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The River Wye from south of Builth Wells to Hereford

The course of the River Wye described on this page flows from Mid Wales to the English Border - and on into Hereford, the single city on the river.

View Places along the River Wye in a larger map
The Source of the River Wye
The River Wye at Pant Mawr
The River Wye at Llangurig
The Wye Valley between Llangurig and Rhyader
Bryn Titli wind farm
Rhyader - the first town on the River Wye
The Elan and Caerwen reservoirs
Gigrin Farm Red Kite Feeding Station
Builth Wells


Erwood Station

On the Cambrian Railways System, Erwood Station was closed on 31 December 1962.

In 1984 the derelict station was taken over by Derbyshire couple Erica and the late Alan Cunnungham. They established it as a centre for arts and crafts. This centre continues despite the original shop being destroyed by fire in 1996.

A Fowler 0-6-0 industrial diesel locomotive has for several years stood by the platform looking worse for wear. In recent years it has been undergoing restoration, and is dedicated to the memory of Alan Cunningham.


Brecon - Builth Wells branch line

The line through Erwood ran from Brecon to Builth Wells and was part of the Mid Wales line opened in 1864 and was part of the Cambrian Railways system. The line closed at the end of 1962.

South of Erwood the line continues as a public road. However this is open to light traffic only, because of weight restrictions of the old bridge that crosses the Afon Bachawy (a tributary of the River Wye).

Afon - corrupted to Avon

The welsh for 'river' is Afon, which is why on Welsh maps rivers are prefixed by Afon. Welsh is derived from ancient Celtic language, and Afon has continued corruptedin England, with several Rivers Avon (which could be referred top as 'River River').


Llanstephan Suspension Bridge

The bridge crossing the River Wye at Llanstephan is a suspension bridge - meaning that the trackway is suspended from cables themselves held aloft by towers. This type of bridge allows a wide crossing without the need for supporting tiers.

The Llanstephan suspension bridge was built in 1922 by David Rowell and Company of Westminster, who operated between 1855 and 1970, and specialised in civil engineering projects such as this.

What is surprising about this bridge is that it is still open to road traffic. This is despite the fact that there is no room for a family car to pass a pedestrian on the bridge. Vehicles are restricted to five tons and can travel at no more than four miles per hour on the bridge.


Llangoed Hall

Formerly Llangoed Castle, the current building dates back to 1632. However buildings on the site may go back as far as at least 560 AD. The castle had a colourful history - an one point being won by a member of the Macnamara family in a card game.

The current building took shape between 1912 and 1919 when it was refurbished as a country house. The architect behind this was (later Sir) Clough Williams Ellis - most famous for his Italianate village Portmeirion, in North West Wales.

Husband of the late Laura Ashley, Sir Bernard Ashley bought Llangoed Hall in 1987. He opened the hall as a hotel in 1990, with room furnished from both Laura Ashey and materials from his own venture, Elanbach. Sir Bernard Ashley died in 2009, however Llangoed Hall continues as a hotel.



The village of Boughrood (Welsh name Bochrwd) was originally on a ford over the River Wye. St Cynogs, the village church, was built in 1854. In the 1970s its spire was condemned as unsafe and demolished, with a new spire being erected in 2004.

In the 1840s a toll house was erected and tolls levied for using the bridge until 1934. The current bride - dating from 1958 sports fine wrought iron lamp posts.



Glasbury also has the name Glasbury-on-Wye and the Welsh name of Y Clas-ar-Wy. Today in Powys, the village used to connect the welsh counties of Brecknockshire and Radnorshire. Its name is derived from the welsh word 'clas' which meant land belonging to the church.

Glasbury has a long history which includes a battle between the Welsh and English in 1056. Then after the Norman invasion the area was acquired by Marcher Lord Bernard de Neufemarche. Glasbury Castle was first built in 1144, and granted to the De Clifford family. The castle was attacked and captured in 1233 following a rebellion by the Cliffords.

The river bridge at Glasbury has been repeatedly swept away by floods. A wooden bridge was destroyed in 1738, its replacement in 1777 and then a stone bridge in 1795 - the current bridge was built in 1923.

All of the River Wye downstream from Glasbury allows free access for canoeists.



Llowes is a tiny village with a population of 110.

The centre of the hamlet is Llowes church, built in 1856. This is one of the oldest religious sites in the county of Powys. St Meilig's church was one of those in the Reverend Francis Kilvert's ministry in the 19th century. Kilvert’s diaries recorded much detail of the countryside around Llowes.

The churchyard has a sundial dedicated to the memory of Francis Kilvert, erected in 1954.



The Black Mountains

The River Wye is forced into an easterly direction - towards England - by the upland heights known as the Black Mountains. These dominate the southern horizon in the area around Llowes.

The best known height in the Black Mountains is Hay Bluff. Rising to Two Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty feet, this marks the northern end of the Hatterall Ridge.

The shape of Hay Bluff generates updrafts, making it popular with any kind of glider when weather permits. It is also popular with walkers - the Offa's Dyke footpath crosses here. Hay Bluff is also where early scenes in the 1981 cult movie ‘An American Werewolf in London’ were filmed.

Hay Bluff is on the video on the Hay-on-Wye page.


Hay on Wye

  The World's first book town is described on a separate page


Whitney Toll Bridge

There are many bridges over the Wye that have associated with them a redundant toll house - in various states or repair. Whitney bridge is unique in that it is the only bridge that solely crosses the River Wye that still collects tolls.

The current bridge - built from stone and timber in the early 19th century was the fourth thst stood here. The first three - dating back to 1779 - were all washed away.

Whitney toll bridge allows a short cut to Hay on Wye on the B4350. It was extensively renovated in 1993. Whitney Toll Bridge enjoys a tax exempt status granted in 1797 which states "The said bridge shall not be rated, assessed for or towards any public or parish rate or duty whatsoever."

Whitney Toll Bridge is on the video on the Hay-on-Wye page.


Bredwardine Bridge

One of the most picturesque bridges over the River Wye is at Bredwardine. This is the site of the first brick bridge in Herefordshire. It was bult in 1776 and needed post flood repairs as early as 1795. When the original bridge became unsafe in 1922 the current bridge was built - a faithful copy of the original.

Despite its problems, Bredwardine Bridge was built to handle floods. For example although it has a magnificent six arches, only four are generally in use. The outermost two are there to handle the River Wye when it is in flood.


Monnington on Wye

Together with the neighbouring hamlet of Brobury, Monnington is regarded as a village (the village being 'Brobury with Monnington on Wye'). The combined village has a population of just 67.

Lined with scotch firs and yews, the mile long ' Monnington Walk' avenue leadsto the centre of Monnington with its Manor House and St mary's Church. The church has a West Tower dating to the 15th century.

It is possible that Owain Glydwr died and was buried here, around 1416.


Cider orchards

Monnington on Wye is surrounded by cider apple orchards. The branches on a cider apple tree is called a feather - and for a good crop a tree needs at least six feathers. A well maintained orchard can produce over 15 tonnes of cider apples per acre. Rows in the orchard are spaced to allow the mechanical haversters to pass between them.

Varieties of cider apple include: Sweet Coppin, Tremlett's Bitter, Foxwhelp, Yarlington Mill, Dabinett, Brown Snout, Ellis Bitter, Chisel Jersey and Michelin.

The cider apple orchards around Monnington are owned by Bulmers. Bulmers were established in 1887 and now produces 65% of UK Cider.



With a population of 119, Byford is a small village, by the River Wye. What makes it stand out is that so many of the village's houses are timber framed.

These houses would take shape from a wooden frame. Then the walls filled in with wattle and daub. Wattle is a lattice of wooden strips woven together, which is the Daubed with a hard setting sticky material. The constituentsns of daub can vary, but is usually a combination of wet soil, clay, soil, sand and animal dung.

Wattle and daub goes back at least 6000 years, and is coming back into fashion as a sustainable building material.

Timber framed houses are often called 'black and white' houses because the timber is painted black and the wattle and daub whitewashed. However one house at Byford is unusual in that the timber has been left unpainted.


The Weir Gardens

The Weir is an area of ornamental gardens bordering the River Wye. The gardens are spread over ten acres and were created by Roger Parr, and his Head Gardener William Boulter. The Gardens are owned and maintained by the National Trust, who took over the Weir Gardens in 1959.



 The only city on the River Wye is described on a seperate page


A Year on the Wye DVD

A Year on the Wye DVD cover


  River Wye screensaver

  River Wye 2011 calendar

South of Builth WellsSouth of Builth Wells
Morning mist lingers, the Wye valley south of Builth Wells © Star Video 2011


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Fowler 0 6 0 before restorationFowler 0 6 0 before restoration
Erwood Station - the Fowler 0 6 0 awaits restoration © Star Video 2011
Fowler 0 6 0 after restorationFowler 0 6 0 after restoration
The Fowler 0 6 0 after restoration © Star Video 2011

Llanstephan Suspension BridgeLlanstephan Suspension Bridge
Still open to road traffic, Llanstephan Suspension Bridge © Star Video 2011


Llangoed HallLlangoed Hall
Llangoed Hall, previously Llangoed Castle © Star Video 2011
Boughrood BridgeBoughrood Bridge
Boughrood Bridge © Star Video 2011


The River Wye at GlasburyThe River Wye at Glasbury
Glasbury Bridge © Star Video 2011



Llowes ChurchLlowes Church
Llowes Church © Star Video 2011


Hay BluffHay Bluff
Hay Bluff, in the Black Mountains © Star Video 2011





Whitney BridgeWhitney Bridge
Whitney Bridge - still a toll bridge © Star Video 2011





The River Wye at Bredwardine BridgeThe River Wye at Bredwardine Bridge
Bredwardine Bridge © Star Video 2011



Monnington WalkMonnington Walk
The mile long Monnington Walk © Star Video 2011
Cider Apple Orchards at MonningtonCider Apple Orchards at Monnington
Cider apple orchards at Monnington © Star Video 2011



Black and white houses at ByfordBlack and white houses at Byford
Black and white houses at Byford © Star Video 2011



The River Wye at the Weir GardensThe River Wye at the Weir Gardens
The River Wye at the Weir Gardens © Star Video 2011



© 2011 Star Video