PLAN YOUR ROUTE. Severn small bridges cross the infant river. Take care, on the north side of the river because the roads are very very narrow. Use O.S.Explorer Maps 201 & 214 for more detail.
EXPLORING THIS AREA
The giants of Bron Wrgan were slain by Arthur. The biggest was put in the river for a stepping stone. Arthur leaping across the river said ‘Tyfed yr iad’. (Let the river grow). Afon Tefeidiad (River Teme) dribbles from a disused quarry on the north west side of Cilfaesty Hill.
The River Teme divides Powys from Shropshire and England from Wales. The sign ‘Welcome to Wales’ in Welsh sets up a sense of eager anticipation, a sense of something different. Knighton is a Welsh town with an English name. Its Welsh name, Tref-y-clawadd means the 'Town on the Dyke'. Offa's Dyke passes through Knighton in a north-south direction. To the west are the small settlements of Llanfair Waterdine and Bettws-y-Crwyn. They sound Welsh but lie in Shropshire. People make, and change, borders. Geography will help but man reinforces – by building dykes, defensive ramparts and castles.
They pose little threat today but through history the Celtic people of the west have fiercely defended their independence, their laws and language, against successive waves of invaders.
Offa, the 8th century Anglo Saxon King of Mercia, defended his territory against incursions from the west with the construction of the dyke that has today become the route of a long distance footpath. Visit the Offa's Dykes Centre to learn the story.
A legend! the dyke is just a deep furrow ploughed in the night by the devil using a plough pulled by a gander and a turkey cock!
The Marches, a buffer area between two cultures, was formally created after the Norman Conquest. Powerful Norman Lords had the job of extending the conquest westwards - what they won they kept and governed imposing their own laws. Here it was Mortimer country. There was resistance, Owain Glyndwr defeated and killed an Edmund Mortimer at the Battle of Pilleth. England and Wales united in 1536.
Leaving Knighton watch for the B 4355 towards Newtown. The road shares the valley with the train as far as Knucklas. King Arthur is supposed to have married Guinivere here in the castle on the hill where she grew up. Stories about the legendary Arthur fuelled the imagination of medieval knights. The Mortimers held Round Table meetings with jousting tournaments and much festivity.
At Lloyney cross the river to visit Llanfair Waterdine. Everest mountaineer Lord Hunt lived and is remembered here. Follow the narrow roads that climb up to the church at Bettws-y-Crwyn. Remote at 1300 ft. it stands beside an old drovers track. Back in the valley pass through the old mill town of Felindre where it was once said that you could take a fleece in the morning and return home at night with a jacket!
The road climbs, ten churches around the Radnor Forest (including Beguildy) are dedicated to St. Michael. He is said to give protection from all evil, including the ghosts and ghouls that live forest, at times a white mist rolls through this valley! Over the cattle grid and onto the moor land. The river is very young. To find the source carefully park the car and walk. Find the signpost ‘Kerry Ridegway’. Walk along the track a little way and turn right towards the disused quarry. (O.S. 214: 121847)
CHURCHES TO VISIT.
St. Michael, Beguildy.
St. Llanfair Waterdine.
The Kerry Way
Local walking: O.S.Explorer Maps nos:200,201, 214.
Long Distance: A Teme Valley Walk - designed by David Milton. ISBN 1-869922-45-x
AROUND & ABOUT
1. The Offa's Dyke Centre, Knighton.
2. The Spacegauard Centre, Knighton.
3. The Bleddfa Centre, Bleddfa. O.S.201:206684
4. Old Radnor Church. O.S. 201: 249592.
5. Pilleth Church and 1402 Battle Site. O.S. 201:255678.
6. Teme Valley Churches Trail
7. The Dragon Trail through Radnor Forest.
The Offas Dyke Centre. www.offasdyke.demon.co.uk