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River Towy - Llyn Brianne to Llandovery

(See also Cilycwm)

The river leaves Llyn Brianne through a steep sided valley

The river winds through the valley

Before opening up to a wide fertile valley beneath the RSPB reserve at Dinas



The RSPB Reserve at Dinas has a circular walk, part of which follows the Towy as it passes through a wooded gorge where the Towy and Doethie Rivers meet. This part of the path is difficult especially in wet weather.

The Towy as it passes Dinas Nature reserve and joins the River Pysgotwr



The Red Kite is Common in the Area 

Hills above Rhandirmwyn

Rhandirmwyn, a combination of  two words meaning land of minerals, covers a large area of the upper Towy valley, including Llyn Brianne.  It once had the largest lead mine in Wales. 

Twm Sion Catti

This is the area of Twm Sion Catti, the Welsh Robin Hood. Born in 1530 in Tregaron, a small town over the mountain from Llyn Brianne. He was the illegitimate son of Catti Jones and named Thomas Jones which was translated to Twm Sion. and as was common with names such as Tom Jones he took on his mother's name Catti to differentiate him. There are a number of legends about Twm who turned to theft to support his mother and himself. He was a protestant and it is believed that to avoid persecution he escaped to Geneva in 1550 at the time of Mary Tudor's anti-protestant reign. He was pardoned by Queen Elizabeth in 1559 and returned to Wales where he married the widow of Thomas Rhys Williams of Ystrad-ffin and became a Justice of the Peace and Mayor of Brecon, dying in 1609.Numerous books and pamphlets published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries tell the stories of Twm Sion Catti but whether all refer to the same Thomas Jones is open to doubt. In his early life he lived in a cave above the confluence of the Towy and Pysgotwr which is shown on the Ordnance Survey map and can be visited on the RSPB Reserve at Dinas.

The River Towy through Rhandirmwyn

Cynghordy Viaduct

The Heart of Wales train crosses the Cynghordy Viaduct

The Cynghordy Viaduct carries the Heart of Wales Line above the valley of the River Brān north of the station at Cynghordy to the foot of the Sugar Loaf mountain, on its route from Llandovery to Llanwrtyd Wells. Built by the Llanelly Railway and Docks Company in 1867-1868, it has 18 arches, 109 feet high and 700 feet long. The railway then goes into a 1,000 yard tunnel. The engineering is particularly impressive as the viaduct curves and rises from one side of the valley to the other.

A steam train crosses the viaduct. Two Black Five 4-6-0 locomotives, 45407 and 44871are used to pull the train.


Pont Dolauhirion Above Llandovery

The Towy posed a problem for bridge builders at Llandovery and a wooden bridge had existed at Dolauhirion just north of the town since the 14th century. A stone bridge was built at Dolauhirion in 1773, to a design by William Edwards, by his son Thomas. It is now the oldest surviving bridge over the river and is classed as a Grade 1 listed structure. It was described by The Field magazine as the "prettiest bridge in all Britain" and a South American magazine named it in its list of the world's twelve most beautiful bridges. Typical of Edward's designs, it has circular holes either side of the main arch to provide added strength and provide additional relief in times of flood.


The Towy from Pont Dolauhirion

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