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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the county in Wales. For other uses, see Kingdom of Powys and Powys (surname).
County of Powys Sir Powys
- Total
- % Water
Ranked 1st
5,196 km²
? %
Admin HQ Llandrindod Wells
ISO 3166-2 GB-POW
ONS code 00NN
- (2007 est.)
- Density
Ranked 10th
Ranked 22nd
25 / km²
Ethnicity 99.3% White
Welsh language
- Any skills
Ranked 7th
Powys Council
Control Independent

Powys (usually pronounced /ˈpaʊ.ɪs/[1] in English; in Welsh: [ˈpowɪs]) is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.



See the list of places in Powys for all towns and villages in Powys.

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.

In December 2007 Powys was awarded Fairtrade County status by the Fairtrade Foundation[2]


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 [3]).

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


Powys from 1974-1996.

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).

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 The Hon. Mrs Elizabeth Shân Legge-Bourke LVO of Crickhowell.

Quality of life

Recent research suggests that Powys is the happiest place in the UK[4], however, even the researchers said the numbers were not statistically significant[5].

Places of interest


Cave systems

Lakes, reservoirs and waterfalls

Museums and exhibitions





External links

Coordinates: 52°18′N 3°25′W / 52.3°N 3.417°W / 52.3; -3.417

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Powys [1] is a principal area in Mid Wales

Map of Powys
Map of Powys
  • Elan Valley [2] - famous for its rolling hills and the Elan Valley dam.


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.

Get in

By train

All train services into and within the area are operated by Arriva Trains Wales [3].

Two lines serve the area, which do no connect with each other in Powys.

1. Heart of Wales Line. Llandrindod Wells, and other Stations are served by trains from Carmarthenshire and Swansea in the south, and Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England in the north.

2. Cambrian Line Machynlleth, Newtown, Welshpool and other stations are served by trains from Ceredigion and Gwynedd in the West and Shrewsbury and Birmingham, England in the East.

  • The Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth. Tel:+44 1645 705-950 [4] An internationally well known center for the development of alternative technology - there is a frequent bus service from the clock tower (in Machynlleth) to the center.
  • Craig y Nos Castle, Pen y Cae, Swansea Valley [5] Set in magnificent grounds, this fairy-tale castle and former home to the Italian opera diva, Adelina Patti, is a wonderful attraction.
  • Brecon Jazz Festival
  • Hay Book Festival


The County has a number of Golf Courses, the isolated nature of the area means that they offer uncrowded golf, even by Welsh Standards!

Courses include

  • Cradoc Golf Club [6], Brecon- This course host an annual competition of all the Welsh Club Champions
  • Glynneath Golf Club [7], Pont Nedd Fechan- famous Welsh Comedian and Singer Max Boyce is the Club President here.
  • Llandrindod Wells Golf Club, [8]
  • Llanymynech Golf Club [9], Pant, nr Oswestry - Former US Master's Winner and Ryder Cup Captain Ian Woosnam learnt his game here. This course also holds the distincition that it is the only course in the world in two countries, it has 15 holes in Wales and 3 in Shropshire, England.
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun




  1. A principal area and preserved county of Wales, admin HQ Llandrindod Wells.


  • Anagrams of opswy
  • pyows

Simple English

Powys is an area of central Wales, next to England.


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