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Brecon and RadnorshireAbout Brecon and Radnorshire

Nestled between the spectacular countryside of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the vast expanses of moorland of the Eppynt and the Elan Valley, Brecon and Radnorshire is the largest and most rural constituency in Wales. Covering over 3000 square kilometres, this makes the the constituency is a beautiful and special place, but means it faces some unique issues and challenges too.

Transport links are limited because of the sheer size of the constituency and its low density of population. According to the last population census in 2001, Brecon and Radnorshire counted 66,880 people, making it the 30th most sparsely populated constituency in the British Isles. With such a rural profile, it is unsurprising that many of the population are actively involved in agriculture and forestry.

With such a large expanse of land comes, perhaps predictably, a number of striking contrasts. The beautiful unspoiled countryside is set against an impressive heritage of Victorian Spa towns dotted around the constituency and a series of Edwardian dams and reservoirs built in the last century. The south-western part of the constituency is also home to former mining communities, in particular Ystradgynlais.

Main Towns

Brecon

A picturesque old market town set in the Brecon Beacons National Park besides the Usk. It has a castle, cathedral, modern theatre, two museums and many fine Georgian buildings. Brecon is an army town, being administrative headquarters of the army in Wales and home to a company of Gurkhas.

Builth Wells

Set on the banks of the River Wye, Builth Wells has ancient origins, but became known as a spa town in Victorian times. It is famous for the annual Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, held in neighbouring Llanelwedd.

Crickhowell

Crickhowell's architecture spans seven centuries and is full of interesting buildings, including the ancient Bear Hotel and the Georgian Latham House. Crickhowell sits alongside the River Usk and is famous for its 13-arched bridge. This small market town boasts a 14th century church, a ruined castle and an open-air market.

Hay-on-Wye

This delightful small town set beside the Black Mountains range is famous for its second-hand bookshops and the world's biggest annual literary festival. It is also host to a traditional market held weekly.

Knighton

The ancient market town of Knighton is crammed with interesting features including Tudor buildings, steep narrow streets, and an impressive clock tower similar to those in Hay-on-Wye and Rhayader. The Offa's Dyke Heritage Centre is a facility for walkers of the Offa's Dyke Path. This runs along the England/Wales border, roughly following the line of an earthwork built in Saxon times to keep the 'wild Welsh' out of the kingdom of Mercia.

Llandrindod Wells

Situated in the geographic centre of Wales, Llandrindod Wells is an old Victorian Spa town which still hosts a Victorian festival each summer to commemorate its vibrant past. The town is home to the headquarters of Powys County Council.

Llanwrtyd Wells

Llanwrtyd Wells claims to be the smallest town in the UK. Formerly a Victorian spa town, it is surrounded by high hills and beautiful scenery. In recent years it is renowned for its annual bog snorkelling championship and Man vs. Horse competition.

Presteigne

Nestled at the Marches bordering England, Presteigne is set in beautiful unspoiled countryside. Once the county town of Radnorshire, Presteigne also boasts well preserved and elegant Tudor and Georgian architecture.

Rhayader

The peaceful small town of Rhayader set on the River Wye is gateway to the Elan Valley and the Cambrian mountains. It is renowned for its glorious countryside, and is a wonderful centre for viewing Red Kite. The nearby Elan Valley ('The Lakeland of Wales') is famous for its spectacular scenery of reservoirs and dams. The area is also a centre for motocross racing and cycling.

Talgarth

The small market town of Talgarth is situated in the hills between the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains. It is host to an annual food and craft festival and has more recently become famous for its fully restored 18th century flour mill.

Sennybridge

On the old mail coach road, now the A40, Sennybridge was once a busy market town. It is home to a training camp for the army, who operate and train on the military ranges of the nearby Mynydd Eppynt.

Ystradgynlais

The most populous part of Brecon & Radnorshire set in the Upper Swansea Valley, Ystradgynlais is an ex-industrial area neighboured by several towns and villages. The area has a long history centred on coal and iron. The last deep mines closed in the late 1960s but opencast mining operated on the edge of the town in more recent years.

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