Builth Bridge

Builth Bridge

The 18th-century bridge at Builth Wells carries heavy vehicles on the A470. It has six fine masonry spans, with relatively small round cutwaters, which are fitted on the upstream side with stout steel fenders to provide protection from debris. The centre of the bridge has a pedestrian refuge on each side. The bridge was built in 1775 and widened in 1925. The river here marks the boundary between the old counties of Breconshire and Radnorshire.

Home Improvement 1670


I love this house, Dyfaenor, or Ty Faenor, reached by a narrow lane It was originally a hunting lodge set within a great park. Built in the sixteen thirties it was remodelled in1670 by Richard Fowler, High Sheriff of Radnorshire, after his main house in the village of Abbey Cwm Hir had been destroyed in the Civil war.

The house is on the site of one of the abbey granges was designed around a central staircase with a room to each side on each floor. The basement contained the servants’ hall and kitchen, the ground floor the dining parlour and hall, the first floor two bedrooms with a loft floor above. Inside the house boasts a massive dogleg staircase with square newels.

In the early years of the Methodist Revival the house was used as a meeting room.

The Happy Union

The Happy Union Public House, Abbey Cwm Hir, Radnorshire.

We discovered this unusually named pub on our Christmas Day walk. Unfortunately, due to Covid 19, it is closed for the foreseeable future.

The brick and stone grade II listed building with cast iron windows is one of the oldest in the village of Abbey Cwm Hir, Radnorshire. It is likely to have once been a drovers’ inn, situated as it is, close to the ancient track, Glyndwr’s Way.

The unusual name of the pub is said to refer to the union between Wales and England in 1536.

The inn sign depicts a happy Welshman (his hat decorated with a leek) holding a pint of ale in one hand and a plate of bread and cheese in the other. He is riding a goat, said to represent England.

I look forward to visiting this unusually named pub in happier, Covid free times.

The Castle

What was once the kitchen garden of The Castle

When my husband and I moved into our 1980s built house in a small rural Mid Wales town we were thrilled to discover a row of Victorian redbrick outhouses in the grounds. Delving into the deeds we found that the house is built on the site of The Castle, a grand house built in 1725 and demolished in 1975. A newspaper report at the time of its demolition describes it as one of the most important houses of Wales.

The only visible clues that a grand house once stood here are are one wall remaining from the house, the portico from the front entrance (this stands in a neighbouring garden) the kitchen garden wall with an arched gateway which once led from the formal pleasure gardens into the kitchen garden, a number of splendid Wellingtonias which once lined the carriage drive and the aforesaid outhouses.

As a very amateur writer I was thrilled to discover that The Castle was the childhood home of Hilda Vaughan, a successful writer from the 1920s to the 1950s. Her novels, short stories and plays are mainly set in the Welsh countryside, more precisely the Radnorshire/Breconshire border country where she was born and raised. Her father, a country solicitor, was descended from a land-owning family; her mother, a London socialite, was from a family of Scottish landowners. Despite her privileged background, or perhaps because of it, Hilda identified with the working class agricultural communities of the Mid- Welsh countryside. Her novels depict the struggles  of the working community, the effect of social class  and gender and the dual English/Welsh culture of the place and period. I love the knowledge that the views I see from my windows are those that Hilda saw from The Castle.