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SY16 2BB


Newtown, known in Welsh as 'Y Drenewydd', is the largest town in Powys (pop.13,000) and is situated on the banks of the River Severn. Founded as a market town at the end of the 13th century, Newtown boasts a rich industrial heritage and is surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Despite its 13th century origins, Newtown came to prominence in the 19th century when the Montgomeryshire Canal supplied the transport for the blossoming textile industry. Later in the 19th century Newtown would also give birth to the world's first mail-order store; the Pryce-Jones building is still the tallest in the town. Amongst Pryce-Jones' customers were Queen Victoria and Florence Nightingale. It is believed that the parcel post in Britain was started as a result of a suggestion made by Pryce Jones to the Postmaster General. The town’s connection with the textile industry was revived in the 20th century when businesswoman Laura Ashley established her home furnishing and clothing company in the area.

The town is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Robert Owen in 1771. Known as Britain's first Socialist, he was born over a saddler's shop in Broad Street. At the age of ten he began work in the town's flourishing textiles industry, and worked his way up. He became a self-made man, eventually running and owning some of the largest textile factories in Britain. Robert Owen is recognised for having sowed the seeds of socialism long before Karl Marx. The epitaph on his gravestone in the churchyard of the abandoned St Mary's Church in Newtown sums up his philosophy: 'It is the one great and universal interest of the human race to be cordially united and to aid each other to the full extent of their capacities'.

Newtown's textile industry went into decline after the town saw Wales' first Chartist demonstration in 1838. Following the decline of that industry, agriculture became the area's main income generator. The town was given the status 'new town' in 1967, and as a result, saw a large population growth, changing the rural market town character of the town as companies established themselves in the area.

Today Newtown benefits from a number of museums and galleries. The Robert Owen Museum, the Textile Museum, the WH Smith Museum and the Oriel Davis Gallery are all situated in the centre of town. On the outskirts of the town is Theatr Hafren, Coleg Powys and local sports facilities. Newtown provides the ideal base to explore the surrounding countryside. Nearby there are nature reserves, Montgomery Canal paths, the Severn Way, Dolforwyn Castle and Gregynog, a stunning country house built by Lord Davies of Llandinam, and now in the ownership of the University of Wales.

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MWT Cymru


SY16 2BB

Location and nearby places


Plan route to Newtown/Y Drenewydd using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SO 108916  Lat: 52.51512 Long: -3.31512

BY TRAIN: Newtown railway station is a 10 minute walk from the town centre. There is parking at the station and taxis are available in the town centre

BY BUS: Newtown bus station is located in the town centre off Back Lane (opposite Argos) with services from/to Shrewsbury, Llanidloes, Machynlleth, Llandrindod Wells, Builth Wells, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Birmingham and London.

BY CAR: A458 from Shrewsbury to Welshpool; then A483.

Parking: with charge

Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Newtown station


  • Cash PointCash Point
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • PostboxPostbox
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Telephone (public)Telephone (public)
  • Disabled accessDisabled access
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