Great walk with a great pub: the Neuadd Arms Hotel, Powys

Asia's Tech News Daily

Start: Neuadd Arms Hotel

Distance: 8 miles

Time 3.5 hours

Total ascent 290 metres

Difficulty moderate

As everyone knows, the Roman empire’s water supplies were tainted with a hidden substance that crept in from the pipes. Nero’s response was to devise epic chariot races and take part in the ancient Olympics; his cousin Caligula also concocted several new sports and began to wonder who was better, humans or horses; and their Uncle Claudius could not think of any new games so invaded Wales instead. Wacky water, you see. Imbibe with care.

Google map

Which brings us to the spa town of Llanwrtyd Wells, or as the late Screaming Lord Sutch, founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony party and a regular visitor, memorably described it as “the belly button of Wales”, an appellation that neatly captures both its centrality and eccentricity. (The pub is still the party’s headquarters.)

In Victorian times, the spa was based around Ffynon Drewllyd, “the smelly well”, a sulphur-reeking spring that previous generations had sensibly regarded as pure poison, locating their settlement well above its outfall. Not so the Victorians, who bathed in the bubbling brew while sipping glasses of the neighbouring “chalybeate” spring water, a source that was noticeably green. They claimed it did them good, but ever since then all kinds of eccentricity have blossomed and become part of the Llanwrtyd Wells experience, none more curious than the Man versus Horse race, an annual competition for which all our Roman emperors would happily take credit.

The town is on the quiet, middle section of the A483, where the tarmac snakes down into the aforementioned navel from the north-east, then swings across the River Irfon and powers off towards Llandovery. The passage over the bridge, in particular, is slightly tricky, with a good chance of meeting a horse-rider coming in the opposite direction, so most motorists do not even clock the Neuadd Arms Hotel, sitting proudly to their right, presiding over the entire settlement.

However, before we enter this fine watering hole, some exercise must be taken and there are plenty of walking options in the hills and valleys all around. The town happens to be on one of the UK’s greatest railway lines – the Heart of Wales – which heads south-west from Shrewsbury to Swansea, cutting through some of the most secluded and beautiful parts of Wales. Llanwrtyd Wells is one of around two dozen stations in the central section, many of them request stops. Stitching all of these places together is the Heart of Wales footpath, which loops through the countryside, making it easy to devise an outward walk, followed by a train ride back. For example, from Llanwrtyd Wells take the path out to the impressive Cynghordy viaduct (a nine-mile hike), then ride back.

Best of all, though, is this circular walk. Take the lane upriver from the Neuadd Arms to the old Dol-y-Coed Hotel (now an electronics company) and admire the former spa pump. Down by the river you can still get a pungent whiff and take a mouthful for your “health”, but be warned, there will be consequences – as will become clear later.

There are many footpaths to follow further up the valley, with several bridges. Press on to old Llanwrtyd with its fine early medieval country church, St David’s. One of its vicars, Theophilus Evans, conveniently discovered the health-giving properties of the stinky spring on his arrival here in 1732, thus transforming the economic prospects of his parish and his own reputation. The story goes that Evans spotted a very healthy frog living in the sulphurous spring, and after being inspired to taste a mouthful, was promptly cured of scurvy.

A little further on, at Pen-y-Ddinas, stepping stones take you across the Irfon, but they are not always passable when the river is high. Another mile and you start to encounter a series of beautiful waterfalls, eventually finding some benches and picnic tables on the west bank. Bathers will love the deep pools, and trout and salmon are occasionally spotted leaping the falls. From here a number of forest tracks can be taken east up into the forest on the slopes of the Garn Goch (the red cairn). Curling back south and leaving the woods, you will see ancient lava flows before descending to Gilfach where the trail becomes a tarmac lane. The last section is on the A483 (there’s a footpath alongside) before you complete the eight-mile circuit back to the Neuadd Arms.

By this time, assuming you have taken the waters at the old hotel, you will be as mad as a Roman emperor, hatching hare-brained ideas for new gladiatorial sports. What could be better than a chariot race, powered with mountain bikes? The wagons could be constructed from beer barrels. Maybe they could dress up in togas? Caligula versus Nero? Then maybe a November beer festival, soon followed by a New Year’s Eve parade with flaming torches, a horse’s skull and a samba band. And has anyone ever thought of snorkelling through one of the local bogs? You rush into the bar, stepping over the sleeping dogs, and order a pint of Welsh Black (made in the brewery next door), then turn to address the expectant crowd of locals.

Great walk with a great pub: the Neuadd Arms Hotel, Powys
© Provided by The Guardian Memorial to Screaming Lord Sutch in the Neuadd Arms Hotel. Photograph: JMorgan08/Alamy

But, hang on a minute, what’s that on the wall? A series of large polished wooden display boards record the victors in the Bog Snorkelling Championships, the Man Versus Horse race, and the annual Mountain Bike Chariot race. Lindsay Ketteringham, the landlord, steps forward in his habitual Hawaiian shirt. “Have you been sampling the waters?” He chuckles. “I’ve got the Roman chariots outside, if you’d like to see them.”

The locals smile knowingly and one of them adds, “The November beer festival is fantastic … and New Year’s Mari Lwyd – that’s where we parade the skull of the grey mare, reciting Welsh poetry.”

Previous landlord Gordon Green, you see, has got there first, devising so many festivals and championships that Llanwrtyd Wells has transformed its economic outlook and become a crackpot sporting hotspot. What could be termed “the brown riband event” is the World Bog Snorkelling championships. Lindsay says: “There’s a ditch filled with peaty water and mud. You swim with face mask, snorkel and fins for about 60 metres.”

His own favourite event, however, is the Man Versus Horse race, a 22-mile cross-country epic. “We’ve only ever had two runners win,” he says. “But that might be because it gets pretty wild in here the night before.”

He gently prises the empty glass from your hand. “Another pint for you?”

The pub

A handsome Georgian pile that has stood in the centre of Llanwrtyd Wells for over 145 years, the Neuadd Arms Hotel is an active volcano of idiosyncrasy and peculiar festive invention. Landlords Catherine and Lindsay Ketteringham keep it friendly and quirky – there is no standing on ceremony here. Younger members of the party can be dispatched to the pool room (armed with an old 50p piece for the juke box) while the rest enjoy either of two very comfortable bars, each with an open fire, and a straightforward unfussy dining room.

The rooms

The hotel part has 20 spacious and comfortable rooms with full-length sash windows overlooking the bridge across the Irfon. Given that a decent soaking is highly probable while out walking or cycling, the plentiful hot water and baths are a fine addition, worth a bit of worn decor here and there. Wet kit can be dried in the boiler room – next to the crates of bog snorkelling equipment.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Biden says putting together comprehensive plan in Russia-Ukraine crisis

© Reuters/VALENTYN OGIRENKO The national flag of Ukraine flies over the town of Kramatorsk WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday he is putting together a set ... Read more »

'Worrying' number of children and pregnant women in hospital as omicron surges in South Africa

© Phill Magakoe/Pool via REUTERS Scientists say that omicron is behind the explosion of infections in the country’s Gauteng Province, which is home to both the sprawling metropolis Johannesburg and ... Read more »

ISL 2021-22 Highlights: Chennaiyin FC Held to Goalless Draw by SC East Bengal

© Provided by News18 ISL 2021-22 Highlights, Chennaiyin FC vs SC East Bengal: Chennaiyin FC have had four shots on target but have not been able to convert those chances. East ... Read more »

There's A Tiger King Spin-Off Coming And It Looks Ridiculous

Netflix/YouTube In March 2020, there was only one thing people could talk about. It dominated social media and had millions wondering about what the state of humanity would look like ... Read more »

Karnataka: All events in educational institution postponed

Events in all the educational institutions of the state have been postponed till January 15 next year. (Photo Courtesy: PTI) State Revenue Minister for Karnataka, R Ashoka, informed that the ... Read more »

Goa Archbishop nudges govt to preserve Old Goa heritage precinct

© Provided by Hindustan Times Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão warned the state authorities to preserve the Old Goa heritage precinct lest it loses its world heritage status granted by ... Read more »

Ghaziabad's Nehru World School becomes UP's becomes first PASCH certified school

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: Ghaziabad’s Nehru World School (NWS) has become the first school in Uttar Pradesh to be integrated into the PASCH network, a cooperative organization of ... Read more »

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Returns as Kerala CPI(M) State Secretary After a Year-Long Hiatus

© Provided by News18 Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Returns as Kerala CPI(M) State Secretary After a Year-Long Hiatus CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Friday returned to the post of Kerala CPI(M) ... Read more »

Previous SP regime looted Bundelkhand: BJP reply to Akshilesh's 'befooling people' barb

© Provided by The Times of India LUCKNOW: On a day Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav completed his last leg of Vijay Rath Yatra in Bundelkhand region of Uttar ... Read more »

NCP attacks Centre over NCB asking states to take help in inter-state, int'l drug cases

National Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik criticised Centre on Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) chief’s letter asking states to seek NCB’s help with cases having inter-state and international ramifications. Malik said ... Read more »

Court discharges Chhota Rajan in 2002 extortion case involving his henchman

Court discharges Chhota Rajan in 2002 extortion case involving his henchman A special court dealing with criminal cases related to Rajendra Nikalje, alias gangster Chhota Rajan, has discharged him in ... Read more »

Omicron scare: Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai chairs meeting with experts, senior health officials

© Provided by DNA Just a day after the government confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Karnataka, state Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday chaired a ... Read more »

Canadian grocery retailer Loblaw wins offshore tax case in top court

© Reuters/CHRIS WATTIE FILE PHOTO: A Loblaw logo is seen outside a grocery store in Ottawa OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian grocery retailer Loblaw Companies Ltd does not have to pay ... Read more »

Rishi Sunak tax warning: Hike to heat your home could QUADRUPLE

© Getty Rishi Sunak Announcing a new report on steps post COP25, Chair of the CCC Lord Deben said the UK needed to “walk the talk” and deliver urgent actions. ... Read more »

Motorists ‘overcharged 12p a litre' for petrol as fuel costs rise despite wholesale price fall

Supermarkets and petrol retailers have been been accused of overcharging motorists by as much as 12p a litre for fuel by increasing prices despite falling wholesale costs. The cost of ... Read more »

Architecture and design tutors join UK university walkouts over pay and pensions

Architecture and design tutors and academics are participating in strikes across the UK this week over pension cuts, falling pay and poor working conditions at their universities. © Provided by ... Read more »

Who is the referee for Rangers v Dundee, Celtic's game on Sunday and each weekend match in the cinch Premiership and SPFL Championship?

It’s been a busy week to be a football match official in Scotland – almost as busy as it has been to be a fan and keep up with a ... Read more »

Biden, 79, insists his alarming low and hoarse voice is just a COLD

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo President Biden raised concerns Friday morning sounding particularly hoarse as he delivered remarks on November’s jobs report, which was less robust than expected.    ... Read more »

UK records 50,584 Covid infections and 143 deaths amid Omicron spread

The UK faced a further 50,584 new Covid cases and 143 deaths on Friday. © PA Wire People wearing face masks walking along Oxford Street, London – PA Wire The ... Read more »

Britons can get paid £148,000 to move to a dreamy country next year - full list

New research by packaging retailer RAJA revealed the countries that will pay travellers to move there. There are many countries around the world with schemes that encourage people to move ... Read more »

The London hospitals that could be thrown into chaos as 40,000 NHS staff face sack over vaccine

London hospitals could be hit hard by staff shortages next year with tens of thousands still not double-jabbed. Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced in November that all frontline workers would ... Read more »

Ron DeSantis calls for Florida state military guard he would control

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis announced he would recommend $3.5 million in his state’s budget to re-establish a military guard that would answer to him. © Getty Images GettyImages-1333405306.jpg Mr DeSantis ... Read more »

Golf-Bekker takes three shot lead in South African Open

SUN CITY, South Africa (Reuters) – Oliver Bekker moved from joint overnight leader into a three shot lead at the midway point of the South African Open after carding a ... Read more »

Ange kicked while he's down after learning 'special' Celtic beast could miss next six games

Celtic forward Giorgos Giakoumakis could be out for three more weeks, Ange Postecoglou has revealed. © Provided by Transfer Tavern Georgios Giakoumakis in action for Greece The Lowdown: Giakoumakis’ struggles ... Read more »

Italian govt moves to crack down on violence against women

© Reuters/REMO CASILLI New Italian government led by PM Conte, is sworn in at the presidential palace in Rome ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s government approved a bill on Friday to ... Read more »

Lin-Manuel Miranda says directorial debut ‘Tick, Tick Boom!' is about 'failure'

“It’s not the story of the genius who made rent writing ‘Rent.’ It’s the genius who made ‘Rent’ spending 10 years writing the show that no one wanted to see," Miranda said about the late Jonathan Larson. Read more »

Venezuela denies visa extension for electoral observers-source

© Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino A woman holds a Venezuelan flag while participating in a candlelight vigil held for victims of recent violence in Caracas By Vivian Sequera CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela ... Read more »

Men's Junior Hockey World Cup 2021: India's title defence comes to end as Germans clinch dominant 4-2 win

© Provided by Firstpost Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2021: India’s title defence comes to end as Germans clinch dominant 4-2 win Bhubaneswar: Defending champions India’s dream of a second ... Read more »

Sri Lankan factory manager lynched and set on fire in Pakistan

© Provided by Al Jazeera Police officers stand guard at the site where a Sri Lankan citizen was lynched by a Muslim mob outside a factory in Sialkot, Pakistan [Shahid ... Read more »

ISL 2021-22: Night of Missed Chances for Chennaiyin FC in 0-0 Draw vs SC East Bengal

© Provided by News18 It was a night of missed chances but Chennaiyin FC would have felt hard done by as they featured in a goalless draw with SC East ... Read more »

IND vs NZ: Mayank Agarwal says THIS Sunil Gavaskar advice helped him score century on Day 1 of 2nd Test

© Provided by Zee News Mumbai: Indian opener Mayank Agarwal on Friday explained how he acted on the advice of former skipper Sunil Gavaskar to improve his side-on stance during ... Read more »

Line closed and 100m cordon in place after World War Two bomb found near rail track

An unexploded Second World War bomb has been found near railway tracks, leading to the delay of some train services. © Other Images of the unexploded World War Two bomb ... Read more »

Sara Sheridan to give talk on Edinburgh-set historical novel at the Botanics

Set in 1822, the novel features the Botanics’ move from its location at Leith Walk to Inverleith. © Meet author Sara Sheridan at the Botanics when she will be talking ... Read more »

Google maps sleuths spot ‘Nazi' house in the middle of a runway at Berlin airport

© Google Maps/Reddit House on airport runway Google Maps provides some extraordinary sights – and now, people are convinced they’ve spotted an old “Nazi house” at a major Berlin airport. ... Read more »

Glasgow city guide: Where to stay, eat, drink and shop in Scotland's cool capital of culture

While often overlooked by tourists seeking Harry Potter thrills in neighbouring Edinburgh, Glasgow is undeniably Scotland’s cultural heart, with the finest homegrown music scene in the country. It’s Scotland’s largest ... Read more »

Parents and teachers: what impact has the pandemic had on five-year-olds?

Photograph: lovethephoto/Alamy We would like to hear from parents and teachers about how this age group is coping We would like to hear about the impact the pandemic has had ... Read more »

Haiti cops caught soldier in stolen car. His fast release raises questions of unequal justice

The two armed men were on a mission. It was either to steal Widlore Mérancourt’s gray Suzuki Vitara, to kidnap him or to do both. As they drove him around ... Read more »

Biden announces ‘free' at-home Covid tests – but there's a catch

Biden announces ‘free’ at-home Covid tests – but there’s a catch Americans with private medical insurance will be able to have the costs of at-home Covid-19 testing kits reimbursed by ... Read more »

U.S. to not reimburse private health insurers for covering at-home COVID test costs

U.S. FDA authorizes first COVID-19 test for self-testing at home WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government will not reimburse private health insurance companies for covering the cost of at-home COVID-19 ... Read more »

Ex-State Dept. employee sentenced for embezzling $150k in travel funds for SOUTHCOM events

A former State Department employee was sentenced to more than a year’s imprisonment Dec. 1 for his role in defrauding the department and the Defense Department of $150,000 through his ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic