County of Powys
Sir Powys
Coat of arms of County of Powys
Location of County of Powys
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Wales
Preserved countyPowys
Established1 April 1996
Admin HQCounty Hall, Llandrindod Wells
Largest townNewtown
Government
 • Type
 • ControlIndependent
 • MPs
 • MSs
Area
 • Total5,200 km2 (2,000 sq mi)
 • RankRanked 1st
Population
 (2021)
 • Total133,200
 • RankRanked 11th
 • Density26/km2 (70/sq mi)
  • RankRanked 22nd
 • Ethnicity
99.3% White
Welsh language
 • RankRanked 7th
 • Any skills30.1%
Geocode00NN (ONS)
W06000023 (GSS)
ISO 3166 codeGB-POW

Powys (/ˈpɪs, ˈpɪs/; Welsh: [ˈpowɪs])[1] is a county and preserved county in Wales.[2] It is named after the Kingdom of Powys which was a Welsh successor state, petty kingdom and principality that emerged during the Middle Ages following the end of Roman rule in Britain.

Geography

Further information: List of places in Powys

Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire, and part of historic Denbighshire. With an area of about 2,000 square miles (5,200 km2), it is now the largest administrative area in Wales by land and area (Dyfed was until 1996 before several former counties created by the Local Government Act 1972 were abolished). It is bounded to the north by Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Wrexham County Borough; to the west by Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire; to the east by Shropshire and Herefordshire; and to the south by Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough, Caerphilly County Borough, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire and Neath Port Talbot.

The largest towns are Newtown, Ystradgynlais, Brecon, Welshpool, Llandrindod Wells and Knighton. Powys has the lowest population density of all the principal areas of Wales. Most of Powys is mountainous, and most roads and railways are relatively slow.

Just under a third of the residents have Welsh linguistic skills: Welsh speakers are concentrated mainly in the rural areas both in and around Machynlleth, Llanfyllin and Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (where William Morgan first translated the whole Bible into Welsh in 1588) in Montgomeryshire, and the industrial area of Ystradgynlais in the southwest of Brecknockshire. Radnorshire was almost completely anglicised by the end of the 18th century. The 2001 census records show 21% of the population of Powys were able to speak Welsh at that time, the same as for the whole of Wales.[3]

History

Main article: Scheduled Monuments in Powys

The county is named after the ancient Welsh Kingdom of Powys, which in the sixth century AD included the northern two-thirds of the area as well as most of Shropshire and adjacent areas now in England, and came to an end when it was occupied by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd of Gwynedd during the 1260s.

The uplands retain evidence of occupation from long before the Kingdom of Powys, and before the Romans, who built roads and forts across the area. There are 1130 identified burial mounds within the county, of varying styles and ages, dating from 4000 BC to 1000 BC, most of them belonging to the Bronze Age.[4] Of these, 339 are scheduled monuments. Standing stones, most again dating to the Bronze Age, also occur in large numbers, 276 being found across the county, of which 92 are scheduled. From the Iron Age, the county has 90 scheduled hillforts and a further 54 enclosures and settlement sites.

Powys is served by the Cambrian Line and Heart of Wales line which offer connections to major towns and cities such as Swansea, Wrexham, Shrewsbury, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Manchester, Cardiff, Aberystwyth, London and Telford. The county used to be served by key railways such as the Mid-Wales Railway, Oswestry and Newtown Railway, Tanat Valley Light Railway, Llanfyllin Branch, Leominster and Kington Railway, Swansea Vale Railway and the Hereford, Hay and Brecon Railway, all of which offered connections to South Wales, Hereford, Oswestry, North Wales and West Wales but have all since closed.[citation needed]

Heraldry

Powys from 1974–1996
Powys from 1974–1996

The gold in the county coat of arms symbolises the wealth of the area. Black is for both mining and the Black Mountains. The fountain is a medieval heraldic charge displayed as a roundel barry wavy argent and azure. It represents water and refers to both the water catchment area and the rivers and lakes. Thus, the arms contain references to the hills and mountains, rivers and lakes, water supply and industry. The crest continues the colouring of the arms. A tower has been used in preference to a mural crown, which alludes to the county's military history and remains. From the tower rises a red kite, a bird almost extinct elsewhere in Britain but thriving in Powys. The bird is a "semé of black lozenges" for the former coal mining industry, while the golden fleece it carries is a reference to the importance of sheep rearing in the county.[5]

The county motto is: Powys – the paradise of Wales (Welsh: Powys Paradwys Cymru).

Government

See also: Powys County Council

On 1 April 1974, Powys was created under the Local Government Act 1972. At first, the former administrative counties of Montgomery, Radnor, and Brecknock were districts within it. On 1 April 1996, the districts were abolished, and Powys was reconstituted as a unitary authority. There was a minor border adjustment in the northeast—specifically, the addition of the communities of Llansilin and Llangedwyn from Glyndŵr district in Clwyd—and with moving the border, so that rather than half of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, all is included.

The first Lord Lieutenant of Powys was previously the Lord Lieutenant of Montgomeryshire. The Lord Lieutenant of Brecknockshire and Lord Lieutenant of Radnorshire were appointed as lieutenants. The present lord lieutenant is Shân Legge-Bourke of Crickhowell.

Attractions

Castles[edit]

Lakes, reservoirs and waterfalls[edit]

Cathedral[edit]

Cave systems[edit]

Museums and exhibitions[edit]

Walks[edit]

Railways[edit]

Fairtrade

In December 2007, Powys was awarded Fair Trade County status by The Fairtrade Foundation.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ POH-iss with the vowels of "goat" and "kit" or POW-iss, with the vowels of "mouth" and "kit"
  2. ^ Located in the east-central parts of Wales, either in the Mid Wales and East Wales regions or in both North and South Wales under historical definitions.
  3. ^ Welsh Language Board, (disbanded 2012), Archived version of the statistics page, 30 March 2012
  4. ^ Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust: Introducing Prehistoric burial and ritual sites. Accessed 6 April 2014
  5. ^ "Powys". Heraldry of the world. (Outdated file.)
  6. ^ "Cambrian Mountain Events Home Welcome to the Sabrina Walk". www.llanidloes.com. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Severn Way". Long Distance Walkers Association. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  8. ^ Sally Williams. "FairTrade Resource Network". Retrieved 3 July 2008.

Coordinates: 52°18′N 3°25′W / 52.300°N 3.417°W / 52.300; -3.417