Rhayader is a market town servicing the local area. The Old Market Hall was built in 1762. The site of that hall is now the main crossroad of the town, in the centre of which is a clock tower. As well as telling the time, this serves as a memorial to the Two World Wars. Livestock sales are still an important part of the town’s economy.
It is perhaps its importance as a market town that led to Rhayader gaining the reputation of having the highest number of pubs per capita in the UK.
The first castle was built in1177. This was quickly sacked and rebuilt in 1194. This in turn was destroyed by Llewellyn the Great.
In the 18th and 19th centuries sheep and cattle drovers passed through Rhayader on their way to places such as London, Hereford and Banbury. Then, in the 19th Century the town was an important staging post on the London-Aberystwyth coach road.
As mentioned, the Welsh name for Rhayader means ‘Waterfall on the Wye – however the waterfall was largely destroyed by explosives in 1780. This was to make way for the bridge that connects Rhayader with the west. What was the waterfall is now a series of rapids.