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Llanidloes is certainly one of the prettiest towns in Mid Wales and these days it revels in a slightly slower pace of life. Surrounded by soft mountain scenery the area is very popular with wildlife enthusiasts and hikers. It is the closest town, and within walking distance, to the source of the River Severn, whilst Glyndrw's Way National Trail and the Clywedog Reservoir and Dam are also nearby.

Llanidloes combines a respect for its heritage, in the form of the Minerva Quilt Centre for example - or the many fairs and carnivals that light up the town, with a typically alternative focus on whole-foods and fair trade, making it one of the most interesting places to shop or eat in the region.

While it was given a charter to hold a market in 1289, the history of Llanidloes stretches back at least 400 years before that. An ancient half-timbered market hall still stands at the crossroads of the four medieval streets of the town. Built around 1600, it is the only surviving building of this type in Wales. In addition to housing markets, the hall also held Assize courts around 1605, and in 1748 John Wesley preached from a pulpit stone on the open ground floor. Other traces of the town's medieval history can be seen in the many notable timber framed buildings as well as the fifteenth century parish church with its hammerbeam roof. The Church of St Idloes in the town centre incorporates some of the pure early English archways from the nearby Abbey Cwmhir which was dissolved in 1547.

The hills and mountains around Llanidloes were once very important centres of lead and silver mining, and remains from this industry can still be seen on the landscape, particularly on the scenic mountain road connecting Llanidloes to Machynlleth. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the town also developed a thriving flannel industry, but this went into decline in the first half of the nineteenth century. The collapse in the local textile industry led to a campaign for democratic rights and the town became notorious as a crucible of industrial unrest during the Chartist revolt in 1839.

The town is closely linked with Laura Ashley the fabric and dress designer. It was in Llanidloes that she began her first business, in a small shop on the main street. Perhaps fittingly therefore, the Quilt Association of Great Britain has its headquarters at the Minerva Arts Centre, and the town hosts - and is famous for - an annual fancy dress festival

The nearby village of Llandinam is principally remembered as the home of David Davies, the 19th century industrialist and coal magnate. The home of David Davies at Plas Dinam is open to the public for self-catering and provides a fascinating insight into one of the men who 'made' modern Wales.

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SY18 6EQ



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Map reference: SN 954845  Lat: 52.44866 Long: -3.54013

Off the A470, south-east of Newtown.

Accessible by Public Transport: 9 miles from Caersws station