Llanidloes sits on the banks of the River Severn in Powys Mid Wales. To the east are the Welsh Border lands with the towns of Newtown and Montgomery. To the west nothing but hills, moors, valleys, lakes and the mountain of Plynlimon (Pumlumon) at 752m. Which is just fantastic if you like walking, climbing, mountain biking, bird spotting, horse riding, fishing, sailing and many more outdoor activities. Yes, Llanidloes is the perfect base for all these activities.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
Cyclists and walkers enjoy many trails around the Llanidloes landscape including the circular route from Llanidloes via the Severn Valley, the Hafren Forest, Llyn Clywedog and returning to Llanidloes via the Clywedog Valley, a round trip of approximately 19 miles. There are over thirty separate routes for walkers around the town, which are clearly way marked and signposted, linking Llanidloes with the smaller surrounding villages of Llandinam, Llangurig, and Trefeglwys and range from just a few miles to a good day's walk. Long distance walkers will appreciate the two National Trails that meet at Llanidloes, with both Glyndwr's Way and the Severn Way meandering through the town.
The Llyn Clywedog Reservoir is a centre for fishing, sailing, or simply for walking the forest trails. The local fishing association, Llanidloes Angling Society, release about 30,000 fish into the lake each year including brown and rainbow trout, making Clywedog one of the most popular lakes in Wales for serious anglers. Many believe Clywedog is the most beautiful lake in Wales, offering stunning scenery and an abundance of wildlife with red kites, buzzards, Canada geese, peregrine falcons, and ospreys. Squirrels are a common sight, and there are polecats, foxes, and the short-tailed vole, which has the unhappy distinction of being the primary source of food for the birds of prey that inhabit the lakeshore.
An equestrian centre based just 2 miles from the town offers a full range of riding and livery facilities with access to miles of bridle ways through some of the best riding country in the UK. Moreover, in the unlikely event that it should rain in Mid Wales they offer a floodlit indoor arena. (I can imagine this being quite busy!)
A local activity centre offers archery, abseiling, canoeing, high rope walking, and kayaking on the River Severn.
If just talking about all this activity tires you out then a gentle stroll around the centre of this old market town of Llanidloes might revive you should you have an interest in historic buildings.
There are many historic buildings in Llandeilo, many being timber framed. Moreover, although many can be seen to be timber framed some of Llanidloes' houses hide the ancient timbers behind rather more modern brick, render, and stone facades.
To truly study the fine old buildings requires entering the buildings and forcing down a few pints of beer as many are public houses ...its a tough job but some bodies got to do it. The Royal Head with its original timber framing and beamed ceilings is one such building. (The unusual name of this pub comes from the amalgamation of two neighbouring inns, the Royal Oak and the King's Head).
Probably the highlight of Llanidloes' architecture is however the Old Market Hall. This is the most distinctive building in the town and is the only surviving timber-framed market hall in Wales. The present Hall was built at some time between 1612 and 1622. However, some of the timbers used in its construction are older than the building, dating from the mid-16th century.
Another fine building, and indeed one from which the town takes it's name is St Idloes Church. The church, dedicated to St Idloes, an early 7th Century saint, is almost certain to have been an early medieval foundation. The church is found in a quiet square upon high ground overlooking the River Severn. The tower is thought to have been built sometime between 1350 and 1440. Much of the church is claimed to have been rebuilt around 1542 when the arcade, the beautiful early 13th century stone pillars, arches, and some window tracery were brought from Cwmhir Abbey after the dissolution of the monasteries. However the timber-framed, weather boarded belfry topping the tower, characteristic of the central Welsh Borders, has recently been tree-ring dated to around 1595. The magnificent timber "Angel Roof" of the interior was once thought to have come from the monastery. However, tree-ring analysis has proved that it was purpose-built for this church in about 1542: it may well be the last of its kind ever constructed in Britain.