugar Loaf. This remote station is mostly used by a few walkers and cyclists - only 240 in 2013/4 although this is up from 59 in 2005/6! We pass through a 1,000 yard long tunnel and the rocky knoll from which the station takes its name will be on the left. After another 2 miles, we cross the Cynghordy viaduct; with 18 arches, it is 850 feet long and just over 100 feet high.
(16.36) Cynghordy. R - The little station is about 0.75 mile away from the village.
16.46 We arrive at Llandovery and leave the train.