- % Water
|Admin HQ||Llandrindod Wells|
- (2007 est.)
25 / km²
- Any skills
Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire, and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,196 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.
It is bounded to the north by Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Wrexham; to the west by Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire; to the east by Shropshire and Herefordshire; and to the south by Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire and Neath Port Talbot.
Most of Powys is mountainous, with north-south transportation by car being difficult.
The majority of the Powys population is made up of small villages and towns. The largest is Newtown, with a population of 12,783 (2001).
Just under a third of the residents have Welsh linguistic skills and 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 (Welsh: Sir Drefaldwyn), and the industrial area of Ystradgynlais in the extreme south-west of Brecknockshire (Welsh: Sir Frycheiniog). Radnorshire (Welsh: Sir Faesyfed) was almost completely Anglicised by the end of the 18th century.
For a map of the current distribution of Welsh speakers see the website of bwrdd-yr-iaith/The Welsh Language Board
This area is named after the older Welsh/British Kingdom of Powys, which occupied the northern two thirds of the area as well as lands now in England, and came to an end when it was occupied by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd of Gwynedd during the 1260s.
The gold in the county coat of arms (see right) symbolises the wealth of the area. Black for both mining and the Black Mountains. The fountain is a medieval heraldic charge, always shown as a roundel barry wavy Argent and Azure. It represents water and, therefore, both refers to the water catchment area and the rivers and lakes. The arms, therefore, 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 here. The bird is semy 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 Powys ).
The county motto is, Powys - the paradise of Wales (Welsh: Powys Paradwys Cymru) .
Powys was originally created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, and originally had Montgomery and Radnor and Brecknock as districts under it, which were based directly on the former administrative counties.
On 1 April 1996, the districts were abolished, and Powys was reconstituted as a unitary authority, with a minor border adjustment in the north-east (specifically the addition of the communities of Llansilin and Llangedwyn from Glyndwr district in Clwyd, along with the movement of the border so that all of, and not as previously half of, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant was in Powys, all historically part of Denbighshire).
Prior to the integration of Wales with England, Powys was one of the historic Welsh Kingdoms.
In 1974 Powys re-emerged as a political entity, as a County. Powys is one of the largest local authorities in Britain. It makes up the bulk of Mid Wales. The area is sparsely populated, and despite its size it was one the smallest populations in Wales. Powys has come into, and remained in being as an administrative necessity since smaller counties would not be viable due to the insufficient economies of scale they would offer.
One of the main North-South roads in Wales, (the A470) passes through its area, as does the famous Heart of Wales Railway Line.
All train services into and within the area are operated by Arriva Trains Wales .
Two lines serve the area, which do no connect with each other in Powys.
The County has a number of Golf Courses, the isolated nature of the area means that they offer uncrowded golf, even by Welsh Standards!
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